I’ve been instructed to not “Google” anything … but I’m sure glad I don’t have to pay any attention to this directive. In fact, especially happy since I ran across Google’s comments on racial equity: https://www.blog.google/inside-google/company-announcements/commitments-racial-equity/.
As many auctioneers have told me, “all lives matter” or “blue lives matter” or “white lives matter …” and if you’re in the auction business, you better hope all lives matter — including black lives.
Wait a minute … I said, “all lives matter?” What is this “black lives matter” issue? Black lives haven’t mattered nearly enough — and so the focus needs to be on black lives. For those who don’t believe me, or haven’t had any such personal experience, let me help you.
Blacks have been subject to systematic racism and thus discrimination for the entire history of this country — and it continues to this day. Blacks are denied employment, promotions, credit, proper health care, equal treatment in the legal system, voting rights … virtually every aspect of life here in the United States.
This isn’t a political issue any more than “blue lives matter” is a political issue. Saying black lives matter is a human rights issue focusing on a critical need to start treating blacks equally like every other race or color is treated in the United States. It’s not racist to think blacks need our help, and rather it just might be when you deny this problem exists.
Let’s start with merely a sample of significant cases of black discrimination in the United States since 1999:
- Coca-Cola Corporation (1999) paid $156 Million to settle black discrimination cases involving disparate pay and working conditions.
- Abercrombie & Fitch (2004) paid $50 Million to settle black and other minority claims of discrimination in recruitment, hiring, assignment, promotion, and discharge.
- Walgreens (2008) paid $24 Million to settle black discrimination cases involving hiring, assignment, and promotion.
- Countrywide Financial Corporation (2011) paid $335 Million to settle claims of widespread black (and Hispanic) discrimination in lending practices from 2004-2008.
- Merrill Lynch (2013) paid $160 Million to settle claims of black discrimination in hiring, training, and compensation.
- Wet Seal (2013) paid $7.5 Million to settle claims of black discrimination in hiring, promotion, and dismissal.
- Patterson-UTI (2015) paid $14.5 Million to settle claims of black discrimination in compensation, training, and discipline.
- Hillshire Brands (2015) paid $4 Million to settle claims of black discrimination including a hostile work environment including racist slurs and graffiti.
- Wells Fargo (2017) paid $35.5 Million to settle claims of black discrimination in hiring, promotion, and compensation.
- Ford Motor Company (2017) paid $10+ Million to settle claims of race (and sexual) discrimination including harassment and retaliation.
- Bass Pro Outdoor World (2017) paid $10.5 Million to settle claims of black discrimination in hiring, retaliation, and promotion.
- JPMorgan Chase (2018) paid $24 Million to settle claims of black discrimination regarding placement and compensation.
- Bank of America (2019) paid $4.2 Million to settle claims of black discrimination in hiring and compensation.
- Goldman Sachs (2019) paid $9 Million to settle claims of black discrimination involving racial injustice and economic disparity.
Other such black discrimination occurs in voting where voter suppression allows for closing of voting locations in minority locations, purging voting roles, more stringent ID requirements, and even poll taxes.
Health care for blacks pails in comparison to whites. Blacks receive less care (or no care at all,) more costly care, lack of local care, disparate treatment, and in some states must qualify with a minimum income for subsidized care.
Police treat blacks differently than whites. Often, there is a presumption of guilt rather than a presumption of innocence. Blacks comprise only 13% of the population but are subject to 24% of police killings and are 3 times more likely killed by police (often coupled with excessive force) than white people.
Blacks also are discriminated against in the legal system. Blacks receive longer sentences for the same crimes as contrasted with whites. Blacks receive lower quality representation and are often here again viewed as “presumed guilty” versus “presumed innocent.”
Auctioneers are free to work with (and not work with) any companies they desire. But to refuse to support a company that proclaims that black lives matter? Really? Because they don’t matter? Is that the reason?
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.