I’m going to be brutally honest with you from the get-go so that you can make an immediate determination whether you want to read this article or not. Originally, this was meant to be a rather saccharine take on companies that need to make new year’s resolutions. But given that so many Wall Street C-suite executives have waxed poetic about social justice in 2020, as a person of color, I’m going to give it to you straight.
To the high-powered execs who hail from economically privileged backgrounds that are paid millions for doing god knows what, I have a simple message: you’re not helping.
Oh, you might think that repeating lines from Black Lives Matter makes you “woke,” but people see through your disingenuousness. Let’s be real — you wouldn’t know the first thing of what it’s like to be Black in America because truthfully, you avoid them. You wouldn’t dare think about having Blacks in your schools. Indeed, the very liberal CNN called you suits out on this garbage.
You want to talk new year’s resolutions? Be sincere. Demonstrate true, honest leadership. If you’re serious about racial reconciliation, then send your privileged kids to disenfranchised Black schools. Revitalize Black communities by fostering white inflight. Finally, here’s the real litmus test: facilitate true integration by encouraging racial and social intermarriage among your elitist ranks.
Woah. Did that make you uncomfortable? And this is exactly the reason why we have significant social/racial problems in America. Government and corporate bureaucrats push a diversity agenda that they themselves would never adopt yet readily punish non-compliance with “cancel culture.” Thus, new year’s resolutions for Wall Street should encourage real dialogue so that we can move the needle forward. And here are some companies that are on my radar:
- Kroger (NYSE:KR)
- Delta (NYSE:DAL)
- New York Times (NYSE:NYT)
- Fox News (NASDAQ:FOXA)
- Goodyear Tire & Rubber (NASDAQ:GT)
- Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR)
- Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS)
To be 100% clear, I’m not suggesting that these companies are on my “hate” list. Rather, I’m presenting a different, blunt perspective because frankly, the social justice narrative from Wall Street has been grossly insincere and it needs to change. In other cases, management must decide what’s more important, shamelessly pandering to “woke” culture or supporting their original conservative consumer base. So, here’s to new year’s resolutions that really matter.
Wall Street Companies That Need to Make Resolutions: Kroger (KR)
Listen, I’m grateful to Kroger for providing an outlet to prepare for the incoming novel coronavirus pandemic. I’ve spent an ungodly amount of money on the grocery giant, and I probably will continue to do so. But in terms of new year’s resolutions, the company’s social justice narrative has got to be more inclusive.
And I think that’s the biggest irony when it comes to KR stock. When you’re trying to promote equality, you can’t offend others by completely ignoring their plight. For instance, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen, in an email to customers, wrote in part, “We cannot remain silent. We must use our voice to express that we’re against racism and injustice toward the Black community. We can and must do better, as a company, community and country.”
Absolutely we must speak out against injustices against Black Americans. But everyone shops at Kroger. So, what about Hispanic customers, Asian customers and even white customers that have also suffered terribly during this crisis and have experienced racism or discrimination to varying degrees? Not a word about anyone else.
Yes, Blacks in America on a per-capita basis inarguably bear the brunt of “kinetic” or violent racism. Certainly, this community has historical grievances that are unique to them and must be taken into context. But we must also not forget our brave law enforcement officers, the vast majority of whom are good, hardworking (and diverse) people who are performing an increasingly dangerous and thankless service.
Personally, the lack of a broader inclusive message in the aforementioned email bothered me because I see so much devastation impacting every color and creed caused by the novel coronavirus. People tend to get angry when they lose their jobs and their homes. And who will they blame when they’ve even lost hope? In this situation, probably not Black people.
So, here’s how KR stock can be known as a true Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment. Stand up against all forms of injustice and discrimination because this sorrow is not exclusive to any one community.
Before I get into new year’s resolutions for Delta, I wish to applaud the company for its customer-friendly approach regarding the middle seat closures. Though it must hurt the bottom line, Delta considered its customers first before any other factor. And once this awful pandemic fades, I hope to see DAL stock lead the friendly skies.
But, we’ve got to talk about less-pleasant topics — and that has to do with the airliner’s infectious disease special advisor, Dr. Carlos del Rio. Earlier this year, Dr. del Rio and Dr. Preeti N. Malani wrote a paper on Covid-19 infections, in part stating that, “The ACE2 enzyme is expressed in type II alveolar cells, and some unconfirmed data suggest that Asian males have a large number of ACE2-expressing cells in the lung, which may partially explain the male predominance of COVID-19.”
That said, I am deeply troubled that Delta would associate itself with a medical doctor that cites unconfirmed data which can inadvertently but easily justify scapegoating and bigotry against people of Asian descent.
Still, I concede the doctors have a right to explore racial causality. But then, why is it that racial causality is an acceptable line of thinking when discussing race-based medical vulnerabilities but is never, absolutely never acceptable to discuss such causality in other areas, such as race and IQ?
The answer, of course, is that pursuing certain topics, no matter how scientifically valid, are socially painful. So then, why doesn’t Delta afford the same respect to Asian customers as they do to other customers of color?
I raised this concern with Delta politely but directly, but the company never responded to me. That’s plain disrespectful. For DAL stock to be better holistically, the underlying company must learn to respect all customers, irrespective of their race/ethnicity.
