Analysis

5 Virtue Signaling Corporations Trying To Prove Their ‘Wokeness’

   DailyWire.com
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 28: Apple CEO Tim Cook attends Apple TV+'s "The Morning Show" world premiere at David Geffen Hall on October 28, 2019 in New York City.
Roy Rochlin/WireImage via Getty Images

Leaked photos from a recent diversity training which encouraged participants to “be less white” and asserted that “white people are socialized to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white” — recently went viral on social media, with reports that employees are being required to take the training by an American corporation.

This unapologetic endorsement of critical race theory — the ideology which posits that American society is inherently structured for the success of white people — is by no means a new phenomenon among leading companies. Within weeks of George Floyd’s death in the spring of 2020, the nation’s largest firms pledged over $1.6 billion to Black Lives Matter — a group which affirms that black people are “systematically targeted for demise” by the state.

Beyond donations to high-profile activist groups, corporations launched additional policies and initiatives meant to show a commitment to social justice issues. However, many of these programs either have next to no impact on the businesses’ bottom lines or exist as thinly-veiled moves to maximize profits. Some companies even announced their programs in spite of their links to persisting human rights abuses abroad, particularly in Xinjiang, China.

Here are five firms intent on virtue signaling their corporate “wokeness.”

Apple

In June 2020, Apple announced that it would spend $100 million on racial equity initiatives related to education, economic inequality, and criminal justice.

“Growing up in Alabama during the civil rights movement, I saw firsthand that the only thing that ever made lasting and durable change was people of goodwill putting aside comfort and safety to speak up to march to call for accountability and to do what they could to make a flawed society more perfect,” said CEO Tim Cook. 

“The unfinished work of racial justice and equality call us all to account,” added the executive on Twitter. “Things must change, and Apple’s committed to being a force for that change.”

Overseas, however, the technology firm has other priorities.

Three months before Cook’s statement, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute revealed that several Apple suppliers use Uyghur labor sourced from internment camps in the Xinjiang region of China. At least three factories in Apple’s supply chain use Uyghur labor — including Foxconn Technology’s Zhengzhou facility, where records reflect that Uyghurs work over 100 hours of “overtime” per month.

Google

Google devoted $175 million toward racial issues following the death of George Floyd.

“Creating meaningful change starts within our own company,” wrote CEO Sundar Pichai in a blog post. “Strengthening our commitment to racial equity and inclusion will help Google build more helpful products for our users and the world.”

Among other initiatives, Google earmarked $100 million worth of investments in black-led venture capital firms and startups, $15 million in job training programs, and $10 million to “increase equity, representation and inclusion,” across Android, Chrome, Google Play, and other offerings.

The firm also handed $1 million checks to the Movement for Black Lives, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and other activist organizations.

Despite its efforts in the United States, Google was also invoked in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute report as a beneficiary of Chinese slave labor.

Microsoft

Joining Apple and Google in supporting massive racial equity programs is fellow technology giant, Microsoft.

“Over the past several weeks, the senior leadership team, board of directors, and I have spent time reflecting, listening, learning, and discussing what role the company — and all of us collectively — must play in helping to drive change, both within Microsoft and in our communities,” explained CEO Satya Nadella in June 2020. “Today, we are making commitments to address racial injustice and inequity for the Black and African American community in the United States.”

Like other companies, Microsoft directed $150 million toward “diversity and inclusion,” which involved doubling the number of African-American managers within the next five years.

Nevertheless, like other companies, Microsoft reportedly benefits from forced labor in Xinjiang.

Amazon

Shipping and cloud computing giant Amazon which announced a $15 per hour base pay for all employees in the United States three years ago is currently pushing the federal government to increase the minimum wage.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said in 2018. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

“We’ll leave it to Congress and professionals to decide what the right number is,” remarked Dave Clark, the current head of Amazon’s retail business. “But for us, that number is $15.”

Though executives marketed the pay raise as a move toward greater workforce equity, paying such a wage is nearly impossible for most American small businesses.

CNBC and SurveyMonkey’s most recent Small Business Survey shows that one-third of small businesses will have to lay off workers if the federal minimum wage rises to $15 per hour. Over half of small business owners oppose raising the wage. 

In contrast, Amazon which boasts a market capitalization of $1.2 trillion and is currently the third largest company in the United States can afford to pay employees above prevailing market rates.

More broadly, economists agree that the federal minimum wage is not an effective policy tool. A 2019 survey revealed that 74% of economists oppose raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Only 6% agreed that a $15 pay floor would effectively target poverty, and 43% want to see the policy eliminated entirely.

Likewise, a Congressional Budget Office analysis shows that a $15 minimum wage would lead to a net loss of half a million jobs in the United States.

Walmart

Alongside Amazon, retail giant Walmart — which outcompetes small businesses across the United States — boosted its wages in an effort framed as “investment in the people” of its workforce.

“On March 13, we’ll be raising pay for our store associates in digital and stocking workgroups,” announced President and CEO John Furner in February 2021. “425,000 store associates in these frontline roles will receive a raise, with starting rates moving to $13 – $19 per hour, based on the store’s location and market.”

Walmart also joined with Big Tech companies in its nods toward racial equity.

Following the death of George Floyd, Furner’s predecessor Doug McMillon told employees that the firm would invest $100 million over five years to establish a center on racial equity. The center aims to “advance economic opportunity and healthier living, including issues surrounding the social determinants of health, strengthening workforce development and related educational systems, and support criminal justice reform with an emphasis on examining barriers to opportunity faced by those exiting the system.”

“There’s this moment here where the country is experiencing horrendous pain as a result of what happened with George Floyd’s murder and all of us seeing that on TV, but we all know that that was just one isolated event of many,” McMillon said on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “This isn’t about just one tragic event. It’s about what’s happened in our country for a long, long time and what’s happening today.”

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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