American Airlines is a fine company. You have a fine company, too. But you still shouldn’t make the same mistake they just did. As my colleague Mike Miller details here, the management of American Airlines, in an attempt to be fine upstanding citizens, got talked into jumping aboard the Black Lives Matter bandwagon. In so doing, they ended up angering their employees, alienating many customers, and firmly aligning their company with self-described “trained Marxists.” This happened because they got sweet-talked into believing that the phrase “Black Lives Matter” is a mere sentiment, an almost sappy sort of feel-goodism that virtually no one could find offensive.
Well, it’s not. What your HR people and your Chief Diversity Officer won’t mention is that “Black Lives Matter” is not just an idea or a sentiment. The Black Lives Matter Foundation, AKA ‘blacklivesmatter.com’ is an advocacy group run by people who call themselves “activists” and “Marxists.” People who imagine them to be a sappy sentiment have donated tens of millions of dollars to them. They’ll tell you they are apolitical — the group is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) — but as we all know a group that does not endorse or donate to candidates (which is the IRS definition of ‘political activity’) can still take decidedly political positions. BLM does, and it is a litany of controversial positions that are about what you would expect from trained Marxists. You can read all about it on their website.
BLM solicits donations on their website. If you click, you’ll discover that you have landed on ActBlue.com. To hear Wikipedia tell it,
ActBlue is a nonprofit technology organization established in June 2004 that enables left-leaning nonprofits, Democrats, and progressive groups to raise money on the Internet by providing them with online fundraising software.
That’s fine, just don’t make public fools of yourselves, as American Airlines did, by trying to explain that BLM “is not a political cause.” It most certainly is a political cause, whether you want it to be one or not.
BLM is also a badge of honor worn by people you probably don’t want your company associated with. People who call themselves “BLM” are on the streets every night now setting fires, looting, beating people up, trashing restaurants while people are still there trying to eat, and more. One woman in Portland was shot in a hail of 150 bullets at a Black Lives Matter protest. If you heard about this at all, you were probably told it was a “mostly peaceful” event. The press always says that, even on TV and even when you can see the fires burning with your own eyes.
There’s more. It turns out that not everyone is so enlightened that they can have their employer endorse BLM without wondering, “What about me?” As American Airlines learned the hard way, when you announce that Black Lives Matter, at least some of your White, Brown, Yellow, Purple, and Green employees will ask, “What am I, chopped liver?” You can try to blah blah your way out of it, as AA bravely tried to do, but you know people are having none of it. AA’s employees also mentioned the fact that people calling themselves “BLM” are frequently seen throwing rocks, bottles, and bricks at police officers, as well as calling them every foul name under the Sun. This is not the image you want for your company. It is also not one your employees who are married or related to law enforcement officers want any part of.
Yes, BLM is all the rage. Your HR people will be telling you that you just have to be part of it. No, you don’t. And if you’re smart, you will give this one a wide berth. Here are just some of the headlines from recent days involving BLM:
- Portland suspect shot dead by police during arrest
- 5 Dallas police officers killed, several injured in ambush at protest
- Wauwatosa police: Officer physically assaulted, shot at by protesters at his home
- Young mom, 24, shot dead after telling Black Lives Matter protesters “all lives matter”
You don’t want any part of this. Find another way.
Robert A. Hahn is a retired corporate officer. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.