By Amanda Holpunch | The Guardian

Amazon, Apple, McDonalds, JP Morgan – the biggest names in corporate America have all joined the global call for a reckoning on racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s brutal death at the hands of Minneapolis police last month.

Corporate donations to civil rights groups– at least $1.7bn by one estimate – have been accompanied by an outpouring of solidarity statements from the biggest names in fast food, finance and media.

Watching the news Marcia Chatelain, a provost’s distinguished associate professor of history at Georgetown University, had a sense of déjà vu and an expectation of disappointment. Chatelain said these actions echoed historical moves by business giants to pitch themselves as allies in times of crisis.

“The response to civil unrest from the business community has often been opening up opportunities and grafting themselves onto a narrative of civil rights,” Chatelain said. “It doesn’t work.”

Chatelain’s recent book, Franchise, chronicles the relationship between McDonald’s and civil rights movements and concludes that these efforts ultimately do more to support the corporation’s own power than the communities it tries to help.

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