If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
This quote, or part of it, has been circulating on social media this week.
It is attributed to South African Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu in the 1984 book Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes. So it dates from Tutu’s time as a leading opponent of the apartheid system in South Africa, in which only white people were afforded the full rights of citizens.
But in recent days Tutu’s quote has encapsulated many people’s feelings about what’s going on in the United States today.
The killing by Minnesota police of George Floyd, arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, has become the latest ignition point for grievances about the systemic overpolicing and extrajudicial killing of African Americans.
But the protests involving millions of people across the US and outside of it are fuelled by more than that. These protests are also about the systemic inequities that have recently seen America’s poorest communities take the brunt of both health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So given the Black Lives Matter protests are in part about the failings of American capitalism, how the corporate world is responding is worth talking about.
- ^ Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes (quakerbooks.org)
- ^ The fury in US cities is rooted in a long history of racist policing, violence and inequality (theconversation.com)
- ^ Richard Branson/Twitter (twitter.com)
- ^ Netflix on Twitter (twitter.com)
- ^ Fox (twitter.com)
- ^ Hulu (twitter.com)
- ^ Black Out Tuesday (theconversation.com)
- ^ popular TV presenter (theconversation.com)
- ^ The Project (10play.com.au)
- ^ Where 'woke' came from and why marketers should think twice before jumping on the social activism bandwagon (theconversation.com)
- ^ Milton Friedman (www.econlib.org)
- ^ Small businesses get long-term financial boost from social responsibility: study (theconversation.com)
- ^ revised purpose of a corporation (opportunity.businessroundtable.org)
- ^ buy brands (www.euromonitor.com)
- ^ equal playing fields for all (purpose.nike.com)
- ^ disgraceful (www.bbc.com)
- ^ Why US sports stars are taking a knee against Trump (theconversation.com)
- ^ early American flag (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ improve equality (purpose.nike.com)
- ^ PeacePlayers (www.peaceplayers.org)
- ^ Woke washing: what happens when marketing communications don't match corporate practice (theconversation.com)
- ^ regulatory gaps (journals.sagepub.com)
- ^ even clean air (www.bbc.com)
Authors: Bree Hurst, Senior Lecturer, QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology