LEGO, the notoriously famous toy production company made a bold statement by pulling advertising and marketing promoting a selection of LEGO products as an act of solidarity with the Black community around racism and inequality. Although their message was misinterpreted as having pulled all cop-related toys, LEGO in a public statement clarifies by stating that:
“There is no place for racism in our society. We stand with the black community against racism and inequality. Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, and that includes inspiring them to be tolerant, inclusive and kind. There is more to do and as one small step, we are donating US$4 million to organizations in the U.S. dedicated to organizations that support black children and others that educate all children about tolerance and racial equality. We would like to clarify that we have not removed any sets from sale. The misunderstanding is the result of an email that was sent on our behalf to members of our affiliate marketing program. The intent of the email was to ask that they pause promoting and marketing a selection of LEGO products on their sites. We paused all marketing across our own social channels earlier this week in response to the tragic events in the U.S. We regret any misunderstanding and will be clearer about our intentions in the future.”
There are other examples of large companies taking a bold stance against racism through public statements, social media campaigns, and monetary donations, however this action sends a meaningful message that hits several tones including corporate accountability, emotional intelligence, and early childhood education. LEGO is no doubt aware of its audience and the multigenerational presence it’s had in households around the world and has effectively used its platform to take a stance in saying not only that what has happened was wrong, but that there needs to be a change made, and here’s how we plan on making that change via our statement, our marketing campaigns, and our dollars.
The protests occurring now internationally in response to the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin and the 3 other police offers who were present at the time address what appears as two issues simultaneously but is really one issue and its symptom, and that is racism and police brutality. With large companies like LEGO taking a stand against injustice on multiple points, it creates space to begin unpacking hundreds of years of injustice that is a daily terror to black Americans and people of color around the world.
The company’s decision to donate $4 Million to “organizations dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality” is equally telling as this demonstrates a responsibility to not only address the issue of racism with adults and other large organizations, but by breaking the cycle of racism being taught to future generations. The ripple effect of which will hopefully echo across multiple generations just like the LEGO name has with its product line. The timing of these actions following the looting of The LEGO Store on Fifth Ave. in the Flatiron District of New York City is equally powerful as the organization has sustained losses and damage resulting from the outrage around police brutality and the murder of George Floyd. By swiftly reacting with emotional intelligence and a willingness to take action, LEGO’s statement is so much more than just another box checked off.
Rahkim is a TEDx speaker, 2x author, and non-profit cofounder. He is active on Instagram/Twitter @RahkimSabree. Check out his book “Financially Irresponsible” available on Amazon.