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Just Don’t

Scott Galloway@profgalloway

Published on June 5, 2020

4-min read

I feel stronger when I wear Nike products. The company is also likely the best advertiser in modern business history. I know many of the people who work there, across many levels of management and at their agency, Wieden+Kennedy. They are sincere about making the world a better place through athletics and competition. Yesterday, I interviewed Nike board member, and my old boss, Dean Emeritus Peter Henry. The Portland firm’s most recent campaign was typical Nike, capturing the moment and unafraid to take risks. A twist on the iconic “Just Do It” campaign:

I believe this is a seminal moment in advertising. Simply put, brand-based social messaging has jumped the shark. After consulting to the CEO/CMO of every major athletic apparel shoe company in the world, my advice is to…

Just Stop It.

Systemic racism is a serious issue, but a 30-second spot during The Masked Singer doesn’t prove you are serious about systemic racism. From WWII until the ascent of Google, brands served as shorthand for a product’s promise and performance. Emotion injected into a mediocre product (American cars, light beer, cheap food) was the algorithm for creating hundreds of billions in stakeholder value. Kodak moments and teaching the world to sing translated to irrational margins based on an emotional response to inanimate products.

A consumer brand addressing social issues was largely verboten. Michael Jordan reminded us that it meant alienating a large segment of your market (“Republicans buy shoes too”). But recently, brands saw an opportunity to take risks and embrace the orthodoxy of their core consumer — more socially conscious millennials and Gen Z.

Nike embraced Colin Kaepernick and took a calculated risk that paid off. The math? People of color have a higher representation in Nike’s customer base than the population at large. Most of Nike’s consumers are under the age of 35, live outside the US, and are willing to spend $200 on Vapormax Flyknit shoes. This is Latin for progressives. This was a genius, shareholder-driven move.

The tools that undermined the brand age — letting people skip the brand promise and conduct diligence on product performance (in a .70-second Google search) — are the same tools now deployed to determine if the music matches the words when consumer brands post on Instagram that they stand with George Floyd. Statements in sans serif font on a black square, assuring us the firm is “appalled by recent events” seem near meaningless.

The battle to say something without saying anything has been fierce: “The NFL is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country.” “As a team we’ve vowed to face pain with purpose” (Target). Just as the Coca-Cola Company taught the world to sing, it feels as if the 700+ person Facebook communications team has taught corporate America how to feign concern while doing nothing.

Just as brand equity has moved from promise to performance, it’s now moving from words to actions. J.C. Watts, Republican from Oklahoma, said, “Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking.” Firms stating what is basic political orthodoxy is not leadership but performance. Words are meaningful, but actions are profound — speak louder. So far, the actions have been anemic. GM announced an advisory committee; YouTube pledged 35 minutes of ad revenue ($1 million), and McDonald’s announced a town hall.

More tangible, Goldman CEO David Solomon said the firm will donate $10 million and triple donations from employees to causes that combat racial injustice. Danish firm Lego’s actions stand out — they donated $4 million to fight racism and inequality and announced they are pulling advertising for police or White House sets (polarizing, but definitive). Cisco gave $5 million — meaningful. Mark Ritson put it well: “If you care about black lives, you don’t get inspired by an Instagram post. You get inspired by black faces in the boardroom.”

My L2 colleague Danielle Bailey asks the right question:

Work email inboxes have been filled with “in light of recent events” expressions of solidarity and anti-racism. Is this leadership or lip service? Asking the following are important determinants:

  • Are blacks represented in senior leadership at your organization?
  • Are mechanisms and resources devoted to recruit, retain, develop, and promote black employees?
  • Would your black employees say they are treated and paid equitably? Have you asked them?
  • Would your black employees find your messaging consistent with their experience in your organization? Have you asked them?
  • Is diversity and inclusion isolated to singular events (e.g. Black History Month; when there are massive global protests) or part of a sustained effort and the ongoing fabric of the culture and values of your organization? Is your senior leadership involved and supportive of these efforts?
  • Is your organization actively investing in the black communities in which they are based and operate?
  • Does your organization invest in cultivating black businesses as vendor partners and service providers?
  • Have you personally mentored a black associate?

