The problem with calling anyone racist these days is that the word is like a blank space in a mad lib. Fill it in however you like. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. This is by design, of course. It is easier to weaponize the “racism” label if you don’t have to worry about using it correctly. And that is what makes the latest publicity stunt from Yelp so disturbing.
Yelp has long been hated by some small business owners who complain that negative reviews on the site can have a significant impact on their business despite being potentially inaccurate or malicious. A recent documentary called “Billion Dollar Bully” claims that Yelp essentially extorts smaller companies, demanding that they buy advertising in exchange for minimizing negative reviews. Yelp denies the charge and even bought the BillionDollarBully.com domain name and redirected it to a page on its site clarifying that it does not extort small businesses. You can judge for yourself whether buying the domain name of a documentary that accuses you of dishonest tactics is itself a dishonest tactic.
Yelp’s latest innovation, which begs to be exploited by bad actors, is an official Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert. The company explained the new system in a series of tweets:
Today, we’re announcing a new consumer alert to stand against racism. In the last few months, we’ve seen that there is a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions. Communities have always turned to Yelp in reaction to current events, and our User Operations team already places alerts on business pages when we notice an unusual uptick in reviews that are based on what someone may have seen in the news, rather than on a first-hand experience. Now, when a business gains attention for reports of racist conduct, Yelp will place a new Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert on their Yelp page to inform users, along with a link to a news article where they can learn more. …
If someone associated with a business is accused of, or the target of, racist behavior, we will place a Public Attention Alert on the business page to warn consumers that the business may be receiving an influx of reviews as a result of increased attention. For businesses accused of overtly racist actions, where we can link to a news article, we will escalate our warning with the Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert.
The new alert, we’re told, is “an extension of our Public Attention Alert that we introduced in response to a rise in social activism surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.” The alert which will now pop up for any business under suspicion of racism, says in big bold letters “Business Accused of Racist Behavior,” and then explains:
Recently someone associated with this business was accused of racist behavior, resulting in an influx of people posting their views to this page. Racism is reprehensible and has no place on Yelp, and we unequivocally reject racism in any form. Read about the reports of racist behavior here. While we understand the desire to warn others about racist behavior associated with a business, all reviews on Yelp must reflect actual first-hand consumer experience. We have temporarily disabled the ability to post here as we work to investigate the content.
What could go wrong? Businesses will be tagged with the scarlet “R” and then Yelp will investigate to see if the claims are actually true. But how will Yelp know if they’re true? How will a business owner prove that a supposedly racist thing didn’t happen, or that a supposedly racist statement wasn’t made? This is a classic case of guilty until proven innocent, and here there is no way to prove your innocence at all.
Keep in mind that racism is not only a vague and ambiguous word, but also, according to Black Lives Matter and other proponents of Critical Race Theory, it is a word that applies to all white people inherently, by nature of their whiteness. By this way of thinking, any action taken or word spoken by a white business owner is automatically racist, at some level, because racism is embedded in the “structures of whiteness” or some such nonsense. It would seem that the only evidence needed to prove a racism charge against a business owner is that business owner’s skin color.
But not to worry. If you run a small company, have already been decimated by COVID lockdowns and perhaps rioting mobs on top of it, and are now worried about being labeled a racist by a vindictive customer or hate crime hoaxer, Yelp has resources to help. Yelp has partnered with a group called Open To All “to bring local businesses a new toolkit that allows them to take the next step in creating an inclusive community. The toolkit includes a 60-minute unlearning bias training video for employees, outreach language for customers and employees, social media assets, and more.”
For just $10 you can also get a sticker to put on your window that declares your business “open to all,” which hopefully will convince the Woke mob to spare you like the angel of death passing over the homes of Israelites with lamb’s blood smeared on the door.
The Open To All website has a number of videos that illuminate the discrimination and racism issue, including one condemning businesses that require biological males to use the men’s restroom. If you’re wondering whether Yelp will be judging racism and discrimination complaints fairly, there’s your answer.
This is the radical leftist lens through which Yelp, like so many other billion-dollar corporations, views the world. No surprise, given that this is the same company which a few months ago unveiled a new search option making it easier for users to find and support specifically black-owned businesses. That is, quite blatantly, racial segregation and discrimination. But it’s the good kind, according to the far-left. And potentially destroying innocent business owners by enabling libelers and slanderers to smear them as racist without evidence is also good if it advances the cultural agenda.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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