When the country collectively witnessed the brutal May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd, white people were forever changed. Millions took to the streets, arm-in-arm with their fellow brethren, offering their support for justice and equality. Corporations changed their policies. Individuals joined the movement. To prove their commitment, companies pledged billions to the struggle for racial equity. This multiracial outpouring of sympathy and solidarity transformed the country.
And then, white people went home and kept being white.
This harsh realization is not an opinion. It is a factual statement based on the research and analyses of multiple organizations. And before we get to the “not all white people,” part of the conversation, let’s be clear, the reports are based on studies that showed that the vast majority of white people didn’t just not do anything. According to stuff like math and science, the levels of white support are lower than they were before demonstrations swept the country last summer.
For instance, remember all those corporations who pledged to donate money to social justice organizations? Well, it turns out that the companies employed a very complex loophole called “lying like a motherfucker” to get out of actually doing what they said they would. According to a review of pledges compiled by Creative Investments Research, businesses have donated less than one percent of the money promised.
“American corporations have pledged to spend $50bn on racial equity since Floyd’s murder,” reports the Financial Times, “The funds were to be spread between donations to civil rights organisations, targeted investments in communities of colour and overhauls of their internal recruiting and training programmes. Yet only about $250m has actually been spent or committed to a specific initiative, according to an analysis by the research consulting firm.”
In a review of transcripts of investors’ meetings and earnings calls, Sentieo noted a tenfold increase in mentions of “systemic racism” and “Black Lives Matter” before it returned to previous levels. And, while many of these companies promised increased diversity and inclusion, less than one-third of America’s largest companies bothered to even look at the disparities in how they paid employees of different races, Just Capital reports. In fact, many agreed to diversity training but refused to release data on employee demographics or pay equity.
It’s not like all the negroes in America pulled up to Wall Street and demanded money and equality. These corporations volunteered these lies.
But it isn’t just the nameless, faceless corporations who did this.
Recent polling numbers show that the support for Black Lives Matter has severely declined. Despite the litany of evidence, a May 21 PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll insinuates that most white people still don’t believe Black people are treated differently by law enforcement officers. But when analysts examine the data, it shows that ethnic minorities’ support for the movement and for other key indicators for racial justice are higher than they were before George Floyd’s death. However, white people’s support has declined to levels lower than they were a year ago.
After Mr. Floyd’s death, Republicans reported much stronger support for Black Lives Matter than they had earlier in 2020. For a party often characterized by its racial insensitivity and antagonism toward racial minorities, this increase in support was striking. But perhaps even more striking is its rapid decline.
We observe a similar trend when we separate the data by racial group. Like other racial groups, white Americans were more supportive of B.L.M. following Mr. Floyd’s murder. This sentiment, however, did not last long and, as with Republicans, support eventually plunged. This movement among Republicans and white Americans helps us understand why aggregate support for Black Lives Matter has waned since last summer.
In both cases, the deterioration in support is noteworthy because we do not merely observe a return to pre-Floyd opinion levels. Rather, since last summer, Republicans and white people have actually become less supportive of Black Lives Matter than they were before the death of George Floyd — a trend that seems unlikely to reverse anytime soon.
However, there is an easy explanation for how this happens.
Kim Kardashian’s cornrows. White women voting for Trump. Wedge Heels.
It was a fad. White people love Black people like they love TikTok dances and acid-washed jeans and liberty and justice for all. Have you never seen a white woman cry on cue or a Democrat campaigning in a Black barbershop? You really believed that shit? Even after the most white people in the history of America voted for a white nationalist authoritarian?
History teaches us that white America loves to be seen as good, well-meaning people who say they believe in shit. But there has never been a single moment in the history of this country where the majority of white Americans have supported any cause for justice and freedom of anyone else. They did not support the anti-lynching movement. The majority of white America opposed the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr. It has never happened. White people hopped on the bandwagon when systemic racism was trending and hopped back off when they realized they were gonna have to actually do things. You can just ask Google Trends.
Since the number is getting smaller every day, we must also acknowledge that these indisputable facts don’t apply to all white people...