Nike was criticized this week for having only 8% African American VPs (as opposed to 13.6% of the population). To be clear, correlation doesn’t equal causation here. Jonathan Haidt makes a useful distinction between equal-outcomes justice (numbers that look equitable) and proportional-procedural justice (a process that corrects for previous lack of access but that is also fair). Lack of representation relative to population doesn’t prove these companies are racist or that they aren’t trying to make up the difference. But the numbers show the trying needs to hurry up: We have a ways to go.

Also, it feels as if a key component of this dialogue is missing — civil debate. Simply put, it feels as though if you don’t subscribe to the entirety of a predetermined orthodoxy, you are risking your career and reputation. Either you’re a liberal and there is horrible racism infecting every area of life for people of color, and white people should be ashamed. Or you’re a conservative and people of color should shut up and deal, as a lot has been done already. If you question a line from the party handbook, you are shut down and subject to cancellation.

I’ve had trouble getting thought leaders with domain expertise on the issue of hiring and who happen to be caucasian, to speak publicly on the issue as, at this point, it seems many arenas are more concerned with the speakers’ background than their ideas and openness to debate. Any movement that doesn’t invite evidence and debate, turns from doctrine to dogma and alienates constituencies required to enact real, enduring change. We should be open to dialogue on all sides.

Actions that address social justice are powerful messages. Messages about the importance of social justice are just messaging. We are the sum of our actions, not our words. Firms, and all of us, are learning we need to be more.

Life is so rich, 

P.S. Listen to my conversation with Peter Henry — about Nike, how brands are responding to this moment, and how to be a better husband/partner/dad on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. 



  1. diwokes says:

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  2. Jorge says:

    Confusing. Seems like moral signaling. The last part is important. What matter is really what you think an what you do. Your background is way less important than that.

  3. Kiers says:

    Dilbert to corporate America: Outside the geographical garrison walls of the US, are “the people of color”. If you want to sell your product there……don’t do it.

  4. Peter says:

    Great article. I totally agree that corporate pandering messages are useless and frankly insulting. Actions matter, but the examples you list here are also just as meaningless as the words. $5-10 million commitments from multi-billion corporations? 35 minutes of ad space? Formation of an advisory committee? (Seriously? A committee?) I would like to see some meaningful measurable targets – say, in 2 years achieve minority representation in upper management that is proportional to the overall population. Make it slower if necessary but show progress towards that goal! That’s an action I can stand behind.

  5. leo says:

    thanks for all the insight on many issues, past and present. digital platforms like this one are unfortunately limited to words and don’t include the actions that count but you could finish the self-examination by answering bailey’s important questions. it’s not enough but, for my part, yes to all questions that apply.

  6. Logan B. says:


  7. Stephen Glasgow says:

    I agree with much of your piece however I don’t agree that it boils down to two binary factions of either liberal and everything is horrendous or conservative and plenty has already been done. I think there is a very wide spectrum between these 2 extremes and that is where most people fall. I know very few people at either extreme (although i know they exist)

  8. stu415 says:

    the system can’t reform itself…

  9. James says:

    Really well thought out piece Scott. Nice read. I wonder if the fact that we all almost have our own different realities right now, which is confined to our numerous screens & decided by Amazon, Facebook and Google to name a few, just means that civil debate in a previous form has been lost along the way. Maybe another victim of the corona, this has been accelerated – we don’t have a choice anymore. Content from all places is about leaving something definite with an audience, the better everyone has got at this, from the NYTs to the Eastern European Facebook managed rage group, the more entrenched people get in their views. We’re in scary times but your nuance across the media world helps.

  10. Williams says:

    Thanks Scott. Your articles are refreshing and I am always checking my inbox for your next edition. The issue of racism is a touchy subject and it will require open hearts and minds to discuss and chart a sustainable solution for all stakeholders. One clear message is all human race should have access to opportunities to realize their potentials.

