For the past few years, big business has been doing the work on racism. From murals to making sure Robin DiAngelo continues to get paid, executives have shown they’re willing to do anything necessary to ensure the world knows they’re dedicated to ending systemic racism.
And today, businesses around the country will continue to do the work, literally, of celebrating Martin Luther King’s legacy by making all their employees, including employees of color, show up to the office or at least Zoom in.
Granted, this isn’t that bold of a strategy, and not just because the solution to racism is apparently more racism. As such, it would be fitting for only employees of color to get Martin Luther King Day off. Instead, American businesses insist on this day, and only on this day, to judge people on the content of the character and not the color of their skin. For this, we should celebrate them, at least a little.
But we can’t celebrate them too much, as this is more a function of our culture than their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Americans, in general, aren’t big on bank holidays, a British tradition that was tossed into the Boston Harbor alongside the British East India Company’s tea, although we do observe Labor Day for whatever reason. (Perhaps the philosopher Hermes Conrad had it correct when he said, “Labor Day? That phoney-baloney holiday crammed down our throats by fat-cat union gangsters? Hot d-mn, a day off!”)
Nonetheless, in an era of corporate wokeness, today is a great reminder that we are all equal when it comes to doing actual work. Speaking of, break time is over, now get back to it.