Corporations don’t care about social justice — just profit


Like most political situations in America, it seems like there are only two sides on how to treat Nike’s advertisement with Colin Kaepernick, the football player known for speaking out about the very real problem of police brutality in our country. One side hates Nike and bravely burns merchandise they already purchased from the company to make some kind of point, and the other side shouts their love of a multi-billion dollar company from the rooftops and in some cases, intentionally buys more sweatshop-made Nike products to show their “support.” Well, here’s an alternate viewpoint — Kaepernick is the one to be praised here, not the corporation that decided they could cash in on a social justice movement by making an ad about it.

I can’t believe I have to say this, but corporations don’t really care about equality. The only thing they care about is making a profit. And what better way to make a pro t, in the age of the “#Resistance,” than making some kind of vague reference to equality, feminism, or diversity in advertising to make people think they actually care about these things? The “counter-protestors” barely matter here — what real purpose did all the reporting on people burning their shoes do except lodge the Nike brand name in our skulls, to be dredged up the next time we want to go shoe shopping? Their supposed alignment with the “Resistance” is just a part of the scam.

I can’t believe I have to say this, but corporations don’t really care about equality.

Did you know that Nike’s market value went up by billions since the Kapernick ad? It’s doubtful that any of that money is going to their overseas workers, who are paid the US equivalent of $3.50 a day. Did you also know that Nike continues to donate equal amounts of money to both political parties, both of who have proven time and time again that they will put the interests of a corporation over the interests of struggling laborers, both in America and overseas?

Let’s be clear, though — Nike isn’t the only one doing this. Remember all those Super Bowl ads that asserted that they support the vague notion of “equality”? If corporations actually cared about equality, they wouldn’t be built on the backs of what are essentially slave laborers. This isn’t even mentioning the myriad sexual abuse and mass suicides that occur in these sweatshops.

The obvious and tired response to this is “this is just the way things are — companies need to employ poorly-paid workers or else they wouldn’t make a profit.” No. This is the way things are because we have accepted that pro t should be valued above the livelihood of people. I really doubt that a billion more dollars cut out of the wages of hard-working seamstresses and factory workers will make a difference to the CEO hoarding it out of the belief that he “deserves it.”

You also might say “Nike sucks, but it’s cool that they’re promoting their support of such a divisive issue.” What does it say about our country that we have to rely on corporations to set the status quo for us? No one is going to change their mind on this matter because of an advertisement, so the purpose of the ad is to sell things to people who already believe in the message. It’s like people have forgotten that actual protests, planned and organized by people, should be praised here, not corporations who slap a slogan onto a picture.

Muhlenberg is a very privileged little bubble. Most of us may not have the time to take part in labor protests or actual protests against police brutality, but at the very least, second guess the “Resistance” messaging you see in advertisements. Corporations are not your allies.

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