Political activists in Florida have condemned the massive hypocrisy of large corporations that use Black History Month to denounce racism while donating hundreds of thousands dollars to the state’s rightwing governor, Ron DeSantis.
Amazon, AT&T, Comcast, Disney and Walmart are among the companies that publicly proclaim their commitment to anti-racist values and promote Black History Month.
Big corporations began making strong public stances about Black History Month especially after the 2020 police murder of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis. Corporations have increasingly taken a stand on social and racial justice issues in recent years and often see Black History Month as an ideal opportunity to promote themselves.
But research by the Center for Political Accountability, a non-profit organisation that tracks corporate political spending, shows that these same businesses donated directly and indirectly to the 2022 re-election campaign of DeSantis.
DeSantis is a far-right politician who has imposed extreme limits on how race and racism can be taught in Florida schools.
Most recently, DeSantis said he would ban a new AP class dedicated to teaching Black history.
Activists have condemned the corporations, saying that while they claim to stand with the Black community they fund a governor and his work around dismantling Black history.
Amazon, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Comcast, DoorDash, General Motors and Walmart have all made public statements in celebration of Black History Month. Even Google posted on the first day of the month, “Learn how Google is recognizing and celebrating Black voices, joy and success this Black History Month.”
But what the companies say is not what their actions line up with.
The Center for Political Accountability found that each of these companies donated significant sums of money to political groups that prominently supported DeSantis.
Disney, for example, contributed $50,000 to his re-election campaign and $125,000 to the Republican party of Florida, which supported his campaign and inauguration.
DeSantis has sought to position himself on the frontlines of American “culture wars”, as he considers a 2024 bid for the White House and tries to outflank former president Donald Trump, the only official well-known candidate so far.
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