When it comes to the rising progressive culture in America, wokeness is an integral aspect of its values. For clarity, to be “woke” is to be “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)” (Merriam-Webster). While there’s an importance to understanding the flaws in societal norms and the justice system, authoritarians have weaponized the ideology through cancel culture, critical theory, and rioting from radical groups such as Antifa and BLM.
Amoral corporations and billionaires have also adopted the philosophy. Not only have they given in to the leftist mob’s rhetoric; they have utilized Wokeism to their advantage. These powerful entities are exploiting the mainstream social justice agenda for profit, optics, and power.
Cancel Culture and Critical Theory
In recent years, the marketing strategy of many large companies has focused on reflecting politically correct views. New movies, shows, and other media are incorporating the woke, antiracist doctrine. Rather than promoting diversity in thought, there has been a push for differences in color and gender across the board. Instead of encouraging equality and fighting racism, there has been a push for equity (equality of outcomes rather than opportunity) and reverse discrimination. Men are being bombarded with terms such as “mansplaining,” “toxic masculinity,” and “male privilege.” White people are being told that they must be “white abolitionists” and actively antiracist to end a regime of whiteness.
Corporations don’t actually care about these values, though. Whether the school of thought that sells is racism, pedophilia, or Satanism, they’ll promote it because they’ll do anything for profit. Political correctness and radical social reform just happen to sell the best.
The espousal of the PC culture by the mainstream is not new. It has been taking place for years. In 2019, a commercial from Gillette attacked men for displaying toxic masculinity and mansplaining. The commercial ran with the idea that most men are pigs who talk down upon women and only desire them for sexual intercourse.
While they have caused an increase in the division of society, the standards of behavior have benefitted Big Tech. Following the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol, the social media app Parler was removed from app stores and cut from Amazon Web Services. Apple and Amazon cited the calls for violence posted to the platform as their rationale for cutting ties with the company. Applying that same scrutiny, however, the services should have also parted ways with Facebook.
A report from the Tech Transparency Project found that the Capitol attack had been planned on Facebook for months. Even though Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg claimed that the site held little liability, the TTP rebutted that Facebook’s actions laid “the groundwork for the broader radicalization that fueled the Capitol insurrection in the first place” (TTP). If Parler was held accountable, it calls into question why Facebook wasn’t. If the two scenarios both had a likelihood of causing violence, then they should have faced the same sanctions from Apple and Google.
In February of this year, critical theory found its way to Coca-Cola in the form of training employees to “be less white.” According to the presentation shown to employees, to be less white is to be less oppressive, arrogant, certain, defensive, and ignorant, among several other traits. Woke activists believe that past discrimination can only be solved by present discrimination. They disparage a group of people to make up for events that have already been put to an end through legal and social correction.
The fight for antiracism continued in late March with Major League Baseball boycotting Georgia over the passing of S.B. 202, an election integrity bill that requires voter ID to vote absentee. By moving their stadium out of Atlanta, the MLB stood up against the “racism” of the state asking voters for proof of identity. The airline company Delta also slammed the bill, claiming that it will stop citizens from being able to vote.
The Profitability of Wokeism
Companies may not even care about the matters they publicly express deep concern for. The MLB moved their arena to Colorado, a state that still enforces voter ID law for in-person voting. Delta is no better, as they require ID to board their planes and have no problem with the laws surrounding the matter.
It could be that there was an opportunity for a greater return on investment—the companies could have projected that pandering to more left-wing values would increase their profit margins. By appeasing the woke mob, the MLB and Delta get a pass for the time being.
The progressive mentality takes issue with the existence of ultra-wealthy individuals and corporations. Ideologues hate the idea that there are such wealthy individuals while at the same time, there are people in poverty. Billionaires don’t particularly care about people calling for an increase in taxes, though. If corporate taxes increase, they have the resources to relocate their companies to other countries. Their ability to outsource jobs already allows them to utilize slave labor in countries such as China, benefitting the CCP and hurting Americans in the process.
Not only do they outsource jobs; they relish hiring workers at lower wages within the United States. Relaxed border security allows unprincipled entrepreneurs to capitalize on immigrant labor. Luckily for them, wokeness promotes open borders as well. Undocumented workers are more valued as they can be paid under the table and are often willing to work for less than minimum wage. Bernie Sanders, who is in support of raising wages in America, even condemned it saying that open borders are a “Koch brothers proposal.”
It’s no secret that corrupt wealthy people see immigration as low-skilled labor done at a discount rate. Kelly Osbourne, who lambasted Donald Trump in 2015 for campaigning on tightening border control, asked “if you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?” She immediately backpedaled on her statement, but it goes to show that there are rich individuals who only care about a discount on their chores.
Recent acts of violence have also allowed the wealthy to evade public scrutiny. They have realized that funding riots can advance the division in this country and shift the focus of Americans toward cultural differences. Rather than focusing on the people funneling an immense amount of money into politics to benefit themselves, citizens are now vilifying each other for their ideas and identities.
Establishment politicians support the radical social movements as well. The current Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, supported the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF), which paid criminal bail for people damaging property and looting after the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. According to the MFF’s records, she did not donate herself while serving as a U.S. Senator, but she has not shied away from expressing her support for the protests that led to violent rioting. On The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, she said “they’re not gonna stop, and everyone beware,” referring to the same people she asked her followers to post bail for. There’s profitability in getting elected by appealing to a radical base, Harris knows that. While never stating that she supported the rioting, she only denounced the terrorism when it helped her vice presidential bid.
Black Lives Matter also has its share of corruption. One of the organization’s co-founders, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, bought four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the US. One of the houses was purchased in Malibu, California, where black people only make up about 1.1% of the population (United States Census Bureau). For claiming to be a Marxist, she seems to enjoy the luxuries afforded to her through capitalism. It can be inferred that she doesn’t truly believe every statement that she makes. There’s no solid proof that she doesn’t, but the deeds to her homes definitely don’t help her case.
Why Wokeism Benefits the Wealthy
For the past few years, corporate media has been reflecting increasingly woke values. They are the norm at this point—if a company doesn’t assimilate, it gets “canceled.” Big businesses have found a way to make a profit off of this, however. By pandering to a base that is appeased by far-left principles, the wealthy individuals that the Woke hold disdain for have ensured that their incomes continue to increase.