|Some thoughts on BLM, George Floyd and corporate virtue signalling|
People- a silent majority if you will- are being asked regarding recent events: "don't you think black lives matter? I don't see you joining the 'blackout' movement or anything, are you siding with the enemy?"
I'm not one of those people who believes standing up for black rights is anti-white. I don't believe companies are endorsing the rioters by making pro-black statements. But I also don't believe that private entities should be forced into making said statements. There are people on social media right now giving the likes of Nintendo grief- even implying that they are racist- for not wanting to get involved. Nevermind that the instigator of Nintendo of America's no-politics policy was half-black himself. And whatever would we do without the opinion of the manufacturer of Bratz dolls on the state of American race relations?
In recent days I have seen otherwise apolitical brands, bands and people making these statements. And like with coronavirus and the lockdown, people are going to get real sick of it real fast. My choice not to get involved is not "siding with the enemy". My choice to not get involved is because I care about black people and their rights for more than just a couple of tokenistic tweets. As a civil libertarian, I believe companies have every right to make statements. But if they do so, why aren't most of them putting their money where their mouth is? Why aren't thy donating towards the black community? To those who are affected by the riots (which include a LOT of minority-owned businesses and minority-majority areas)?
Furthermore, I am not American. I have supported American candidates for president but have been unable to do anything more. Because I don't hold American citizenship or live in America! Why should I get involved in the politics of another country, even if I feel strongly one way or the other ? The message "black lives matter" may be universal, but the context it was coined in is specific to the US. Our police forces here in the UK are criticised more for overpolicing football matches and refusing to investigate child sex rings. When police brutality against unarmed black men has happened, the forces don't dillydally and sack the involved officer straight away. I'm not denying that the UK had, has and probably always will have racism as an issue- in fact, I'm not overly fond of how the government and school curricula attempt to downplay the significant British role in the slave trade even today. But our racial climate is still far different from America's, so racialised proposals there wouldn't necessarily work here.
So in summary: Black lives should of course matter, but not just for the sake of likes. As soon as this is over, companies will go back to demolishing African villages for profit and turning a blind eye to racism in their upper echelons. Companies and people should not be shamed into expressing their opinions either. Many of them just don't want to, even if they support the general message. Nor are the intricities of US race relations reflected around the world. ALL countries have some racial tension, but not in the same way as the US. I stand with those protesters who are agitating for change through nonviolent means, and believe the small minority of rioters and looters do nothing but breed contempt for the protesters' efforts.