Tea, virtue signalling, and a very British row

Tomorrow's Business

Until very, very recently any conversation that began with someone saying “I would like to make it clear I am not a racist..” was heading for uncomfortable disaster.

Onlookers would sit tensely, wondering what horrors were coming next, bracing themselves for something awful.

Lately, companies seem to have gotten into trouble for that NOT being the very first thing out of their mouths.

A brilliantly British row began to unfold last night on Twitter, when a YouTuber called Laura Towler decided she was “dead chuffed that Yorkshire Tea has not supported BLM”.

Yorkshire Tea, of course, hadn’t come out against BlackLivesMatter, it just hadn’t said anything yet.

The company handled it well, replying: “Please don’t buy our tea again. We’re taking some time to educate ourselves and plan proper action before we post. We stand against racism.”

I think that works way better than making a big deal out of vague corporate statements that try to take credit for simply not being despicable.

On the other hand, does every RNS, every press release, need a BLM reference? A sort of, in case you were wondering, we are not with them.

Maybe it does.

Corporate affairs folk have to get the balance right between virtue signalling and a sincere acknowledgement that a lot of people are angry with very good reason.

It’s tricky, I think.

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