With the holidays come the obligatory sales and so-called deals offered up by retailers around the world, starting immediately with Black Friday. But before you get seduced by the thought of saving money while likely spending more of it than you actually have, be aware that some of these companies targeting your purses and wallets have recent and past histories of racial insensitivity, to put it mildly.
In a year where Black buying power was expected to reach $1.3 trillion this year, the way African-Americans spend their money really does matter — perhaps more than ever in such a racially polarizing era. In order to send a message of intolerance to the companies that seem to take the Black dollar for granted, it’s probably good practice to avoid shopping at any of the below companies.
Flying while Black has always been a concern, but those worries came into sharper focus this year after a succession of Black folks came forward with allegations of apparent racism. While there is no airline owned and operated by Black folks, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from.
This soap company’s suite of cleaning products are revered by Black folks because of how effective it is on sensitive skin, but that shouldn’t be a reason to continue giving them money after it released an advertisement denigrating Black women. There are at least 10 other products made by Dove’s parent company Unilever, that you might want to avoid, as well.
This arts and crafts chain store made news for all the wrong reasons this year for selling cotton stalks to accentuate home décor. One customer took umbrage to its display in a Texas store and launched an online campaign against it, calling it racist. Whether it is racist or not is almost besides the point, since it’s clear the company is tone deaf to possible racial slights and probably would have known better if there was a more balanced level of diversity among its decision makers.
The cereal-producing giant came under fire for the back of a box of Corn Pops, which showed a number of yellow-hued cartoon characters in various states of glee – except for one, who was colored much darker than the others while shown doing manual labor. The nuance wasn’t missed by sharp-eyed cereal enthusiasts, who called the company out for racism. Much like with Hobby Lobby, whether the misstep was subliminal or intentional doesn’t matter, as there should have been push-back over it regardless. Alas, there was not, until there was. No need to spend money with a company like that.
Racism is quite literally everywhere, including in popular video games like the Street Fighter franchise, which has made more than a habit of equipping its villains with darker skin.
This pizza company had a good thing going as an NFL sponsor. That is, until its CEO decided to protest the national anthem protests sparked by exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick because it was hurting sales. Many people interpreted John Schnatter’s commentary as not being supportive of the players’ plight for social justice for Black Americans. The end result, whether intentional or not, was the unabashed support for Papa John’s by White nationalist racists who were trying to make up for the apparent loss in sales. Is there any better reason to steer clear of Papa John’s?
This one is tricky, since Pearson has all but cornered the textbook market. However, the racist stereotypes played up in one of its nursing textbooks – “Blacks often report higher pain intensity than other cultures” – can’t be ignored.
The automaker of electric cars was exposed for having a racially toxic work environment – one that CEO Elon Musk reportedly defended in a company email. More than 100 Black Tesla workers have been exposed to the N-word being casually tossed around, according to a former employee’s lawsuit filed earlier this month.
If you’re looking for alternatives, you can start with Black Enterprise’s 2017 List of Nation’s Largest Black Businesses and work your way down from there.