Jun 04 , 2020
Wednesday we received a remark on an Instagram post that was valid: "Blackout Tuesday?" Our post (previously scheduled) had nothing to do with Blackout Tuesday, a music industry initiative organized to identify with protestors flooding the streets of this country for days now, spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
"The death of..." Every time I read that phrase, I choke back the urge to call out the writer or speaker for political correctness. Yet I find myself using those same words here in this post. "Innocent until proved guilty?" Or plain old political correctness, making sure not to cross a boundary that, despite these words belonging to me, might get my business, my company, into trouble? (There has been plenty of calling out of businesses and professionals this week for their responses to the urgency of our current sociopolitical situation in this nation.)
So, we step meekly around and up to issues, tap them on the shoulder, and maybe whisper about them a little bit, so we don't, in the words of my first graduate school professor, "commit professional suicide." I have friends who work for state government and therefore are not allowed to make political statements in their private life that would identify them with a political party or a sociopolitical cause. I feel for them, and at the same time find myself, because I do not work only for myself, but have employees and a company owner to look out for, walking just as gingerly here and on our social media sites.
Don't get me wrong: Although I have largely diverted my personal social media space to pretty pictures I take in order to help calm the anxiety and anger of friends and family, you can visit any of my personal social media pages and know exactly where I stand.
But back to the comment on our Instagram post: It's true we did not post a black screen and #blackouttuesday. Should we have? I respect and admire the action by our friends and business partners who did. And I did so myself. Would it have made a difference in making a statement if our company had done so? What are the considerations I missed in opting not to take that action with our company social media accounts? I'd love to hear from you. Really. I am thankful that the respondent to our (previously scheduled) post about finding our desserts in Whole Foods stores spoke up, and I'm happy to share the reasoning behind my decision for our company not to participate, with anyone interested.
We are in extraordinary times. It's increasingly difficult to turn attention away from the events that unfold on a daily basis in this country and the way people in other countries react. I have friends in other parts of the world who have begun to check in regularly with me in an attempt to understand what is really happening here in the USA (UNITED States of America- say that. How does that feel? Untrue? Truer than ever before? Right? Wrong? OK?) and to make sure I feel safe. I have friends and family members in the northeast who are pacifists, yet are buying guns and learning to shoot them so that they can defend themselves. I found myself thinking I should do that just a couple nights ago, and to echo another friend here in my town, I was appalled at my thoughts. As he said, "I feel like a failure of a pacifist" for wanting to do exactly the same thing.
Am I afraid of the protestors? Only those carrying automatic weapons, confederate flags, and the political- or perceived political- authority to put us all under their control or six feet under the ground.
Now you know where I stand, personally. Is my company in jeopardy because it is headed by a woman who values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by ALL? You tell me. I'm listening.
(Lisa Cox, CEO/ SVP Sales & Marketing, holds a BA in History and a Masters degree in Public Administration and has taught both History and Politics at the college level. She has developed her political stride with much experience and deliberation, and takes some pride in being able to assert, as her graduate committee chair would, that you may understand her stance on issues, but you will be hard pressed to pin her correctly to a particular political affiliation. She speaks only for herself on this issue, as she works with a varied team of employees who are all thoughtful people and professionals who can be trusted to develop and express their own perspectives.)