Amazon, Apple, Bank of America, Black Lives Matter, Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, Disney, Disney Plus, Disparate impact, Diversity, EEOC, ESG Scores, Fuzzy Logic Blog, Joe Biden, Price Discrimination, Race-Based Discounts, Stakeholder Capitalism, Whole Foods, Wokeness
It’s a BLM discount! You need only shout the magic words! Ah, but if “woke” corporations are sincere in their avowals to help end racial injustice, there is so much more they can do! In fact, let me describe an idea so good and rich that we really must partner with Black Lives Matter and Antifa to bring it on!
Yes, we know how much the social justice warriors of corporate America care about diversity, inclusion, and eliminating unconscious bias. Also, in their business practices, they are eager to avoid “disparate impacts” on “protected classes” of individuals. However, if they want to get serious, they need to put real money where their mouths are. The Fuzzy Logic blog (FLB) suggests that we dare corporations celebrating “wokeness” to offer free products and services to people of color (POC)!
There is a strong rationale under current law for a slightly less drastic version of this proposal. For example, in 2019, the median household income of African Americans was about 60% that of whites, but Disney charges blacks and whites the same admission price to their theme parks. That means it costs a black family proportionately more of their income than a white family to spend a day at the park in Orlando. That, my friends, is a disparate impact!
I’m not aware of any legal challenges along these lines, but it’s not as if “one price” is a business necessity, which would otherwise offer Disney a defense against such a claim. Disney already offers discounts to seniors and other groups. But why wait for the EEOC to take action when Disney can demonstrate its high-mindedness and good faith by offering race-based discounts right now?
It would be fun to see how the company reacts to pressure for that kind of action. Based on income disparities, the company could discount tickets by 40% to African Americans and by about 26% for Hispanics. Discounting should be extended to Disney Plus subscriptions as well. Those discounts can be revisited each year with appropriate adjustments until such time as income parity is achieved.
In reality, differential pricing is practiced broadly by American businesses. It’s called price discrimination, and it is generally legal. Higher prices tend to be charged to market segments with less elastic (price-sensitive) demand, and lower prices are offered to segments with more elastic demand. It is a rational and often profit-maximizing approach to pricing, but its practice tends to be more subtle than discriminating on price with respect to race or ethnicity. It’s safe to say that pressure to do so would be disruptive and unwelcome to these firms. So I still like the idea!
But again, FLB’s post goes much farther: given past injustices, why limit the reparations to a correction for the disparate impact of pricing? Something more radical is needed as this is a matter of conscience, not merely a legal hurdle to neutralize income disparities:
“These companies (and the many thousands more engaged in this woke crap) must put their own profits where their big, fat lying mouths are. There will be no government bailouts for them; they must pay for their part in condoning and pushing white supremacy for the past bazillion years, and they must pay with their own wealth, wealth they say they accumulated on the backs of black and brown people.”
Therefore, FLB insists that Disney should offer free admission and streaming on Disney Plus to certain racial and ethnic minorities for a period of several years…and free accommodations at Disney Hotels! What a tremendous show of good faith in wokeness that would be!
We’re picking on Disney, and it’s not alone in its professed racial consciousness and pursuit of equal outcomes. There are so many others! Coca-Cola could issue coupons redeemable at full price through a program of outreach in minority communities. Delta Airlines could institute a program of “Black Life Passports” to bona fide African Americans (meaning one must identify as such!) for discounted or free fares. Bank of America will probably want to exceed the minimum requirements under community banking law by offering free banking services and heavily discounted account management fees to African Americans. Amazon will no doubt want to offer free Prime memberships to certain minorities and perhaps throw in some freebies at Whole Foods as well. And Apple has plenty of merchandise to give away. Why wait for Joe Biden to offer free phones in the run-up to the 2024 election like his old boss did?
You probably won’t be happy about this proposal if you’re a corporate shareholder, but then you should not be happy to have witnessed increasing management preoccupation with social justice, and you should not have been happy as your “agents” lost sight of their fundamental missions as business organizations: to produce something well and thereby do well for customers and shareholders. The sad consequence of “stakeholder capitalism” is that everything a business is supposed to do gets done worse.
I recently discussed the assignment of “scores” to public companies for their focus and performance on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. These ESG scores are used by “woke” fund managers and advisors to select or rate stocks. I personally have no wish to invest in companies seeking to boost their ESGs, but you can read all about that at the link. For our purposes here, ESGs might serve well as a tool for identifying entities most in need of pressure to offer discounts and freebies to POC.
It would be great to see agitation against the woke-most corporations for race-based discounts and free products. Perhaps a broad discussion of the idea would prompt social justice warriors to get on board. It might provide some laughs, but the real hope is to shake the corporate wokesters from their virtue-signaling stupor. Most shareholders wouldn’t like race-based discounts, of course, and that’s part of the idea. A conceivable defensive maneuver for our “target” entities would be a lobbying effort for government action such as tax-financed reparations. That won’t necessarily be cheap for them or their shareholders, however. Get woke, go broke!