  11. Brian says:

    Dude, a bunch of your commenters are pretty racially ignorant and prejudiced. So, likely, a bunch of racists.

  12. Aaron K says:

    Great post Scott – the money quote is: “We are the sum of our actions, not our words.” True, indeed ProfG.

  13. Martin Looter says:

    Watching the news, and USA looks like USSR – there is one hard party line (BLM in this case), any transgression is punished by immediate ostracism. By transgression I mean freedom of speach (since when policy ideas are akin to satiric paintings of Prophet Muhammad?), and by ostracism – losing job, reputation, income, even jailtime (like some of those policemen), even life (like some of those policemen again). I fully understand the nature of complex problems, and BLM looks like a racist campaign: the problems behind it are very real and need solving, but the “solutions” are plain wrong (defund the police, eat the rich, white people must kneel and apologize, black people must be granted special rights and preferences). If you are white, it is being spat at your face, no matter how disadvanteged. So, all lives matter, not only black. For the fear of black racism (eg. what’s happening in Zambia, and the looting and ), I think we must allow free speach and rename BLM to ALM.

    • Loco4Locos says:

      Yes, all lives matter. The whole point of BLM is that black lives should matter AS MUCH as white lives. Saying all lives should matter is akin to the fire truck spraying every house in the neighbourhood when you only your house is on fire.

    • Jonas says:

      I think you would greatly benefit from acquiring some knowledge outside of your bubble. The vast majority of what you’ve said in your post was basically just a regurgitation of the far right media, very little of what you said is actually true. “defund the police, eat the rich, white people must kneel and apologize, black people must be granted special rights and preferences” No one is asking for special rights, no one is asking us to kneel and apologize those things are not occurring. As to defunding the police, I believe you should look more into what that statement actually means, they’re at least two places in this nation that have already done that. If you look at the budget of a large police department like New York City or LA, you’ll see that their budgets are in the billions. Literally the billions, some of that money would be much better spent other ways than on bigger guns, thicker armor, and more CS gas. Trying to achieve a fully equitable society is an extremely good goal, and if you can’t see the truth behind that statement, I think you need to look inside yourself, and consider what it actually means to be an American.

    • Rick says:

      @Jonas Hating on people like this is epic. I could literally tear your reasoning (and you) apart – but why? What is amazing is that in this one reply you actually demonstrated the very point the author made about narrow-mindedness and the negative effects of our present cancel culture. Whether black or white, you can’t fix stupid.

  14. CJEU says:

    Perhaps a small suggestion. Corporates can compete and adopt K-12 schools, helping close teacher, supplies and related maintenance budgets. No need to move to vouchers; lets fix the baseline issue, and help skill-up kids so they can have a fighting chance next to the kids that went to parochial and private school. Maybe per kids, that represents a thousand or two in annual investment. That combined with internships and vocational training will do more to change the ecosystem of inner cities and lower income zip codes. And we can collect performance data. And Michael Jordan’s $100M can now go to long term secular change rather than a campaign. It also creates leverage to migrate county governments to refocus their own budgets on jobs, health spend and community policing. Other corporates can support local health centers and community libraries /centers. A little focused effort can make a difference. Just a thought

  15. Doug says:

    Mr. Galloway Consider doing an article on the leaders in industry that have been great w diversity. One suggestion would be to profile the Cristo Rey high school network which has done an amazing job placing financially disadvantaged kids in white collar internships during their 4 years of high school

  16. robert kaufelt says:

    I just returned to Greenwich Village after twelve weeks in rural seclusion at our farm, and throngs of people are in the streets, Washington Square Park is packed with protesters, and the police seem beleaguered, even a little embarrassed, as if they wished we would speak to them like people. I saw no violence, but the boarded up shops make the place look like the war zone it almost is, what with virus masks, streets blocked, the people leaderless. It’s ok that companies have supported this movement, that is progress, but the executive suites are staffed by people who learn how to fit in at schools most folks will never attend. We all know that change hasn’t come, and won’t for a long, long time. We hope the next generations will do better than we did, – the baby boomers – who we regret to say gave America Clinton, W Bush, and Trump.

