“Woke is a political term of African American origin that refers to a perceived awareness of issues concerning justice and racial justice. It is derived from the African American Vernacular English expression “stay woke”, whose grammatical aspect refers to a continuing awareness of these issues.”[1]

Woke Capitalism focuses on corporations that capitalize on the stir and social popularity of social-driven movements to achieve “unknown ends”. Some would say, “Pretty self-explanatory as it is, woke capitalism refers to the capitalist, profit-driven approach followed by corporations— capitalizing on the stir and popularity of social movements to achieve their ends.

In 2015 Ross Douthat coined the term “woke capitalism” when writing a piece for the New York Times. He defined it as how companies signal their support for progressive causes to maintain their influence in society. He really tapped into something. Since then, this mindset has only grown, as the largest corporations are now weighing in on almost every major public policy issue. The problem: they increasingly land on the “leftist” side of the issue. So what is the impact? Is this a coordinated effort? What is the antidote to this “corporate wokeness” infiltrating our largest American companies? On this episode, Andy Olivastro joins us to weigh in with a unique perspective. He led communications and reputation strategy for some of the largest corporations and best-known brands and witnessed first-hand this gradual shift toward “corporate wokeness.”[2]

This trend toward corporatism or corporate wokeness is becoming more and more popular throughout corporate America. Corporations are willingly becoming activated political arms for left-wing causes. Why? What happened to these historic brands remaining neutral, letting the quality of their products speak for itself on the open market, and letting politicians worry about politics? What about shareholders and the employees of these corporations? Do they have a say in such divisive policy stances? Who’s behind this increased wokeness in the boardroom?

Whenever you hear management or corporate type talk about “diversity” and “inclusion,” you may be certain that you are about to hear a rationale for creating a more ideologically uniform and ideologically exclusive community. The familiar left vs. right categories no longer serves as reliable guides to our cultural reality. The cultural left has captured the bureaucracies at American corporations. One thing we hear a lot from our friends on the left is that Big Business is conservative and would never do anything that would hurt its bottom line. Wrong! I have seen personally how companies will do politically correct things that hurt their business model, but that win its management pats on the back among their social cohort.[3]  Woke Capitalism also refers to ESG investing that stands for “environmental, social and governance”. ESG concepts are tied to climate change, green technology, social justice causes, and exploitation of minorities and are exploited by government oversight (????) or government promotion of causes.

Here is a partial list of companies that went WOKE:

  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Bank of America
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Netflix (though they have retracted somewhat)
  • Google
  • Disney
  • The NBA
  • Apple
  • The NFL
  • Levi Strauss
  • Nike
  • Neiman Marcus Group – *No surprise here. When your entire marketing strategy consists of targeting wealthy elites, we know that kowtowing and virtue-signaling to their hoity-toity, highbrow customers is inevitable. This mindset by NMG may also explain the current financial problems they’re experiencing, having filed for bankruptcy in 2020, though they continue to be operational. {Note that the company is privately held}. Neiman Marcus is all-in on wokeness, and they brag about having their first LGBTQ+ CEO in Geoffroy van Raemdonck; though exactly which letter of the woke’ s alphabet soup applies to the executive is unclear. NMG donates substantial funds to no less than three LGBTQ groups and flies the Pride Flag throughout the month of June at all locations. Despite their enthusiastic support for Black Lives Matter, Antifa/BLM rioters trashed their Dallas department store in 2020, followed by NMG doubling down on their support of BLM by painting “healing” messages on their boarded-up windows. We’re sure the next time those thugs are breaking into their stores for some more looting, they’ll take it easy on them due to their wokeness. There are quite literally too many alternatives to mention when it comes to Neiman Marcus. In fact, we would argue that anyone who regularly shops at their overpriced stores should have their head examined. But, as always, if you’re looking to find other options for merchandise or services offered by NMG, investigate some local businesses first. Support your local retailers.

Those are not all the woke companies to challenge and avoid. There are many, many more. A good practice before buying anything is to research the company you are buying a product from and find out if it is a woke, anti-American company or a company that you are comfortable doing business with. The idea is to “avoid” these companies: Cancel Culture for the Cancel Culture, one might say. As noted previously, some of the companies that make up our list are extremely difficult to eliminate from our lives, but they can still be avoided on occasion. And such avoidance mustn’t be limited merely to doing business directly with these organizations, there are other ways for our voices to be heard. For instance, refuse to invest in these companies, whether through direct stock purchases or perhaps via mutual/index funds in your portfolios. America is still a center-right country, and we’re continuing to shift ever so slightly to the right. The wokesters who attempt to force LGBTQ celebrations, BLM anti-Americanism, runaway government spending, and climate politics idiocy down our throats are in the minority. And if we conservatives stand up for our values and say “no,” thereby hitting them where it hurts – in their back accounts – we will make a difference.

Published by the  Stand Up America US Foundation

Contact: suaus1961@gmail.com


[2] Heritage Foundation April 2021

[3] The American Conservative, April 2019

This column was originally published at Stand Up America US Foundation