I can’t help but cringe every time a corporation steps forward to support or promote a “message” or “raise awareness.” When they change their avatar in order to get on board with the social justice movement of the week, I can’t help but shake my head.
It’s not because they’re usually doing it in support of a movement that I disagree with or don’t care about, it’s because I know deep down, they don’t really care either.
The whole point of a corporation is to make money. They sell a product or products that enable them to increase their income, buy more companies, employ more people, and essentially become the industry leader. In terms of social justice and modern virtue, they’ll profess to believe whatever you want them to if it means you’ll buy their product.
A perfect example of this comes in the form of the video game company Bethesda Softworks. In recognition of “Pride Month,” Bethesda’s Twitter avatars were all redesigned with a rainbow overlay worked into the symbol. The idea is that you will come to believe that Bethesda really does care about the LGBT community and is here to support them.
Of course, that idea comes crashing down when you look at the rest of its avatars in accounts located in Russia and the Middle East.
Just a reminder that the corporation you think is woke isn't really woke at all. It's just another sales tactic and you're buying it. pic.twitter.com/H9g6E3UEwb
— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) June 15, 2020
It’s clear that when it comes to the LGBT community, Bethesda doesn’t actually care. If they did, they’d change their avatar to the same rainbow bedecked square for the ones in Russia and Turkey. They didn’t, however, because if they did it would hurt sales. If they truly believed in and supported the LGBT community, hurting sales wouldn’t really matter.
But it does matter. It matters greatly. In fact, it matters more than anything else.
Netflix isn’t above using their Twitter account to send out tweets supporting Black Lives Matter, even going so far as to call it their duty to speak out. It’s a virtue signal that costs them nothing, but when it comes time to put literal money where their figurative mouths are, what do you think happened?
According to the Washington Examiner, you wouldn’t be surprised:
Meanwhile, Netflix tweeted that “to be silent is to be complicit…Black lives matter.” Here, the corporation is seemingly shaming anyone who doesn’t send out woke tweets as “complicit,” but it hasn’t actually donated a dime to support reform. (The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, did donate $1 million in his personal capacity to a police reform group. He is worth $5.24 billion.)
Apple and Nike also have thrown menial amounts of cash around while spouting social justice rhetoric, yet this is the same two corporations who have no problem essentially enslaving workers in other countries.
Have any of these corporations actually stopped to look at policies or laws that would help achieve the results they virtue signal for?
Not so much.
That would mean time and money. It would mean an expenditure of resources that could place their bottom lines in harm’s way if they anger the wrong politician or special interest group. It’s much easier to send out a tweet or create a short video that would make it seem like they’re throwing their weight behind a people or a movement. In truth, they’re doing next to nothing and reaping the benefits of the good press while spending very little money to do so.
The internet has made it possible for excellent and cheap PR points and it works because you’re helping it work with your applause.
The sad truth is, they don’t care. If tomorrow, a vast majority of the nation arose together against dogs, corporations everywhere would say they never truly liked dogs and would apologize profusely for giving off the impression that they ever did. If the very next day, the nation switched it up and said that dogs are the best thing man has ever produced (they are), corporations would change their avatars to dogs and release statements about how much dogs have contributed to our societies. They may even make a short video about some of the most famous dogs in history with heroic music behind it.
The dog isn’t the concern at all. The concern is your wallet and how likely you are to spend your money on their product. If they have to tell you that dogs are the worst thing in all of God’s creation in order to get you to buy, then they’ll do that.
If you’re relying on corporations to help you in your struggle against XYZ, you can expect a few things from them. You might get a bit of cash and professed support, but if you think you have an actual ally, you’re sorely mistaken. They’re just telling you what you want to hear so you feel good about buying from their stores or sign up to use their services.
Just be ready to be disappointed in the future. The law of undulation comes for everything, and the thing that was really important today may be considered ghastly and out of touch tomorrow.