  17. Joe Weisbord says:

    Yes! Actions, not words. No mention of Ben and Jerry’s? I’m not a fan of the ice cream, but their CSR leadership is undeniable. They took a public position in support of Black Lives Matter in 2016, when it was not riding a wave of national awareness. The company has a long and sustained support for social causes, some popular and some not. By contrast, it is hard to see Goldman’s $10 M charitable commitment as all that “serious” (especially against Q1 net revenue of $8.74B). And just four months ago Goldman’s CEO made this bold pledge: “Effective July 1, Goldman Sachs will only underwrite IPOs in the US and Europe of private companies that have at least one diverse board member.” I almost never comment on blogs, so you must be doing something right. I look forward to next Friday’s post.

    • Peter says:

      It is ridiculously easy for a company to have at least one “diverse” board member. There’s usually at least one Chinese or Latin American investor. $10 mn for Goldman is a laughable number, considering their billions have been earned on the backs of “diverse” labor.

  18. Benjamin Acosta says:

    As a director of a performing arts organization that draws heavily on a repertoire of music created by black musicians, I find Danielle Bailey’s “right questions” useful in taking stock of ourselves as an organization. We can answer most with a resounding YES. Others may be more fraught. We still have some work to do, and I know we are not alone in this regard.

  19. James says:

    Listened to a podcast by Deray McKesson who mentioned 8 reforms to reduce police killings by 72%. :1.Ban chokeholds and strangleholds 2.Require de-escalation 3.Require warning before shooting 4.Exhaust all other means before shooting 5.Duty to intervene and stop excessive force by other officers 6.Ban shooting at moving vehicles 7.Require use-of-force continuum 8.Require comprehensive reporting each time an officer uses forces or threatens to do so As the NFL has fought against kneeling perhaps therein lies a solution. If the game is played in a city that has adopted the reforms-the players will stand. If the game is played in a city that has not adopted the reforms the players -including Drew Brees- will take a knee. I would think Jerry Jones would prefer that solution and would make it happen.This is a tangible goal for 32 major cities.Thoughts?

  20. robt h says:

    very intriguing article—-I find the ‘comment/responses’ contain many constructive & soul-searching points…

  21. Jo-Ann Abbate says:

    Education is the civil rights issue of our day. People of influence need to put energy on the abysmal state of inner cities schools. Not one company I have read has even mentioned this. Give families a choice of where to send their kids to school – choice is overwhelming supported by inner city families. It’s both a disgrace and heartbreaking that the ticket to a different life is withheld from people who most need it

    • Ellary says:

      Education is at the heart of everything. Lack of it is responsible for white supremacy, and the execrable disadvantage Blacks have endured. Free education is crucial. But then there is ignorance everywhere, especially at the top.

  22. Lou Sylvester says:

    Enough of words. It’s what you do that matters. The politics of blame separates us all. Scott you did a nice job of reminding us that we are a part of the solution. Us includes corporations who benefit from our labor 🙏🏻

  23. Tim says:

    Nike, along with other like minded companies, have destroyed the working class in USA over the last 30 years so they could line their own pockets, and the pockets of people who were already wildly wealthy, with even money. They have helped destroy the fabric of local communities across the country. Virtual signalling and hypocrisy at an elite level, just like the hypocrisy coming from most of the elite athletes they sponsor.

  24. William says:

    Scott, you have a great knack of taking complex topics and arrowing in to the route of the debate. Two points though: 1. Boardroom representation can’t be solved at the boardroom level – as you said in your 10th podcast though you referred to Harvard entrance exams. This starts off much earlier and requires us all to support decent education for everyone. 2. The argument should be raised to include discrimination in all forms. The easiest thing I can think to fight it is to check in with all your friends with a simple ‘do you feel you are fighting discrimination in your life?’ and if the answer is yes then to say ‘tell me about it, i will support you and let’s fight it’.

