GENMAC STATEMENT ON BLACK LIVES MATTER

We stand with the Black community in mourning the police-initiated murder of George Floyd—a man whose homicide highlighted a disturbing phenomenon of Black lives taken at the hands of law enforcement. We also acknowledge the senseless murder of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police who killed her in her bed while she was sleeping. These are only two of the hundreds of cases of murders by police of people of color (POC).

Black Lives Matter is not a catchy corporate phrase: it is a movement. Black Lives Matter is not a profitable public relations initiative: it is a call to action for real, systemic change.

When we consider systemic racism, we must acknowledge the role of the market system. While some argue that economic activity has no morality and need not have this basic human quality, what has become clear to us in our work is that among the forces at the very foundations of this violence is the deplorably skewed distribution of power and wealth that keeps white men at the pinnacle and people of color, particularly women, at the bottom. Shortcomings and inequities in the marketplace have helped pave the pathway for racist police brutality.

As an organization committed to the study of gender in the marketplace, we cannot overlook the intersectional ways in which gender collides with race in the marketplace and in consumption:

  • In demonizing Black bodies yet profiting from their activities and culture.
  • In idolizing beauty standards deeply rooted in colorism and respectability politics.
  • In funding advertising and news media clickbait that reinforces gendered, racial stereotypes and tokenizes racially and sexually ambiguous bodies.
  • In reproducing racial discrimination in retail settings—from the shopping experience itself to the products available on the shelves.

The marketplace and consumption have a long, complicit history of systemic racism as it intersects with gender.

We are committed to work to understand and intervene at the nexus of gender, markets and consumption in our research, teaching, and public policy, such that economies everywhere can be a positive force for equal opportunity and treatment in societies and can help bring about the parallel development promised by their government.

From universities to scholarly journals to academic organizations, the academic field is fraught with systemic barriers for students and faculty of color. Academia has often been dubbed the ‘Ivory tower’, named for its privileged seclusion from the real world. But look inside and you will find the bodies occupying space in the Ivory tower are largely ivory themselves.

ACTION STEPS:

  1. Continue to shed light on the intersectionality of Black Lives Matter to ensure that deaths, particularly of women of color and also transgendered people of color, are not marginalized or forgotten.
  2. Recognizing that women of color (WOC) are the least represented group in academia, we will:
    • Create a scholarship for POC students who identify as woman. This scholarship will be called the “Invisible No More” scholarship and will be funded through dues and donations.
    • Proactively seek out WOC for mentorship and co-authorship possibilities.
  3. Actively seek out opportunities for special issues in journals that help bring focus to the marketing, markets, and consumption factors that contribute to the oppression of POC.


NOTES:

*In the spirit of feminist standpoint epistemology, it is crucial to point out that this statement was written by four GENMAC members who identify as White, Latinx, and Indian.

** GENMAC is an organization committed to critical research on gender, markets, and consumers. GENMAC is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as the organization’s core values. Diversity is defined as appreciating and leveraging our differences involving and reflecting the communities we serve. Equity is defined as aligning our policies, practices, and resources so that people of all races, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses have genuine opportunities to thrive. Inclusion is defined as creating an environment in which everyone feels valued and respected. This commitment is critical to deepening our relevance, credibility, and effectiveness as an organization that focuses on gender and intersectionality in marketing and consumer research.

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