By bending the knee to BLM, the groundwork was laid for future left-wing violence and extortion — paid for by you, the American people.
Editor’s Note – This essay was originally published at The Federalist on April 12, 2023
Most Americans will remember the first few years of the 2020s for the pandemic, the lockdowns, the layoffs, and the Black Lives Matter (BLM)-fueled riots. Shareholders will also remember them as a tempestuous time for the market. Many companies announced mass layoffs and cuts to dividends and share buyback programs. For example, Disney’s last dividend date was Dec. 12, 2019.
In fact, according to a study by McKinsey and Company, our figure is conservative, and companies actually committed more than $340 billion to these causes. As a point of reference, $340 billion is 83 percent of the $411 billion the World Bank estimates is needed to reconstruct Ukraine. It is also greater than the GDPs of 51 African countries.
Our database tracking contributions and pledges to the BLM movement and related causes is replete with companies prioritizing “racial justice” to the detriment of shareholders and employees.
Take, for example, AT&T, the Texas-based telecommunications giant, which in 2021 made headlines for its racist, anti-white so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion” programs.
In June 2020, at the height of the pandemic and riots, AT&T laid off 3,400 employees and shut down more than 250 of its retail stores. And in 2022, AT&T cut its quarterly dividend from $0.52 per share to $0.2775 per share to redirect cash flows toward righting its stretched balance sheet and revitalizing its stagnant legacy businesses.
The company’s dividend payments were substantially less than its adjusted earnings-per-share before the nearly 50 percent cut and were closer to figures from before cell phones were ubiquitous, back when the company was still advertising long-distance calls for 10 cents a minute.
While shareholders were understandably frustrated by the news, they should be furious to learn that all the while AT&T committed more than $3.1 billion toward racial justice.
In the wake of Floyd’s death, AT&T donated no less than $21.5 million to organizations advocating for racial justice, including the NAACP, National Action Network, Equal Justice Initiative, and Color of Change — all affiliated with BLM.
AT&T also committed $10 million “to create economic opportunities and foster upward mobility for Black and other underserved communities” and $3 billion toward a two-year supplier diversity initiative to “drive diversity and inclusion across our business and communities.” (In 2021, the company reportedly surpassed its goal by $100 million.)
But that’s not all. AT&T orchestrated additional racial justice initiatives to “move the needle on advancing economic opportunity, overcoming systemic racism educational barriers and law enforcement reform.”
These included a new Business Roundtable initiative to “push for public policy changes to deliver equal justice outcomes for all” at the national, state, and local levels and a founding partnership with OneTen, a race-based, discriminatory hiring platform which aims to “hire, promote, and advance one million Black individuals who do not have a four-year degree into family-sustaining careers over the next ten years.”
The company even held an essay contest for black “future makers,” that doled out $104,596 in prizes. Entrants were judged on their “commitment to pushing the culture forward and uplifting the Black Community” (50 percent), their “potential to inspire” (25 percent), and, lastly, their “persuasiveness/writing quality” (25 percent).
It’s unlikely that AT&T’s commitments provided solace to its shareholders or laid-off employees. Nor did they better prepare the company to weather hard times. Maybe the company should have focused less on left-wing politics and more on its flagging business.
AT&T was not the only company to place racial justice before the well-being of shareholders and employees. To name but a few more examples:
General Motors, the automotive conglomerate, suspended its dividend and share buyback programs while donating $10 million to organizations promoting so-called inclusion and racial justice.
Uber, the rideshare upstart, laid off 6,700 employees while pledging $61 million to so-called racial-equity nonprofits and redistributive initiatives.
Bed Bath & Beyond, the home goods retailer, suspended both its dividend and share buyback program while pledging $1 million in products to the NAACP, again, an official partner of the BLM Global Network Foundation.
Tens of millions of hardworking Americans lost their jobs during the pandemic. Others, especially retirees, struggled as well to make ends meet. Yet all the while, these and other corporations transferred more than $340 billion to anti-American radicals and their pet causes.
By bending the knee to BLM, the groundwork was laid for future left-wing violence and extortion — paid for by you, the American people. Are corporations ashamed of this? If not, they should be.