  25. Tom Walter says:

    It’s a serif font, not san serif.

  26. Neeraj Kohli says:

    Superb Prof G, thought provoking on many levels even for us in India with our own issues. Actions more than words required. There has to be a middle path, you just can’t be labelled this or that. How do we deal with divisiveness, prejudices, righting historical wrongs. Dialogue and conversations vs slanging matches. Thank you!

  27. Michael Moore says:

    I’ve been out of school for +25 years but I would go back just to take multiple classes from you! Impressive and glad you are educating the next generation of American business leaders!

  28. Vince Fulco says:

    This is so great. Tremendous food for thought. My beef is with the passionate defenders of rights domestically who will do everything in their power to protect their own commercial interests in repressive, draconian, brutal foreign systems. Enough with the asymmetrical principles bearing already. The world deserves better protectors of individual liberties and dignity.

  29. Latimer Schmidt says:

    Enjoy your insightful writings, Thanks. Gotta say that racial inequality and discrimination has been with us a long time I was reminded of the LDJ era 1968 Kerner report following urban riots that spelled out the components of racial inequity in terms of housing, jobs, education, heath care, & access to political and economic power. Same frustration, anger and rage as with George Floyd, now on seen on video. Its a bigger task than corporate inclusion of minority employees. Start with the obscene separation of wealth between the top 0.1% and the masses, the increase in rentier and monopolistic enterprises, that has exacerbated this stratification for all races. We have a long hard journey to a more economically, racially and socially just society. We can and must do better. Perhaps the debate starts with what can practically be done and a government not bought and sold to wealth. Start with programs like early childhood education, free or low cost college and vocational education, a tax system the encourages job creation over financial engineering, a Federal Reserve that supports Main Street over Private Equity, maybe even a tax on imports dedicated to support vital national industries, etc.

  30. Alex J. says:

    You started off strong, big dog, and then something went wrong at the end. You made solid points about organizations needing to do more than post platitudes, but your entire closing section reads like every common trope spouted from many ignorant people’s mouths. Did you write half of it, take a break to lose a few brain cells, and then come back and finish it? You mention wanting civil debate, then completely oversimplify and unfairly categorize two groups of people, painted with the broadest strokes. You bemoan not getting access to white people to speak on these issues, as if it is SUCH a burden to you to try to find non-white people to speak on it. You mention needing data so conversations don’t devolve to dogma, but where is your data on that? You also wildly conjecture throughout the last half of the piece, sharing your own (astonishingly ignorant) dogma. And should we really be open to dialogue from ALL sides? Do you genuinely believe that proud, card-carrying KKK members and neo-Nazis should be given a platform? I’m with you on a plurality of voices, but there are some people that we, as a society, have agreed that we don’t need to hear from ever again.

  31. John Oppenheimer says:

    Nicely said Scott. Strive on with diligence. Nike is making a big dog Air Galloway for you

  32. Andrew Ford says:

    Great article Scott, I am a new listener, new fan after hearing your WeCrashed podcast. I am also a University lecturer in marketing and business owner and in Australia, plus a white male. I feel perennial guilt over the fact that we as Australians have overrun the Aboriginal population to the point of near extinction. It was only 200 years ago that we settled here and you will not see a black face ANYWHERE in corporate Australia. Not one. How do I talk to my kids about a population that owned this land when we don’t see any on the streets or businesses? The university makes token efforts with marketing, but I haven’t met an Aboriginal teacher yet in five years and three institutions. Every country has it’s own issues, guilt, remorse and opportunities to change the future. Marketing isn’t one of them, but perhaps it can shine a light. Real change comes from when people just see people and not types of people.

  33. Rosanna Iacono says:

    hey Scott, Nike just committed $40 million over the next 4 years, building further on their already strong history of financial commitment to the communities they serve and impact. You might want to mention this. Also, to ask major brands to ‘Just Stop It’ is to negate the whole reason the US Business Council committed to a broader stakeholder capitalism model last year and why the Davos Manifesto came about in January of this year. Because with the sort of power major corporations wield today (combined with the unfortunate backward nature of our governments) they have an obligation to push social and environmental agendas to truly represent their employees and customers. If they ‘just stopped’, the causes that matter would be even further back in their progress than they are. Thanks for creating the opportunity for this dialogue.

