Updated: Jun 13, 2020
Starbucks is the latest company to have to take a step back on its approach that employees would not be allowed to wear apparel that promotes black lives matter or the movement regarding racial injustice. Just as soon as they made the announcement, public backlash ensued. Before I could even get my day started they’d quickly made an about face and changed their stance. Even upping the anti by creating new black lives matters shirts for its employees to wear during their shifts.
Which leads me to our blog post title... Do black lives really matter? Or is it just our green dollars that these corporations value? The month of June on the wake of George Floyd being senselessly murdered by the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been filled with businesses across the country scrambling to address the concerns of African Americans buyers, regarding diversity and inclusion and the ongoing fight for equality in America. As a writer and former marketing student, with over 15 years work experience in sales and marketing. I’ve read the well written pr statements and laughed on various occasions. Not because I don’t feel that African Americans pain, concerns and qualms with our treatment shouldn’t be acknowledged or corrected by these businesses. But because it seemingly wasn’t a thought or concern prior to the threat of these businesses either being "blacked out", by African American's spending their money elsewhere or the threat of being vandalized during the looting that begin to take center stage to the demonstrations and protest of police brutality. I know far to well from my studies and experience how the influence of marketing psychology, plays a key role in consumers buying decisions. I’ll admit that many of the businesses that have found themselves in the hot seat such as Starbucks aren’t businesses that I even patronize. But as an African American consumer, it is not only troubling but insulting that these businesses time and time again show their concerns when their stance or in some cases lack thereof poses a threat to their ability to profit from our spending power. It is not merely enough to change when the pain of others becomes a pain to your pockets. I pose this question not only to businesses, but to those who are now joining in to take a stance next to and on behalf of Afican Americans. “ How will you treat me and see me when my blackness is no longer trending?"