Well, just a week into the era of President Trump, we have the rare example of a corporation standing firmly against White Supremacy and in support of minority consumers.
New Balance is currently doing everything in its power to disassociate from America’s Neo-Nazi’s after a prominent member attempted to claim their sneakers as the “official shoe of White people.” Like the past presidential election, this response is further proof of a shift in America’s racial and financial dynamics. The White male is no longer America’s sacred demographic.
This all started when news leaked that a New Balance Vice President openly supported Donald Trump’s run for president. The VP cited Trump’s policies on international trade as his main reason for overlooking Trump’s many other flaws, like a variety of comments that demeaned the majority of his customers and work force.
A popular alt-right Twitter troll jumped at the opportunity to connect his Neo-Nazi homies and the Trump campaign’s racist disposition to a legitimate mainstream entity, but New Balance quickly rejected the unsolicited endorsement. The company said in a statement: “New Balance is a values-driven organization and culture that believes in humanity, integrity, community and mutual respect for people around the world.”
The main reason New Balance moved on this controversy like a bitch was obviously the money and morale they stood to lose from customer and employees. But it is time they and other institutions stand this firmly on moral issues as a matter of corporate responsibility, whether they will hurt their stockholders or not.
Voting and protesting are legitimate ways citizens to impact society. But how citizens choose to spend their money may be the most direct. Corporations are held accountable by their consumers, and a properly-timed outbreak, scandal or protest can humble a CEO as quickly as The White House sobered up the Donald.
But Americans must demand this kind of unapologetic resistance to bigotry from every company they do business with. If you show them your dollars matter, they will have no choice but to treat your life like it does. And if they don’t, nothing is stopping you from investing in a business in your community or abroad.
New Balance deserves respect for rebuking racism, but no applause. You don’t get extra credit for doing what you’re supposed to do. Mayb were finally about to see more brands follow New Balance’s lead. Especially if they want to avoid making the fatal mistake that still haunts Cristal’s stock value.
When Cristal dismissed rappers appropriation of their luxury champagne, they thought they were protecting their brand.
But Jay Z, one of the brand’s most vocal endorsers early in his career, reacted to the company’s efforts to distance itself from Hip Hop by launching his own competing business. Today, most of the business rappers were giving to Cris and other luxury liquor brands are now going to Hip Hop-owned and partnered brands.
Jay’s move seemed audacious at the time, but it worked. And it’s no surprise when you consider the example Hip Hop’s moguls have been setting in the fields of finance, media, merchandise for decades, from Sean John to the Rush Card.
The buying power of the Black dollar has been the only thing about Black lives that matters to most companies historically. But the shift in power that Trump’s election represents, along with the strong resistance his rhetoric has received suggests the White males who’ve been treated as America’s primary consumers are no longer at the top of the food chain.
The White Nationalist energy that charged Trump’s campaign is as desperate as ever to prove that White male rage is still a legitimate force in this country. But we all know the rise of Trump and his voters represents White Supremacy’s last stand. New Balance’s choice to stand with America’s minorities and not the 18-35 White male demo — even though it took a Neo Nazi endorsement to get them there — is proof that America is, ever slowly, changing for