  34. benjy says:

    Enjoyable read and perspective. The cancel culture is most troubling – the reticence of those caucasian thought leaders to speak publicly is quite understandable – one false word or unacceptable item in their history and they’re done. One of my favorite philosophers from my teen years, Ice-T, said it well: Freedom of Speech… just watch what you say! And here we are: no more constructive discussion as we deal with messy reality–mostly we have faux political correctness in attempt to inoculate against the seething mob. This is not progress and like the virus, we cannot win this battle, we can only hope to survive it with the fewest losses.

  35. Phil Bonanno says:

    Credit where it’s due Scott – Facebook also donated $10 million to racial justice. But that don’t hang with your bias. Btw, let ritson own this space, a proper academic, not a flim/glam man like yourself, trendstreaming from one issue to another.

  36. David Cooperstein says:

    First, interesting that most people don’t put their last name on here, so I did. Second, thank you for this. The issue that I think would be great for you to address is how (blame it on social media or some other macro trend) younger consumers whom brands love are making their choices based on the ethos that the brand represents. The “best” product may not win in today’s market because its brand stance is not aligned with one side or another. They will reject brands that say the wrong thing or don’t say enough. Your Nike point addresses that, but I think it goes deeper than superficial sales. It goes to the root of who they want and will sustain as customers. Third, the issue I have been grappling with is the “hollow factor” for lack of a better term. The barrage of emails rings hollow to me, and the money is slightly less so but still done on the backs of corporate profit. When Alexis Ohanian quit the board of his own company to replace himself with a black director, that is action, and therefore is a very “solid” move. I’d love for you to create a “hollow” index for these moves to rate them, with 0 (or very hollow) being an email, 5 being “gave lots of money” adjusted for impact on their business, and 10 be a specific, immediate, and brave action taken to directly create change.

    • Ed says:

      As before, let naming be a choice. ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ – Evelyn Beatrice Hall, Voltaire et al

  37. Sue says:

    an excellent opinion on some decent Wall St companies too few sadly but all of have a responsibility to get this president out of office if we want take this to a higher level..sadly we need more Hedge fund Ceo’s coming out everyday hammering the need for society inclusion and equality

  38. Ken says:

    Another insightful entry. And exactly what I have been thinking, feeling and growing concerned with. The listed questions are spot on and need to be addressed by every business leader who has authorized the release of a platitude for Mr. Floyd. Actions and data. Not meaningless words and posts.

  39. Brian says:

    “I’ve had trouble getting thought leaders with domain expertise on the issue of hiring and who happen to be caucasian, to speak publicly on the issue as, at this point, it seems many arenas are more concerned with the speakers’ background than their ideas and openness to debate. Any movement that doesn’t invite evidence and debate, turns from doctrine to dogma and alienates constituencies required to enact real, enduring change. We should be open to dialogue on all sides.” Did you ever think that maybe it’s because these people know that they don’t have the perspective and full knowledge to speak on these issues, and it can therefore be dangerous to open their mouths and spout falsities? Maybe these folks realize that, as white people, they should choose to use their voices wisely, and if they were to misspeak and misrepresent, they could sway and influence things for the worse?

  40. Erwan Rambourg says:

    Great perspective as usual, Scott. Also worth noting that Trevor Edwards ran Nike brand and was meant I believe to run group eventually before he left for reasons unrelated to race. Nike is genuine and bold and do what very few brands do these days and what consumers notice: take risks!

    • Ken says:

      Trevor Edwards and a bevy of his allies were forced to resign based on inappropriate behavior and bullying, causing a firestorm in Beaverton. Nike is a marketing machine and you have been duped.

