“I have often looked at that behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now I … know that it is a rising … sun.”
That was Benjamin Franklin’s remark about an inlaid sun in an armchair that then Gen. George Washington used for nearly three months during the deliberations and signing of the Constitution.
Today, we look at social media websites and the 24-hour news cycle and wonder if that sun is still rising.
On Tuesday May 29, the significance of Roseanne Barr’s firing for a racist tweet and Starbucks closing that afternoon for racial sensitivity training struck us as more than just a mere coincidence.
Could it be these two events are a measure of how far we have come on calling out racism, or was it symbol of how low we have sunk in Trump’s America?
ABC’s statement said it all: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
That announcement came within about an hour of Starbucks shutting its doors to allow time for its 175,000 employees to sit through several hours of anti-bias training.
We assume most have read Roseanne’s hateful tweet, by now, and know the circumstances that resulted in Starbucks’ costly closing.
Clearly, companies — large and small — are in business to make a profit, not to necessarily change the world.
In the past, many, if not most, corporations would have hunkered down and hoped the incidents that preceded ABC’s and Starbucks’ actions this week faded fast.
However, sometimes things happen that put businesses front and center, despite their druthers about their brand or loss of customers.
To ABC’s and Starbucks’ credit, they took forceful actions against bigotry at a time when racism and sexism are constantly stirring and dividing our country.
Look no further than Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Charlottesville, the national anthem protests and so on.
Though some are inclined to directly link the Trump administration to Roseanne’s ugly tweets and other twisted hate mongering, we don’t.
Matter of fact, it’s just a slice of life in America. Closet bigots and those who hide under pointed hoods have existed for a long time.
However, the Trump era appears to have given racists an opening to pursue legitimacy and helped normalize hate.
Like cancer, hate and racism may always poison our society and stifle America from fulfilling its promise that all of us are created equal.
Yet, when corporations sacrifice millions on the altar of profits to fight hate, something might be happening here.
Wouldn’t it be the ultimate twist of fate that despite the growing shadows these days, the sun rises on the idea that all of us are equal?