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Friday feedback: Readers’ views on the corporate response to the George Floyd protests



Good morning.

It’s time for Friday feedback. Lots of response to my reports this week on CEO comments about the George Floyd killing and the reactions it has unleashed. A sampling:

“Lots of really eloquent and heartfelt statements which, without action, amount to the ‘thoughts and prayers’ we hear from our elected officials after gun violence. Nice but not particularly helpful. I’d be much more interested in hearing (and having Fortune give accounts of) the actions that these executives and their organizations are taking to help make our country a safer place for black people.”

“I just wanted to thank you for your piece this morning… Your leadership voice and platform is important on this issue with a mostly white and privileged audience. On my five boards, we are definitely talking about racial and social justice, which would have been unheard of at other times. And lest you think I’m throwing an empty compliment your way…I don’t always agree with your opinions, LOL, but I always applaud the strength of your convictions!”

“You are correct that much has changed since 1991; however, I don’t believe you can intimate that CEOs did not care about Rodney King. In 1991, CEOs did not have a forum to communicate with their customers and investors. Today every CEO can (and should) use Twitter, Facebook, Medium, etc. to communicate. The technology has changed.”

To be clear, I didn’t mean to suggest CEOs didn’t care about such things in the past. Just that they didn’t see it as their role to make public comments on them.

A few readers dinged me for focusing more on the protests than the violence associated with some of them.

“You guys have nerve calling today’s riots, looting, burning, and killing acts of protest. They’re acts of terror and nothing short of it.”

And several took issue with my using the Lenin quote about there being “weeks when decades happen.” K.S. suggested I use this quote from Ayn Rand instead:

“Capitalism was the only system in history where wealth was not acquired by looting, but by production, not by force, but by trade, the only system that stood for man’s right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself.”

Thanks to all for the spirited input. And apologies to newsletter readers for a typo; it was Cadre’s Ryan Williams who grew up in Baton Rouge, not George Floyd.

More news below.

Alan Murray

Many companies are speaking out against racial injustices right now. But how do they fare in their own workplaces? Black employees in the corporate world, we want to hear from you: Please submit your anonymous thoughts and anecdotes here.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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