Coca-Cola is facing significant backlash for a company-wide diversity training call for staffers to “try to be less white.”
But if you think the alternative is Pepsi — think again. PepsiCo has been embroiled in some pretty racist messaging itself.
The company was just outed by one of its own who leaked screenshots of a diversity training slideshow that calls on employees to “try to be less white.” Specifically, one slide stated that, “To be less white is to: be less oppressive, be less arrogant, be less certain, be less defensive, be less ignorant, be more humble, listen, believe, break with party, break with white solidarity.”
As if whiteness were automatically associated with arrogance?
Insert the word “black” and see how that same phrase reads.
“In the U.S. and other Western nations, white people are socialized to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white,” one of the slides read. “Research shows that by age 3 to 4, children understand that it is better to be white.”
The company’s response?
The training’s aimed building “an inclusive workplace.”
The training’s “not a focus of our company’s curriculum” but rather “publicly available” on LinkedIn.
No shame, no apology, no acknowledgement of the racist slant of accusing that an entire population is inherently racist. Just a duck and dodge to clarify that the training is on LinkedIn.
The outrage against Coke has gone global.
Nigel Farage, leader of the Reform U.K. party, said, “[T]he inference here is clear, isn’t it? That white is bad; white means supremacist; white means you look down your noses at everybody else; white means you are guilty.”
Guilt by skin color. Isn’t that police are accused of doing to blacks?
Understandably, angry conservatives have been busily buying products other than Coke. Author and activist Candace Owens, for instance, tweeted, “If a corporate company sent around a training kit instructing black people how to ‘be less black,’ the world would implode and lawsuits would follow. I genuinely hope these employees sue @CocaCola for blatant racism and discrimination.”
Others have called for boycotts of Coke.
But don’t look to Pepsi as the sane voice of the world of soda.
From CEO Ramon Laguarta: “We proudly stand with our Black associates and Black communities, and we believe unequivocally that Black Lives Matter. … Over the next few years, we will expand our pursuit of racial and social justice in communities around the world.”
Among Pepsi’s recently announced social justice endeavors are $6.5 million to “address systemic issues” of race; $10 million to “support Black-owned restaurants,” $350 million to ratchet business specifically with “Black-owned suppliers,” $50 million to “strengthen Black-owned small businesses,” and more — and more like the addition of “100 Black associates to our executive ranks” and a purposeful increase of “our current Black manager population by 30%.”
Skin color’ll get ya good benefits at PepsiCo, it seems. Racist? Umm … kind of, yeah.
There’s a simple solution for all those sick and tired of having race cards thrown into everything, though.
Quit Coke. Put away the Pepsi. Turn on the tap and — gasp! — go for water instead.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall,” is available by clicking HERE.