  41. Eric says:

    I’m so happy someone called out the lack of civil debate. This is not a cut and dry issue and there are a lot of nuances to appreciate. But I feel silenced when I want to have a discussion to look at the hard facts of the world. If I say the wrong thing, I’m cancelled and this is true for all sides of this issue. Everyone is against cops killing people. Everyone is against riots. Everyone is against racism. So what’s the debate about? It’s about fundamental trust which is lacking on a systemic level. Without trust, society is just a bunch of begrudging tribes using the same sidewalk.

  42. Bruce Burke says:

    Brands / companies simply need to remember why they’re in business and who their customers are. Contrived institutional corporate speak that doesn’t resonate or add value falls shallow and fools no one.

  43. Matt says:

    Not a very deep dive, Scott. GM and McDonald’s are anemic? GM and the UAW were at the forefront of hiring black people (including management positions) since the 40’s and 50’s, long before you started buying cars built by white Germans. McDonald’s probably provides more employment for black teens than any other company, and has long fostered franchise opportunities for great black employees to move into ownership. Lego’s a hero for tossing out $4 million from their all-white perch in Denmark? Please, do your research before you slap out a post to make yourself feel better. And never mention Goldman Sachs again.

  44. Scot Turner says:

    I don’t need to virtue signal through my shoes, my apparel, or through any product I use. The level of consciousness I demonstrate in my interactions with people is how people can judge me, unless of course they value more superficial attributes as encouraged by manufacturers to sell their product on the basis of identity rather than performance and value. I own no Nike shoes because other manufacturers offer me products at better prices that better serve my needs. Perhaps if Nike decreased their advertising budget their products would be more price and value competitive.

  45. Ed Schifman says:

    Generally, you are on mark, but this time around, I can’t accept your viewpoint, Scot. I am a conservative, and I believe that characterizing the right who believe anyone should shut up and deal, whether they be black, white, green or blue, is not only incorrect, but it is an incredibly simplistic definition of any group of people. I grew up lower middle class with every mix of colors and ideas. Our Midwest mentality was less simplistic…we were sometimes in agreement, sometimes not, but we were brought up to listen to others viewpoints, but with respect for each other. We were every mix of ideas and philosophies. Today, the boxes are even smaller, the viewpoints pre-packaged with greater specificity about who you describe “we” are. That recipe that comes out cold and unedible.

  46. SP says:

    The walk/talk contrast is stark in a lot of orgs. Representation is certainly important in decision-making positions and on boards. BUT… as any observer of the UK govt can see, representation is – at best – only part of the story. There are lots of black and South Asian in very senior ministerial positions in the ruling conservative party. But they have done nothing to represent the communities from where they’re from. They have been subsumed into culture and values of the org they work for. In commercial orgs too this is often the case. Bring in a mixture of backgrounds into exec positions, sure. But make sure you bring the interests of the communities they’re from into the room too.

  47. Thomas says:

    This is just to say I’m glad I signed up for this. Thank you!

  48. Rajan Chopra says:

    Excellent article, Scott.

  49. Rajan Chopra says:

    Excellent article, Scott !

  50. Javier says:

    Are mechanisms and resources devoted to recruit, retain, develop, and promote black employees? Employees should be hired because of their capacity, not for the color of their skin, it doesn’t matter if you are black, white, yellow, or Fuchsia. I’m from Cuba and we have made the mistake to put politicians in high ranking government positions just because they are black without taking into consideration if it’s capable or not and that’s a mistake. Education and capability have no color. I think that hiring a person just for the color of their skin is also racism

    • Saman Jebeli-Javan says:

      Easy to say. After Jim Crow, red lining, Segregation, harsher jail time and police brutality, for so very long, simply saying hire the best person is ignorant. Native Americans and African Americans need a leg up to even start to get a fair go.

    • Portinan says:

      @Saman Jebeli-Javan Your suggestion will result in less reliable rockets launched by SpaceX, more security holes in Microsoft Windows, and less fuel efficient airplanes designed by Boeing. Private businesses should hire based on competency, period. It’s not the market’s job to “fix” historical injustices. Studies have shown that affirmative action results in more college dropouts and the lowering of standards. Instead, you need to focus on the educational system, victim mentality, and the toxic gang culture that keeps inner cities poor and illiterate. To not hold black people and white people to the same standard is racist.

