Christianophobia is Big Business
by George Yancey
When does Big Business call for a boycott? Let’s look at some possible examples and see.
When Arizona was working to pass strict anti-illegal immigration laws, activists called for boycotts of the state. Major League Baseball (MLB) listened, but no other major companies showed much interest. The law was signed in 2010 (parts of it were blocked by the Supreme Court). MLB teams happily continue to train in Arizona.
Black Lives Matters (BLM) has consistently complained about the mistreatment of blacks at the hands of the police. BLM activists have, at times, stymied cities and college campuses with protests. Yet their activism is largely unaided by the large companies and businesses in our society. I have heard no calls from any of those companies and business to boycott Ferguson or Baltimore until they meet the demands of BLM.
Those examples are race-related, but that’s not the only category of social ill that might conceivably trigger a boycott. What percentage of businesses do we expect to boycott Michigan over the Flint water situation? Probably the same percentage that boycotted Louisiana over the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina.
Nor will we see Big Business stepping forward to combat international atrocities. Corporations are falling all over themselves to open markets in China and the Middle East. The fact that political, religious, ethnic or sexual minorities are routinely abused in those parts of the world does not deter them in the least. Indeed, one could argue that countries with such poor human rights records are buttressed by the relationships they have with American businesses.
So what motivates America’s large corporations to get on the social justice horse? With the recent vetoing of the Georgia religious freedom law we might be tempted to say that it is their desire to protect sexual minorities. If that were the case, though, we would expect to see those corporations boycotting countries that routinely kill those minorities — which might be slightly worse than being forced to choose a different church to be married in, or a different baker to serve one’s wedding. So I suggest that it is not an empowering love for sexual minorities that has been driving the actions of Marvel, NFL, Salesforce, Disney and others.
So what drives these boycott threats, if not their concern for sexual minorities? My work on Christianophobia suggests another answer to this question…
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