BAND-AID recently released a new line of skin colored bandages, featuring shades for black and brown skin tones. The brand claims it listened to customers in the Black community and wants to be more inclusive to “embrace the beauty of diverse skin.” The parent company, Johnson&Johnson, has also announced it will be donating $10 million to Black Lives Matter. This all comes at a moment when mass consciousness is being raised about the systemic racism and violence of this society.
Other corporations are showcasing displays of support for Black lives, too, with Walmart no longer locking up “multi-cultural” beauty products marketed towards African Americans, Amazon displaying a prominent “Black Lives Matter” banner on its various platforms, and numerous others tweeting their support for Black lives.
But they can’t just put up posters, unlock some cabinets, put a band-aid on the problem of systemic racism and expect us to go home and declare victory. We are living with the legacy of centuries of institutionalized racism, with a vast history of division and inequality, with some granted table scraps from the rich while others get nothing. Today many are waking up to the fact that the Black population, and other people of color, have hardly ever had access to these scraps, are beaten down when they try, and are faced with brutal violence at the hands of those who protect property – the cops. While we are rightly taking our fury to the streets to denounce this injustice, we need to remember that there is still a feast going on, reserved only for those at the top.
Capitalism uses racism for its own benefit, keeping us divided and isolated. Its desperate attempts to appease us during these moments of mass mobilization and consciousness must be exposed for what they are. Capitalism is trying to save itself, appealing to the activists of the day. It’s doing what it does best – co-opting protests and social movements for the sake of profit. But only we, regular working people, in solidarity with one another, have the power to end inequality and heal the wound for good, rather than hiding it with a band-aid.
Featured image credit: Band-Aid