By Manny Otiko, IVN Staff Wrtier
Nationwide — The nationwide protests sparked by Black Lives Matter (BLM) have drawn support from many white people. Many of them are marching alongside Black anti-police violence protesters in the streets.
Other sympathetic white people are trying to educate themselves about issues in the Black community. Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility,” a book about white people’s resistance to tackling racism, was no. 1 on Amazon. Also, Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” has become popular as more people try to educate themselves about structural racism.
But some people are also putting their money where their mouths are and providing financial support.
Actress and singer Barbara Streisand has bought Disney stock for Gianna Floyd, daughter of George Floyd, who was killed by Minnesota police. Gianna Floyd has also received college scholarships from Alpha Kappa Alpha, Texas Southern University and Kanye West who raised $2 million for her college education.
Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, a social networking company, has stepped down from his position on the company’s board of directors. And he’s urged the company to replace him with an African American. He is married to tennis player Serena Williams and has a biracial daughter. “I realized I needed to look at myself, look in the mirror and see what I could do to help contribute some real positive change, so that I could look my daughter in the eye when she’s a little bit older and she asks me what I did to help make this country and this world a little bit better for her and for a whole lot of people who look like her,” said Ohanian in a CBS interview.
Amazon has donated $10 million to equity and justice organizations and also posted a supportive message on its website. CEO Jeff Bezos even shared an angry letter from a customer who disagreed with BLM’s message. Bezos said he was happy to lose that customer.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, has donated $3 million to a Colin Kaepernick criminal justice reform group. He has also declared Juneteenth, a holiday that marks the official end of slavery, a day off for his workers.
Selena Gomez, a singer and actress, shared her huge social media presence (180 million Instagram followers) with Ruby Bridges, the first child to integrate the school system after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling.
However, Jamillah Bowman Williams, a Georgetown Law professor, warned that while financial donations are good, some corporations need to take concrete steps to diversify their upper ranks.
“Giving money away is definitely much easier than addressing these issues internally,” said Williams in a New York Times article. “It’s corporate P.R., because it transfers the responsibility of solving the problem to outside organizations.”
However, increased activism about African-American issues has also spilled over to other areas. The media is currently having a reckoning about the lack of diversity at the top-levels of the industry.
Barbara Fedida, a high-level executive at ABC News, is currently on suspension after it was revealed that she had a history of making racially-incentive comments about African-American employees. When ABC star Robin Roberts tried to renegotiate her contract, Fedida was alleged to have said, it was not like the company was “asking her to pick cotton.”
She is also alleged to have remarked of Kendis Gibson, a black anchor who previously worked at ABC, the network “spends more on toilet paper than we ever would on him.”
The findings were revealed in a Huffington Post investigative piece, which interviewed 34 employees. Many of them requested to remain anonymous.
“To say that she’s an abusive figure Is an understatement,” said one anonymous employee.
The National Association of Black Journalists has called for an external law firm to carry out an independent investigation of the situation.