Strangely, both empathy for blacks and racism against African Americans are political strategies in the United States.
To explain, American politicians have long used race to protect and attack the political and economic order in the United States. For instance, Southern politicians promoted bigotry against blacks to get poor and middle-class whites to support both slavery and Jim Crow.
The goal of the Southern politicians was to protect the wealthy elites that paid them from working-class revolt. In particular, wealthy Southerners wanted low taxes and a government too weak to regulate or oversee their businesses. Ultimately, the Southern elites wanted the right to exploit poor people; both black and white, as cheap labor.
Politicians in other parts of the country adopted the Southern tactic of using racism to pit working and middle-class whites against people of color. For example, political bosses in Northern cities used racism to turn immigrant groups against blacks. Moreover, West Coast politicians used racism to turn whites against Asian immigrants.
Since the 1960s, conservative Republicans and some libertarians have used racism to get working and middle-class whites to support their unpopular agenda. In particular, Republicans captured the South in the 1980s by playing the race card.
Empathy for Blacks and Communism
Bizarrely, the Communist Party invented, or stumbled upon, the tactic of weaponizing empathy for blacks.
In the 1930s, the Communist Party USA had a problem. The high ideals in the party platform contrasted with the ugly reality of Joseph Stalin’s ruthless tyranny. To attract American supporters, the Communists needed something to distract people from their shameful subservience to a bloodthirsty foreign dictator.
The Communists found the distraction they needed in Jim Crow and lynching. For example, the Communists came to the defense of the Scottsboro Boys; four African Americans authorities framed for rape in 1930s Alabama.
By crusading against racism, segregation, and lynching, the Communists could portray themselves as champions of human rights. In reality, the Communists did not care about human rights; or African Americans, they needed a political issue that made America and capitalism look bad.
Sadly, the Communists’ cynical tactic worked. Many educated people viewed the Stalinist stooges in the Communist Party as idealistic heroes because of their opposition to lynching.
However, the same Communists openly glorified Stalin; a monster historians accuse of starving 3.9 million death during the Ukrainian famine, as a hero. Predictably, the Communists said nothing about the Holodomor (Ukrainian famine) even as some newspapers published stories about the atrocity.
Corporate Empathy for Blacks
Bizarrely, corporate America has adopted the Communist Party’s old tactic of using empathy for blacks to distract people from its crimes and moral failings.
For example, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) posted the words “Black Lives Matter” on its website. When some customers criticized the cynical ploy Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos; the world’s richest man, came out and defended the statement, The Seattle Times reports. Hypocritically, Amazon is distributing $10 million to “social justice organizations.”
Supporting Black Lives Matter costs Amazon little money. However, the support helps Amazon deflect criticism that could cost it money. For example, complaints about meagre wages, union busting, and terrible working conditions at Amazon fulfillment centers. In addition, Amazon kills many jobs by driving the Retail Apocalypse.
By supporting Black Lives Matter, Bezos avoids conversations about unions, working conditions, the $15 minimum wage, technological unemployment, and his company’s annihilation of other retailers. Instead, Amazon can call itself a progressive company even though many of its policies are far from progressive.
Hypocritical Corporate and Republican Empathy for African Americans
Moreover, corporations including Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Zillow (NASDAQ: ZG), Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN), Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) began tweeting their opposition to police brutality after George Floyd’s horrific death. Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer sparked a wave of protests and riots in May and June 2020.
Incredibly, U.S. Senator; and failed presidential candidate, Mitt Romney (R-Utah) joined a Washington protest on 7 June 2020, Vogue reports Ironically, Romney Mr. Republican, Tweeted his support for Black Lives Matter.
Thus Romney, a former private equity capitalist, uses the Communist strategy of empathy for blacks to demonstrate his compassion for ordinary people. Tellingly, progressive critics accuse Romney of being a job killer in 2012 for his work at private equity firm Bain Capital.
Turning Americans Against Each Other
Thus, the corporations are cynically using Floyd’s death as the Communist Party manipulated the Scottsboro Boys injustice. I think the corporate leaders’ hope is to diffuse and deflect anger about income inequality, poverty, union-busting, and corruption by advertising their love of social justice.
Additionally, some corporate leaders could hope to turn black and white Americans against each other and divide the working and middle-classes politically. To explain, I think corporate leaders hope to redirect white anger against blacks and black anger against the police and whites.
Is it a Race War or a Class War?
One goal of this strategy to prevent a class war in America. To elaborate, I think the George Floyd riots and protests appear to be a working-class rebellion. For instance, mobs pillaged such symbols of affluence as the Nordstrom store in Downtown Seattle during the Floyd protests.
Hence empathy for blacks is now a weapon in America’s political wars. Giant corporations and their shills are using a cynical Communist tactic to protect themselves from populist anger.
On the positive side, the Communists’ cynical abuse of empathy for blacks backfired. To elaborate, most Americans saw through the lies and grasped the hideous truth that the Communists’ actual goal was to make the United States a Soviet puppet state.
By the late 1940s, American Communists had become political pariahs with no friends outside the Kremlin. In particular, the Communists found little support in the black community because most African Americans distrusted the party’s white leaders. Conversely, the Civil Rights movement succeeded because its black leaders had real moral authority and credibility in the African American community.
The Corporate Weaponization of Empathy will Fail
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” – Attributed to President Abraham Lincoln (R-Illinois).
Given the history, I think the corporate weaponization of empathy for blacks and social justice will fail. Ultimately, I believe most Americans will see through the corporate hypocrisy.
However, many intellectuals, journalists, and politicians will fall for the corporate ploy. To explain, many thought leaders will not question the corporations’ real motives or goals as long as paychecks and donations accompany the social justice message.
Ordinary people; on the other hand, will see through the corporate social justice con. Consequently, the real winners from the corporate social justice crusade will be populist politicians that adopt an anti-corporate message. Only future history will show if those populist leaders are Republicans or Democrats.
One result of the corporate social justice scam will be to increase popular skepticism and hatred of intellectuals and the media. Ordinary Americans already distrust journalists and intellectuals. Henceforth, many Americans will see journalists, pundits, and intellectuals as enemies because of the fake black empathy.
History shows we need to question the motives of any group’s empathy for blacks. Sadly, empathy for blacks is often another effort to use racism to turn the working and middle classes against each other for the benefit of the rich.