IntroductionBlack Lives Matter (BLM) is a movement that works against systematic racism and violence toward black people. BLM addresses issues impacting the black community including racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States. So why is an advocacy group a topic of discussion? Well, BLM has been subjected to a lot of criticism. The growing controversy and attention surrounding the movement has had profound effects on businesses, and society. BLM is responsible for increasing support for black-owned businesses, and inserting accountability for the actions of businesses.
What is going well: One of the demands of the movement is economic justice for all. In other words, “a reconstruction of economy so that black communities have collective ownership, not merely access”. Simply put, black communities are not exceeding economically, and traditionally have never benefited largely from the economy. The economic system needs to be restructured in order to support and ensure the economic growth of the black community. To accomplish this, in December 2016, BLM launched a website to promote black-owned businesses.
The website contains a growing list of businesses in the country owned by a black American. Owners are able to receive increased visibility which results in more revenue, while the consumers can be confident about where their money is going and making the conscious decision to reinvest in their own community. This shift to combat social justice issues with finances is a common strategy of BLM. When supporters of BLM felt that their concerns about wrongful deaths and lack of justice were going unheard, they took the matters into their own hands and declared an economic boycott on American retail corporations this past holiday season. Black Americans contribute approximately 1.1 trillion dollars to the consumer economy. With that in mind, BLM sought to grab the attention of retailers by boycotting the most lucrative day, Black Friday. If people refuse to spend on this day, companies take a huge hit for it.
It is not a secret that retailers and corporations have lobbyists who work on their behalf in the government. Retailers also donate to political campaigns that support their interests. The goal of economic boycotts is for corporations to engage their lobbyists to make reforms that will appeal to BLM and the communities that they represent.We are seeing now more than ever, businesses being held accountable for their poor choices or bad practices.
I believe that the groundwork of BLM influenced people to address everyday issues as it relates to race, prejudices, and stereotypes. A recent example includes Pepsi’s controversial advertisement, that borrowed imagery from the BLM movement and severely misportrayed the experience of boycotting police brutality. When the advertisement was uploading on YouTube, viewers immediately flooded the comments to express their dissatisfaction.
Soon after, Pepsi issued a public apology stating “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding…
Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout.” By this time, Pepsi’s controversial advertisement was already circulating in mass media and consumers and viewers alike were beginning to form their own image of Pepsi. How did Pepsi take such a costly misstep? Well, companies are slowly starting to realize that they cannot live in their corporate bubbles anymore or they can face repercussions. This should serve as a lesson to other businesses to invest more time and resources in making sure that their company culture is inclusive, diverse, and socially aware, especially when making marketing campaigns.Improvements Common critiques of Black Lives Matter is that leaders and supporters of the movement are violent, destructive, and aggressive. The media plays a huge role in how we receive our information.
Often times, BLM marches are depicted as riots, where looters destroy public property. Conflicting articles about whether or not BLM is responsible for starting any riots or inciting others to riot, leads me to believe that there is not a definite answer. If the above image is truly a misrepresentation, and if BLM would like to appear less controversial in the public, they need to do disassociate themselves with the violent and aggressive protesting practices. To further strengthen public relations, I would suggest for BLM to denounce people who are wrongly interpreting the goals of the movement, and inform leaders within BLM not to promote sentiment that is not true to the movement (i.
e. anti-police).ConclusionIn conclusion, the rapid growth by BLM has earned them a strong following that has given them some leverage in today’s society. BLM and its supporters are becoming more aware of the power they are acquiring. For them, this could mean the potential to have reforms and policies enacted. BLM’s strong social media following paired with their boycotting tactics can cause a lot of problems for companies.
With that said, it’s in the best interest for companies to be more conscious of their actions and sensitive to the political or social climates in their everyday operations. With the rise of social media, social issues and news being more readily available, BLM has been able to take advantage of this as a way of connecting with their audiences, all while creating an environment where companies are being held accountable for their actions. Through the different social media outlets BLM continues to rally support for many of its causes or issues.