When Woolworths got itself tangled with shackled black dolls wearing clothes with a rope on them in their stores, it scored an own goal. This was taken to depict slavery and was not well received by a lot of people in South Africa.
This uproar came two weeks after H&M were in hot water over a racist Twitter response.
No, Africa is not a country. I come from a country called South Africa in a continent of Africa and no I don’t know John from Kenya. Kenya is another country in the continent that is about 5000 kilometres away from my country, like it is very far from where I come from and no, I don’t occasionally meet a lion or some wild animal on my way to the shops, yes we do have shops and malls too.
Like stupidity, the problem with ignorance is that it is easily accessible. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can access it. There are no barriers to entry to being ignorant.
Ignorance of the environment you are operating in may have an adverse effect on your business. No man is an island. Your business operates within a community, society, and landscape. It is not an excuse to ignore the issues and plight of people around you.
Society changes when we change what we are embarrassed about.
In just ten years, someone who professes to not know how to use the internet is seen as a fool.
In just twenty two years of democracy in South Africa, I think it is time we make it shameful to be publicly racist.
Ignorance and racisms are blood relatives.
The question, then, is how long before we will be ashamed at being uninformed, at being ignorant.
How long before it is unacceptable to take something at face value and shallow?
How long before you can do your job without understanding the state of the art?
We must make being ignorant shameful and embarrassing.
Every business needs checks and balances. Make sure you get at least a second opinion, even better, get informed, be curious, ask, find out, google, listen more, learn more, understand more.
You won’t lose your sense of self worth because you know and understand other people better.
The sky won’t fall because you are now better informed than you were yesterday.
There is no excuse to be ignorant. In business, ignorance is not bliss.