Every company has an important role to play to eradicate hate and bigotry.
Society isn’t perfect. But like the process of evolution, we can continuously strive. Even if we never achieve perfection, just making every decision, every choice in life along the path of greater tolerance and less discrimination would lead civilization upwards into a realm only envisioned by humanitarian philosophers.
My favorite subject in school was American history. I was proud then, as a child, to learn that I’d been born in the nation that was synonymous with the greatest of ambitions towards freedom for all people. I was just a kid during the years of the civil rights movement and grew up mostly sheltered from the suffering that many of my fellow Americans of color were forced to endure, and ultimately go to great lengths to overcome. Yes, as a nation, we have made great strides towards overcoming systemic bigotry, but my 60 years of living have disabused me of the idea that there “isn’t much left to do.”
Companies must come to the party and take a stand against hate.
We recently had an election in which more than 140 million citizens cast ballots for the candidates and issues of their choosing. Voting is one of the great privileges of our nation. Such elections happen just once every four years, but for businesses, “elections” happen daily. Nations use the moniker “citizen,” for which the business equivalents are “patron,” “client” or “customer.” This latter group can vote at any spontaneous moment, and the vote is always a simple “Yes” or “No.” Voting volume can be in terms of thousands, millions, billions and even trillions, preceded by the appropriate currency symbol.
Thus, board rooms around the globe, but particularly here in the U.S., must heed well the calls of diversity, equity and inclusion. They must come to the party and take a stand against hate. And they must also recognize that hate very much includes but extends beyond issues of race, sexuality and gender. A smart company recognizes that all patrons are like their very own citizens, and like citizens, they can either be satisfied or grow disaffected, some even to the point of expatriating. Integrated into every marketing endeavor should be a social awareness message that relays the following about your company: “We don’t differentiate on the basis of race, color, political affiliation, religion, gender or anything else. The only discrimination you will ever see from our company will be against anything we come across that alienates YOU—our cherished patrons.”
In summary, my advice for any business, any company, is to steer clear of bigoted and hateful media content that alienates and attacks groups of your company’s citizens, regardless of what their personal beliefs or choices may be.
Your business, just like your patrons, gets to vote with your marketing dollars.
Vote well, and vote wisely. It’s for your own good.