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Race, Marketing, & Markets / Publication Abstract

Will Social Marketing Fight for Black Lives? An Open Letter to the Field

Dec 1, 2020

Sonya A Grier, Sonja Martin Poole

Race, Marketing, & Markets


2020 will likely be known as the year of reckoning for the United States and beyond, as anti-Black racism has moved to the center of national consciousness and a deluge of demands and pledges to confront and dismantle pervasive cultures of racism have been released. This watershed moment to address and act against racial injustice is rightfully gaining momentum. Spurred by the massive uprisings and protests in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, numerous corporations have responded to these demands with some urgency—first by issuing public statements against racism and in support of Black Lives Matter, and then by making large donations to organizations promoting equity, turning Juneteenth into a company holiday, placing a moratorium on facial recognition sales to police departments, and finally acknowledging and ending the use of brand mascots with racist origins. While these actions are surely steps in the right direction, they only scratch at the surface of the long-standing problems of racism and inequality that have historically plagued our society. Indeed, Citigroup estimates that racism against Black Americans has cost the U.S. economy $16 trillion over the past 20 years (Adedayo, 2020). Dismantling the entrenched structural inequalities caused by racism will depend on multiple approaches, disciplines and paths. It will depend on you, the individual working in the field of social marketing.

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