  51. Rebecca Thomas says:

    Please capitalize Black when referring to a person of color.

  52. Harlan Edmonds says:

    Prof G: Given your (and my) feelings about Facebook, why is that the most prominently featured method of sharing your thoughts?

  53. Doug says:

    I don’t need a lecture from these companies. Not being racist is… not being racist. That’s good enough for me. Corporations don’t have to be activists. In fact I think this will tear down many large corporations and open the door for small and midsized as well as local businesses to take share. What a joke we have become. Forget that there’s data that proves most of this is ridiculous. But professor G only cares about that when it supports his own agenda.

    • Jay says:

      Doug totally agree with you on I don’t need a lecture from companies and most times they are only doing this so their brand remains strong and the perception is they care. However, I couldn’t disagree more about your slight on Prof G. Read his books or listen to his podcast. He is brutally honest about himself and others.. Always mentioning his weakness. The dude basically rips on all his buddies from Silicon valley and his own school for things he perceives as wrong. For me he is the only honest/genuine one out there. Anyways not sure how ripping on your employer and the companies he invests in, talking about mental health and equality and wanting more kids to get a good education as “he only cares about that when it supports his own agenda.” So you might want to re-evaluate that or apologize for saying such a nasty thing.

    • Jay says:

      @Jay Lastly, I want to say it takes balls to go on tv, and podcasts and give your non-sense opinion knowing there will be people that just rip on your for anything you say. I think most people that sit behind a computer (like myself) and throw darts couldn’t continue to take the nasty comments people make and still continue to go on the air and speak your truth. Even if I don’t agree with you, I always respect people on fox, cnn, msnbc or anywhere who give their no filtered opinion without care whether it upsets people. That is why people love Charles Barkley and the few analyst who have the nuts to say the truth regardless if it affects their friends feelings.

  54. Henry Loeser says:

    A $5M donation from a billion dollar corporation sounds similar to greenwashing. How about economic justice and the equitable distribution of wealth as a good first step toward social justice?

  55. Ed says:

    Black Lives Matter make a distinction between racism toward black people vs. people of color, and choose to focus the movement strictly on the experience of black people. Just FYI, though I’m not a primary source for this info.

  56. Chris Lynn says:

    Excellent. Corporate CEOs need to remember Noah’s Law: no prizes for weather forecasting, only for building arks.

  57. Courtney Delnevo says:

    Would love your take on Ben & Jerry’s head-first dive into calling out white supremacy on their social media the other day? I agree that weak brand messages on social media should stop and don’t add anything. However, if the message is part of the brand’s core beliefs and DNA from the beginnning (again Ben and Jerry’s) then it would be false for them not to post and use social media to spread the message.

  58. Scott is Implicit says:

    You are a complicit piece of crap.

  59. dallasboiler says:

    Scott, I couldn’t agree more with your last 3 paragraphs. Too often, I find that we don’t assume positive intent when speaking to others … especially online. Starting there would enable real progress on the most sensitive, complex issues facing our society. Instead, more often than not, we assume the worst which just entrenches folks into their ideological foxholes and renders them unable to understand broader perspectives or compromise. Sometimes compromise isn’t even necessary, and we can peacefully coexist with different views; but we’re still worse off as a society if we can’t talk about our differences without fear of being broadly grouped in some undesirable cohort.

  60. Allan says:

    Agree. We pay lip service through ad hoc misadventures that look genuine but only satisfy our need for action. Words are less then the sum of it’s intention. Why marketing in this way means little, other then to line pockets of the medium. Act, and they shall come.

  61. Brendan McAdams says:

    Thank you! We don’t need corporate platitudes…we need action and system change. As an aside, I think CS Lewis made essentially the same quote(integrity rather than character) decades prior to JC Watts.

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