I have long argued for “Americans for Tolerance” movement in my interviews, book, and blogs.
Customers, employees, and American people at large are sick and tired of watching inclusion-for-show, a poor substitute for true tolerance as an integral part of American democracy. We can see their desire transpire in the recent disgust that many companies exhibited for Facebook, effectively counteracting its double-faced inclusion-for-show when the upper management speaks pro-inclusion but allows proliferation of hate to flood its platform. The last straw was Facebook allowing incitement of violence against anti-racial protesters in the wake of George Floyd and others.
Attitudes are changing, although, according to The Economist, many companies – and the Silicon Valley firms in the first place – started to face up to its diversity problem only after the push from the left-leaning employees who reacted to Black Lives Matter. But better late than never. The management of many companies stepped up and finally moved forward on their diversity attitudes when they:
- Offered donations to race-related charities
- Set up funds to finance start-ups by non-white founders
- Stopped selling controversial technologies like facial recognition
- Vowed to purge their software of racist language
- YouTube/Goggle and Apple also pledged $100m each to combat racism with educational efforts and support of black artists
Of course, we need to take it with a grain of salt. The question remains, will the companies really change the ways they operate, beyond charity and lofty language? Will they make more substantial efforts to promote minority employees? Anyway, change is brewing in the Silicon Valley and beyond—and with this fresh breeze, a good beginning is half the battle.
Stop Hate for Profit Campaign
The coalition of civil right groups led by Anti-Defamation League responded to “repeated failure” by Facebook upper management to respond to and meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on the platform. The group’s campaign dubbed “Stop Hate for Profit” now includes Coca-Cola, Verizon, Honda, Ben & Jerry’s, Levi’s, Unilever, Eddie Bauer, North Face, Starbucks, and even Harry and Meghan who strive to lead by example. What do they do? They boycott Facebook by withdrawing the flow of money put in their ads. This resulted in Facebook’s market value plummeting $56 billion initially, which rose later—but the message was sent.
This boycott is most timely, because with the November election around the corner, we need to defend the voters’ rights for fact-checked information and no-threat speech. And because Mark Zuckerberg understands the language of money best (his personal net wealth plummeted by 7.2 billion), he immediately introduced a set of new policies to fight hate speech and started mending fences with his opponents.
Anyway, new companies join Stop Hate for Profit campaign every day. We will live and see how it helps he diversity reset.
With the civil rights groups calling on Facebook to subject political ads to third-party fact-checking, we believe that diversity reset started on the right foot. The grand diversity statements and liberal mindsets will need to be more consistently supported by action, especially by the big technology forms that traditionally are at the forefront of Diversity and Inclusion. Nobody wants to watch the meaningless inclusion-for-show unfold forever.
Our society is long hungry for good news on diversity and inclusion front – and for hearing more about concrete examples of corporate positive thinking-and-acting. In fact, another aspect of diversity reset will be the media paying attention to positive results in Diversity and things of that nature—instead of constantly criticizing corporations or shying away from positivity. We the people would love to see HOW diversity numbers and attitudes are changing organizations for the better. That would be both educational and inspirational. At this turbulent day and time, exacerbated by pandemic, lockdowns, and isolation, the American public deserves to know that the future of our diverse nation is promising.
Together we stand.