Isn’t there a point of going too far?
I just read that a leader in the Women’s March is calling for a boycott of #Starbucks because of an affiliation with the #ADL. Really? Talk about a disconnect. The Women’s March. What does it mean to you? I marched that day just over a year ago. The day after trump was sworn into the office of President of the United States. It shouldn’t have been that way, but it was. To me that march was about everything awful and repulsive people were becoming here, how it was becoming ok to act out all of that hate. It was about inclusiveness.
Last week, two black men were not only kicked out of a Starbucks, but arrested, for the simple act of pointing out a baristas’ racism. Let me repeat, one person was a jackass to another person. Stop. Before you go off on me, start typing your comments, screaming I have no place to belittle the experience of being discriminated against, I’m not black and could never know. No, I don’t know what it’s like to wake up every morning as a black man. I empathize with the fact that every morning waking up as a black male, there is a chance they could die because of their skin color. I don’t think there is another demographic that lives with that specific fear in this country. There is no denying this country hasn’t become ‘every man is equal’, where everyone is judged for their character and not their appearance. Now, you can be angry and stop reading, or you could take a breath and follow my (sometimes strange) logic.
We saw how immediate and successful social media boycotts were regarding NRA affiliation. The swells of reactions, posts, podcasts and coverage to the latest event. This is the atmosphere that is around us in the wake of instantaneous information. At the rate these boycotts are called for, all companies would eventually be on one list or another. Remember the Chick-Fil-A outrage, that the owners did not support LBGT rights? Do you also remember once the boycott was in full swing the lines to get that chicken sandwich wrapped around the buildings (a backfire boycott). Or the employees and managers of Chick-Fil-A that were / supported the LBGT community spoke out in defense of the very company thats COO opposed same-sex marriage because it was a good place to work. I do have to say here, SERIOUSLY guys, they aren’t known only for their chicken, anti-cow cows and lemonade, everyone KNOWS they are closed on Sunday, because the owners are religious (devout Southern Baptists). There is a large grocery store chain in Texas (before they were purchased), Randall’s / TomThumb that did not carry alcohol, of any type. The owners were Mormon. If they didn’t sell alcohol I’m not thinking it’s too hard to imagine of their LBGT views. As far as I know there hasn’t been a boycott.
So, we have a national company. The Vice President, Bob, hates puppies. One weekend, Bob attends an anti-puppy fundraiser that’s covered by the news. Who cares? Should Bob, who attended as Bob the individual, be fired from the company because pro-puppy advocates threaten to boycott unless he (Bob) is fired? Now what if Bob the VP runs over puppies in the company van? Is that now the company’s fault for the action of one employee? Will the reaction of the company be enough? What is the “right” reaction; training, firing, donations? Now say that same company hosts and donates to that same anti-puppy fundraiser covered by the news. In the second scenario, is it more acceptable because it’s not just Bob but the company that supports anti-puppy organizations?
Does that company get publicly ‘punished’ in all situations?
This brings me back to the bathroom blockade. Starbucks is an international company, a successful company. They are diverse, customer oriented and focused. Even in their mission statement has ‘a culture of warmth & belonging, where everyone is welcome’. They have been underfire regularly for many reasons (makes you wonder how they still make money). Cups, gay rights, gun rights plus a slew of fake controversy (not supporting military, foreign investments). There are more than 26,000 shops across the globe with more than 250,000 employees. This is why I ‘minimized’ the encounter that it was one person being a jackass to another. Now if the company did nothing, or worse, supported the actions and behavior of that one person, I would flip out with the rest of them. However, she was fired. She was fired, the CEO apologized and on May 29th more than half of the employees in the company (170,000+) will have racial-bias education. Why still boycott them?
boy·cott (boi′kŏt′) tr.v. boy·cott·ed, boy·cott·ing, boy·cotts
To abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, dealing with, or participating in as an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion: boycott a business; boycott merchants; boycott buses; boycott an election.
It shouldn’t have happen and if you want to just be pissed at them just because, go for it. But still protesting a specific event with demands that the company has met or is acting in good faith, what is the protest really for? The local protest (well, and viral) in front of the store was the catalyst for the company wide positive reaction and the initial reason that managers employment was terminated. It was successful, very successful. Now the step forward should be education, working on the root cause. Energy focused on the error, the past, is wasted.
So what does all of this have to do with the Women’s March? First, I take offense to the fact that a single person is being labeled as a “Women’s March Leader” and making blanket decisions and statements for the millions of people coming together for largest single day movement ever. This single person, Tamika Mallory, under the moniker of co-president of the Women’s March, is calling for re-boycotting Starbucks. The crazy ass chain of connection is the reason I had to write this. Ready?
- Two black men enter a Starbucks to meet someone. While waiting, one asked to use the bathroom.
- The manager refused to allow him stating it was for paying customers only. During this time, a white male was allowed to use the bathroom. He had not purchased anything.
- He confronted the manager. She had no response or reason for the action, demanding he leave and calling the police.
- The video goes viral. People boycott the location where it happened. Others called for a boycott on line.
- Starbucks acted: fired the manager, COO apologized for the employee’s behavior, the company announces racial-bias education classes.
- Starbucks enlists organizations to assist and participate in this education. Some are Eric Holder, Sherrily Ifill (President NAACP) and Jonathan Greenblat (CEO ADL).
- Tamika Mallory calls for a boycott of Starbucks (again) because of it’s affiliation to the ADL (Anti Defimation League).
- At one time the ADL CEO criticized her support of Louis Farrakhan. Tamika Mallory supports Louis Farrakhan.
- Farrakhan has indicated anti-semitism, anti-white, homophobic, Scientology involvement.
So, what did or does the Women’s March and the Women’s March movement mean to you? For me, it’s more than marching in the streets, clever signs and pink pussy hats. It’s about inclusion, education and change. It means standing up for each other. It means power and persistence. It means responsibility. With numbers that power is great and the responsibility greater. Having so much influence on a national and international commerce by calling for a boycott is amazing. Flogging that influence isn’t constructive and can even be corrosive. Calling for a boycott for every non PC event, action or inclusion only takes away from the influence and dilutes the power. So before jumping on the bandwagon for a boycott, just remember puppies.