If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.– Archbishop Desmond Tutu
By George Rafeedie
I had never seen this quote before. But it’s absolutely true. Neutrality sends a powerful message, whether you like it or not.
It almost seems trivial to write about something as important as this from a marketing perspective. But as a marketer, consultant and entrepreneur, I have an obligation.
Truthfully, I’ve struggled articulating this for some reason. While I’m not neutral at all – and rarely am on issues of social justice and oppression – this has been hard for me to communicate when I have had the chance in conversations with clients, business partners and friends.
But after a weekend of taking a deep breath and catching up with friends, many of them successful entrepreneurs and influencers, it comes down to this:
For organizations who care, saying nothing (and doing nothing) is not an option.
It used to be that businesses and organizations could sit back and believe it was not their role to say something, but those days are gone. There is too much going on in this world to sit back. The stakes are too high and people are watching. We are hitting critical mass with people on the same page who understand that things have to change.
As for me and the organizations I run – we firmly believe in BLACK LIVES MATTER. We support BLACK LIVES MATTER. And we will advocate for BLACK LIVES MATTER. What that means exactly will take shape in the coming weeks and months over actions big and small. I hope to believe our small actions over the years – both personally and professionally – have communicated our stance, but that’s not enough anymore. We need to be bolder and communicate our position clearly and concisely. And we need to do that on a consistent basis, especially in times like these.
And that’s the advice we have for our clients, friends and fellow entrepreneurs. Some of you have already taken a leadership position and have influenced us. Others are still on the journey on deciding how to move forward. Wherever you are, it’s not too late to communicate what is in your heart as an organization. It’s no time to be neutral.
George Rafeedie, Founder, CoWorkers Wilmette