Controversy of any kind makes corporations nervous. They have to please a lot of people to make sure merchandise still flies off the shelves. Well, the people have spoken, #TakeItDown has been trending for days and retailers Walmart, Amazon, Sears, Kmart and eBay are pulling Confederate flag merchandise from their stores.
There has been widespread debate in the last week over the Confederate flag following the tragic events in Charleston, South Carolina and national conversation regarding race relations that the shooting intensified.
Some have claimed that the flag is a matter of heritage and symbolic of “Southern pride,” but to many it’s a symbol of the values of the antebellum South, including its racism and slavery.
One of the biggest mysteries is why Walmart, Amazon and Sears had so much Confederate flag memorabilia in the first place. eBay we can forgive, since those are individuals selling items for auction.
“We never want to offend anyone with products that we offer,” said Walmart spokesman Brian Nick according to CNN, which made inquiries to the companies about the confederate items. “We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into out assortment improperly – this is one of those instances.”
The people at these retailers must have been very surprised to be suddenly informed that they were carrying such merchandise and of course, would not want to make profits on a symbol of the slave-holding south.
eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff said the flag has “become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism.”
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the state capitol building, even though in 2003 she strongly defended it saying that she had never received complaints about it.
It’s so nice that people and entities can do the right thing once there are hordes of angry people.
Banner photo credit: Reuters