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I wrote the following piece as an article to be posted on LinkedIn. The article can theoretically be seen by anyone with a LinkedIn account and yet since I posted it on June 1, it has only received six views and no comments. I don’t know if LinkedIn, like Twitter, engages in shadowbanning but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it did, since the site, as a general rule, features a large dosage of corporate virtue signaling.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd incident, typical LinkedIn corporate virtue signaling about women in leadership roles, LGBTQ promotion and inclusivity, and workforce diversity based in large part on the pigment of one’s skin has taken a back seat. Posts or articles about the looting and destruction of small businesses don’t seem to register any pulse on a social media website devoted to business, business networking, employment, and entrepreneurialism. I’m not sure how to account for that, suffice to say that LinkedIn appears to be quite woke.
What Is Your Obligation as a Business Owner to Speak Out Against Looting, Arson, and Violence?
Brian Watt/President, Launch Directors, LLC
If you are reading this, then odds are you are a member of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a social media site explicitly created to promote businesses, for people who want to further their careers, and for providing opportunities to people to develop their skills and talents by networking and sharing information.
We can all agree that what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis was horrific and criminal. The police officer responsible is now in a maximum-security prison awaiting justice.
Peaceful protests about what happened to Mr. Floyd have unfortunately been eclipsed and overtaken by mobs who are bent on violence and destruction or are seeking the opportunity to steal goods from retail stores. Some of the rioters and looters believe this is justifiable payback for what happened to Mr. Floyd and are hurting innocent people in the process.
Sadly some business owners have been silent in the face of such criminal activity and violence. Other business owners have expressed that this kind of unrest is to be expected. Such a sentiment unfortunately has the potential of giving tacit license to frequent and subsequent episodes of payback through violence, arson, and looting.
If you are a business owner then it is incumbent upon you to condemn the looting of stores, the rampant destruction of businesses, and the violence directed at innocent people throughout America in the clearest and the strongest possible terms. Many of these businesses are owned by black men and women who have spent decades building them only to see them looted or burned to the ground. Many of these businesses were already struggling, had laid off employees, and were losing revenue because of the COVID-19 restrictions before rioting broke out. Some of these businesses and those who own them may never return to the cities and communities that had hoped to serve.
If you own a business, put yourself in the shoes of those business owners, particularly small business owners, in cities and communities who have lost everything and may not have the means to rebuild or are inclined to rebuild again because they fear it may all happen again. Think of the future that they have just lost. At the same time, don’t think for a minute that it couldn’t happen to you or your business because there are radical elements currently active now that don’t care what kind of business you have or where it may be located. For them, anyone currently engaged in supporting the current American economy is a target.
If you don’t speak up. If you don’t demand of your political leaders to restore order and the rule of law, then the violence, the burning, the looting will only continue and the rioters will become more emboldened with each act. There aren’t enough police officers in each city to stop this. The military, beyond National Guard troops, may need to be brought in. This is a time to ask yourself why you became an entrepreneur or someone dedicated to creating and providing products and services to people in the first place and whether you want to preserve the communities you serve.
Or you could say nothing and watch everything burn. It’s your choice.