America, Your Lack of Effort is Showing

Gabriel Rader, Editor

Look, I already know what you’re thinking. Here comes a person part of zero minority groups, telling minorities what’s what.

At first glance, it seems like a problematic editorial for a school paper, but my claim is not rooted in racism, sexism, homophobia, or any form of similar ignorance, but based on my dream of equality, fairness, and what I think is best for the collective good of the people. I ask you to hear me out with an open mind before you make any assumptions about my morals, as I believe my heart is in the right place.

My inspiration and urge to publish this editorial are sincere. So, give me a chance and lend me your ears.

To begin, assigning months to minority groups brings up a lot of problems that we don’t talk about enough.

Some examples of the month-oriented groups are: Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), Native American/American Indian Heritage Month (November), Asian Pacific Heritage Month (May), and LGBTQIA+ Month or pride month (June).

The goal of these months is to focus on recognizing and celebrating important people and history in America, who have had, for lack of a better word, pretty crappy history within America. These are sound aspirations and morals, and the people who created them mean well.

Companies also have embraced the concept of these months, seeing it as an easy cash opportunity.

But after years of using these months, we’ve grown too comfortable with the standards of pushing for change for our country.

Here’s a take: If Nike is comfortable with funding sweatshops in China surrounded by suicide nets, is it hard to believe they’re above making a few social media posts weaponizing real-world issues (like racism, homophobia, sexism etc.) to fill their pockets even more?

Please, be skeptical of the ones in power, as they already have a history of doing immoral things for more cash.

It works too. We saw people praising Ben and Jerry’s in 2020 for “standing up” for racial injustice. The International Institute for Management Development gives tangible evidence that social and environmental principles sell products well.

“It should be noted that in the 18 years since it acquired Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever’s stock price has outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 2.5% per year.” Consumers are giving more attention to companies with “principles.”Need another example? Once pride month began, large companies such as Microsoft, Tumblr, Spotify, Twitter, and many more, created posts and tweets to create a narrative to the younger generation that these same huge companies care about the social issues that we do.

Young adults take notice of these things since it’s in our nature to be eager to create a better world than the one we grew up in. So, logically, we’ll buy more products from a company that openly supports gay marriage, or equality, or bridging the gender gap over one that doesn’t.

Companies use this to their advantage, rather than using it for the groups in need. Including the fact that the younger generation is much more likely to be on social media and be on social media more often.

But that’s the standard that’s been set for us.

The Rainbow, a powerful symbol of embracing yourself and your sexuality has been twisted into a marketing scheme to make the rich richer, while the people in need stay disparaged.

Gandhi must be rolling in his grave at the sight of our modern-day activism.

Why? Because once that given month is over, most, if not all, of these socially supportive companies were quick to revert their two-faced media accounts to their original state and show zero support for the other 11 months.

Snapchat filters, Tik-Tok hashtags, and Instagram stickers that are “doing their part” only end up sticking around for whichever month it is. We haven’t genuinely tried to end discrimination in America, but given the companies that run it more opportunities to abuse their power and wealth.

In an effort to exterminate the racist bigots of America, we’ve allowed big businesses to use the problems they started to begin with and use them to make even more of their struggles. They’re lying to our faces.

I’m not the only one that feels this way. Stedman, who’s a professor of religion at Augsburg University and an expert in digital communication said that “it feels like a violation in some ways because these companies are taking our language, our memes, and our norms and using them for their own gain without fully understanding them or investing in the community.”

It’s ingenuine, degrading, and embarrassing.

It doesn’t raise more “awareness” either. Americans are aware of the wage gap, and anyone that refuses to is already too ignorant to have their mind changed after seeing the Women’s Stories section on Netflix during March.

The same companies that make posts and take credit for “standing with women” still contribute to the gender wage gap. Like on April 11, when Microsoft posted “Friends don’t let friends give up on progress—‘STAND UP’ with our Microsoft leaders continuing to bridge the gender gap.” Make it make sense guys. If companies want to take credit and reap the benefits of being socially “woke” they need to put the effort in to earn it.

Companies supporting and empowering women are still contributing to the wage gap between genders. On April 11, when Microsoft posted “Friends don’t let friends give up on progress—‘STAND UP’ with our Microsoft leaders continuing to bridge the gender gap.”

With that being said, Microsoft is one of the leading businesses in wage gaps, check here website!

What sense does it make to honor not the years, not even decades, but the centuries of struggle, the centuries of protests, the centuries of physical and verbal abuse, just to be crammed into a single month?

What actual change has been made from these laughable attempts at “activism?” Have we really gone from historic protests for justice like the Stonewall riots and even the March on Washington
to a few social media filters?

You and I both know that elementary kids are reading the exact same ancient history books we did.

Learning about black history in the shortest month of the year does nothing and HAS done almost nothing to change the continuation of the whitewashed curriculum that our students are still being force-fed.

As Morgan Freeman said, “I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.” We need to stop categorizing and segregating our own history into groups and see everyone as one.

That is the change we need.

We are doing the bare minimum here people.

“While many companies will turn their logos and social profiles to rainbows for Pride Month, creating a more equitable company is more than just symbolic or superficial moves. It’s about action, a rainbow logo isn’t enough,” says Scott Dobroski, Vice President of corporate communications for Glassdoor and a member of the organization’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group.

If every company that openly “supports” the LGBTQIA+ community lobbied against anti-trans bills and other state-legislature, none would pass.

The honorary months’ functionality has hit its peak, and now is the time to take it a step further. We must be hungry for more.

Americans need to support and accept these groups at all times of the year. We need to push for even more change, because friends, we are far from where we should be.

Force companies to support and donate to causes not just because it’s profitable and it’s in with the times, but since it’s right. Removing dedicated months forces CEOs’ hands to do more than just a few posts and small corporate changes for a month, but more effective help every day of the year.

Americans need to raise the bar higher. Do more. Because we still have a lot to work on.