Brands and the People Who Work for Them Are Standing Up to Fight Racism

Brands and the People Who Work for Them Are Standing Up to Fight Racism

We need to change. Not only our way of thinking, but our actions. What we buy and who we buy it from is a political decision in itself. 

Pitchfork, the music media platform, has provided a list of ways you could help fight racism. You can view them all here. And legendary guitar maker Fender has sent out an email containing a letter from their CEO stating that the world would not be the world if it wasn't for all the various cultures of the globe that make and have made music. 

Moment has asked its followers, gear-users, and the learners what their community should do. 

YouTube has pledged a million dollars in solidarity, which I would say isn't nearly what they should dish up. If we look at the white supremacy they're continually supporting with monetized channels, they've got a lot of work to do, and they can't keep throwing money at the problem, hoping it will vanish.

Marques Brownlee shares his thoughts at this moment. 

Facebook's teams are walking out and are publicly rebelling against and because of Mark Zuckerberg's decision to keep racially discriminatory posts up, and as we know, it's the people who make a company. He pledged $10 million for fighting racial injustice. He's posted about these events, and you can read about them here and here.

What can photographers and video makers do to show they stand against racism, bigotry, and fear-mongering? Can it be a certain project or something you try to showcase in all your work? In my opinion, it's in the creative industries where culture is firstly affected. And culture affects actions, and we need to do that right now. 

I am not an American citizen. I am from South Africa, a country with an unfortunate history of apartheid and racism. America has always been the place in view as the ideal, the country you aspire to be like. Now, every country has its faults, and these events showed me that South Africa is not the only country to succumb to the wrath of racism and the deep systemic and global problem it is.

Casey Neistat motivates change.

It should come as a shock, a wake-up call, and a cal to act and be different. So how can we do this? I am no expert, but respect, empowerment, and trade are the basis of any social growth. 

No one wants your aid. They want your trade. Support other businesses that you know are making a difference. Be conscious of who the group is selling you the products and services. When you spend your money with them, you empower them, and they can grow their businesses. 

2020 has been a year of craziness, and now, it should be us standing up to or for something. When you wake up in the morning, what will you be fighting for? Is it a sense of humanity, your culture, freedom, or peace that you want your children to experience when they go out into the world one day?

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Stuart Carver's picture

One thing about this that I don’t agree with is people calling out brands and companies for not making a social media post about it, like some post on Instagram defines whether your company is racist or not.

Somebody commented on Fujifilm US insta post that they are glad they posted because they had come to the conclusion they are ‘racist’ for not doing it earlier. That’s not the right way of dealing with this issue.

N A's picture

There's some strange dynamics involved in all this. I follow a bunch of IG pet accounts which are as benign as it gets. Just dogs and cats doing every day dog and cat stuff.

One of the larger accounts I followed, "A", was apparently called out by another large account, "B", for not posting a black square in response to the protests occurring in the US.

Account A posted a response shot of their pet and a lengthy comment stating that their pet account was apolitical and they shouldn't be bullied into posting a particular message. Nice pictures of their pet, that's it. Fair enough. The comments seemed largely in agreement. I don't follow those particular accounts for their personal social/political views so it's all good. There is an abundance of other accounts for that.

The following day account A posted a black square and apology.

Day after that account A was deleted.

Looks like account A got it hard from both sides. No winning for them. I don't know what to make of it. I don't want casual accounts to be politicized. They're an escape from the serious issues that are going on.

I guess the further your reach, even in the case of silly cat shots, the more akin to a brand it is and the more you're going to be compelled to 'use your platform' to broadcast a particular message.

As for businesses proclaiming support for any social cause... I'm cynical. It's just marketing in my opinion. I doubt there is any sincerity beyond the commitment to maximize quarterly profits. I could be wrong but it all looks so contrived, especially considering the social and enviromental damage some of these companies cause in other parts of the world.

Stuart Carver's picture

Just to add to your comment, the minute these non-political/activist accounts join in with whatever cause they are making a point about, they attract exactly the type of people (trolls) that their pages were a safe haven from and there is no going back from that, like in your example the account gets deleted.

People just assume that every single outlet on the planet needs to be getting involved with this movement otherwise they are 'racist'... when in fact some channels just dont want any involvement with it at all as far as their social media space goes.

Alan Fletcher's picture

I visit this site for interesting articles related to photography. This is neither. WTF?
It seem that I need to start looking for a better place to read interesting articles about photography.

Wouter du Toit's picture

Alan, Fstoppers covers video too, not just photography. Professional YouTubers create videos, Moment makes gear for photography and videography and Marques Brownlee is one of the top gear reviewers online. So it's relevant.

Alan Fletcher's picture

My bad! I'll include video on my statement as well.
I visit this site for interesting articles related to photography and video. This is neither. WTF?
It seem that I need to start looking for a better place to read interesting articles about photography and video and don't care to listen to people's opinion outside their area of "expertise".
I maintain that this is neither an article about video nor an article about photography. It's rather an article about political opinion and it has no place in a photography and video that claims to be "... an online community aimed at educating and inspiring photographers, videographers, and creative professionals."

David Garcia's picture

I thought this was a PHOTOGRAPHY website... injecting such politically charged topics is a real turn off. And this is meant for Fstoppers staff

anthony marsh's picture

If the companies were truly standing up to fight racism that would be laudable. The truth is that most,if not all of these companies do not have a clue about the ideology and goals of BLM. Some of it's founding officials have declared. "We are trained MARXISTS". BLM is in reality a MARXIST/LENINIST group whose goal is to create a SOCIALIST U.S.