The Boardroom Initiative Fights for Genuine Inclusivity at Bank of America

The Boardroom Initiative Fights for Genuine Inclusivity at Bank of America
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

When confronted with their overt bias in platforms and policies where woke politics ought not to go, a leftist’s favorite tactic is sneering “go build your own” to conservatives. We have seen in recent days, through Elon Musk’s purchasing Twitter, how the left is utterly disingenuous when such tactics come after their sacred cows. The left is stunningly unprepared when the temper tantrums they are used to throwing to get their way suddenly stop working.

The left is equally clueless when it comes to business. Business is decried as evil personified, greedy capitalist leeches sucking the lifeblood from workers and consumers alike. Yet, somehow it simultaneously exists solely as a ready funding source for government-led social engineering exercises.

This has in no small part fueled the panic-stricken drive by businesses to placate the noisy minority through equity, diversity, and inclusionary directives that–in reality–serve solely to score social justice warrior bonus points, while doing nothing to further the allegedly supported causes. Nor do these initiatives help every business’ primary mission. Namely, making a profit. Without the latter, no amount of virtue signaling matters. Regardless of how self-righteous a business portrays itself, if it stops making money, it soon stops existing.

Understandably, shareholders in publicly traded companies prefer holding stock in profitable enterprises that do not alienate large swaths of their current or potential customers. There are very few true monopolies in this country. Options are available, and no business is too big to fail, as others will immediately take their place. Ask any former Enron or Lehman Brothers employee for further details. Nevertheless, corporations across the land continue kowtowing to wokester jokesters. Now, shareholders are beginning to fight back.

Those who understand capitalism wholeheartedly agree that “the genius of capitalism is that it requires businesses to do good things for society to make a profit.” This is The Boardroom Initiative‘s motto, and it is actively pursuing a program in which shareholders demand genuine diversity and inclusion from their investments, not leftist tripe.

Led by former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi, The Boardroom Initiative recently introduced a shareholder proposal at Bank of America’s annual meeting, demanding the bank practice what it preaches by not discriminating against any group or individual within its ranks.

Shareholders of the Bank of America Corporation (“the Company”) request that the Board of Directors commission a racial equity audit analyzing the Company’s impacts on civil rights and non-discrimination, and the impacts of those issues on the Company’s business. The audit may, in the Board’s discretion, be conducted by an independent and unbiased third party with input from civil rights organizations, employees, communities in which the Company operates and other stakeholders, of all viewpoints and perspectives. A report on the audit, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting confidential or proprietary information, should be publicly disclosed on the Company’s website.

The proposal continued:

Tremendous public attention has focused recently on workplace practices and employee training. All agree that employee success should be fostered and that no employees should face discrimination, but there is much disagreement about what non-discrimination means.

Concern stretches across the ideological spectrum. Some have pressured companies to adopt “anti-racism” programs that seek to establish “racial equity,” which appears to mean the distribution of pay and authority on the basis of race, sex, orientation and ethnic categories rather than by merit. (Links 1, 2, 3, 4)

Where adopted, however, such programs raise significant objection, including concern that the “anti-racist” programs are themselves deeply racist and otherwise discriminatory. (Links 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Many companies have been found to be sponsoring and promoting overtly and implicitly discriminatory employee-training programs, including Bank of America, American Express, Verizon, Pfizer and CVS.

This concern, disagreement and controversy creates massive reputational, legal and financial risk. If the Company is, in the name of racial equity, diversity and inclusion, committing illegal discrimination against employees deemed “non-diverse,” then the Company will suffer in myriad ways – all of them both unforgivable and avoidable.

In developing the audit and report, the Company should consult civil-rights groups – but it must not compound error with bias by relying only on left-leaning civil-rights groups. Rather, it must consult groups all across the spectrum of viewpoints. This includes right-leaning civil rights groups representing people of color, such as the Woodson Institute and Project 21. It must also include groups that defend the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, not merely the ones that many companies label “diverse.” All Americans have civil rights; to behave otherwise is to invite disaster.

Similarly, when including employees in its audit, the Company must allow employees to speak freely without fear of reprisal or disfavor, and in confidential ways. Too often employers like those mentioned above have initiated discriminatory programming that itself chills contributions from employees who disagree with the premises of the programming, and then have pretended that the employees who have been empowered to express themselves by the programming represent the true and only voice of all employees. This by itself creates a deeply hostile workplace for some groups of employees, and is both immoral and likely illegal.

Regrettably, albeit unsurprisingly, the proposal did not pass. Rensi promises the effort will continue, according to a press release received by RedState:

“While the shareholder proposal didn’t pass, this is still a victory for Americans because we’ve drawn a tremendous amount of attention to this issue. CEOs have a responsibility to deliver value to shareholders. This includes individual shareholders who depend on their income from their 401Ks. There are millions of Americans, including many retirees living on fixed incomes, who depend on their 401k income and are facing record inflation. These Americans are depending on CEOs to deliver value, not cater to left-wing activists. The Boardroom Initiative will continue fighting back against ‘woke capitalism’ and we will be launching new campaigns to empower shareholders and employees in this important cause.”

As we are seeing with even behemoth entities such as Disney, the “get woke/go broke” truism comes for all. Efforts such as The Boardroom Initiative are vital elements in the fight against not only corporations swallowing their integrity by drenching themselves in leftist blather, but in capitalism itself continuing to survive and thrive.

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