Wall Street Companies That Need to Make Resolutions: New York Times (NYT)
As you’re undoubtedly aware, many mainstream news outlets tend to have a liberal slant. That’s not to say anything good or bad about it — it’s impossible not to have some bias in news reporting. However, some companies go too far in projecting their liberal ideology, according to New York Post contributor Michael Goodwin.
In an August 2019 column, Goodwin took to task the New York Times. “Not so long ago,” stated the author, it “was the most trusted newspaper in America, maybe even the world.” However, “The world has changed and the media with it, but no news organization has changed more than the Times.”
It’s fair to point out that Goodwin works for a conservative-leaning media outlet. As well, NYT stock has performed very well this year, suggesting a strong left-leaning audience. But I can see why he and so many others are perturbed by the Times and its nauseating opinion pieces.
For instance, the Times loves talking about the coming day when whites will become a minority in the U.S. It’s a huge topic over there and among so many liberal editorialists. The underlying message is that once whites disappear, this phenomenon alone will usher in an era of equality and utopia.
Will it? Personally, I find this thinking naïve and it ignores real progress in race relations. Sure, people of color like me have challenges. But whites for generations have learned to wield their mathematical hegemony in an increasingly responsible manner. In other words, the whites of today are the best whites that have ever been produced.
As a person of color, I don’t want to rock this boat with an unknown variable — look how violent we’ve lately become simply on differences of opinion! Therefore, new year’s resolutions for NYT stock should focus on the underlying company not making wholesale assumptions about America’s incredibly diverse population.
Fox News (FOXA)
For a variety of reasons, Fox News has been absolutely terrible this year. And in order for the company to regain its footing, its new year’s resolutions must focus on revitalizing support from its core base; basically, strongly conservative whites (i.e. supporting some of the language of the Confederacy without waving its flag). Otherwise, FOXA stock could find itself on life support.
By comparison to liberal outlets, it already is on the cusp on Wall Street. On a year-to-date basis, FOXA stock has shed about 21% of market value. In sharp contrast, NYT shares are up nearly 60% over the same period. Even hard-hit competitors like CBS (NASDAQ:VIAC) haven’t lost as much as Fox, down 12.5% YTD.
But whatever new year’s resolutions Fox News has, they better start implementing them right away. As you’ve probably heard, fringe news outlets like Newsmax and One American News Network have thrived on the chaos within conservative circles. I guess that’s what happens when you over-radicalize your audience: they become too radical for even Fox News.
Seriously, though, I believe where Fox got it so wrong was failing to recognize that people voted for President Donald Trump and his pro-business and frankly pro-white policies, and not for the Republican party. If you think about it, Trump got into office in 2016 because his policies indirectly bolstered the white majority — without saying as such because, you know, that would be stupid.
But now, Fox News’ critics have let their feelings be known, with white majoritarians screaming “Destroy the GOP!” Basically, the company must decide: ardently support white interests (which is what hardcore Trump advocates have recently and publicly stated they want) or become MSNBC.
Sometimes, when you play with fire, you get burned.
Wall Street Companies That Need to Make Resolutions: Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT)
Unfortunately, it’s possible that Goodyear Tire & Rubber may have been a victim of an elaborate prank. However, many angry conservatives are unconvinced. Therefore, Goodyear’s new year’s resolutions will involve winning back conservative wallets by basically providing a “safe space” for them. Let me explain.
Back in August, a photo from an alleged diversity training program by Goodyear leaked onto the internet. On the photo was a statement that indicated any company employee wearing attire supporting President Trump was unacceptable. Naturally, this outraged Trump supporters, calling for a boycott against Goodyear and instead, to buy tires from rival Cooper Tire & Rubber (NYSE:CTB).
In response, Goodyear sent out a note denying that the photo was legitimate. Furthermore, management pointed out that it discourages any talk of politics in the workplace. But by then, the PR damage to GT stock had been done. Also, President Trump got involved, urging his supporters to boycott Goodyear.
It’s hard to tell what impact the boycott had on the company. However, you can see the effect on Wall Street, as GT stock is down nearly 35% YTD. In contrast, CTB shares are up 30%.
Overall, I’m not sure what to make of Goodyear’s denial. If I may be blunt, it appears the company must have ticked off conservatives badly if this was a prank. After all, we’re talking about an American company here, and a NASCAR one at that.
Thus, my suggestion for new year’s resolutions for Goodyear is simple: don’t do anything that will upset your NASCAR-loving fans. They’re the ones buying your tires in the first place.
Sturm Ruger (RGR)
From a traditional perspective, Sturm Ruger will never be viewed as an ESG investment. Obviously, firearms carry such a notoriety that it’s impossible for modern society to accept them as nothing more than instruments of evil. From my perspective, I find this to be completely unacceptable, especially as a person of color (I’ll explain more at bottom). This is one more reason why I don’t get along with elitist coastal Democrats.
Here’s the deal with guns in America: it’s in our freaking DNA. This country was founded on violence, and it can only be protected with the threat of violence. You’ll note that the British Empire wasn’t willing to engage in a constructive dialogue where we can share our feelings about taxation without representation in a safe and comforting environment.
Instead, we punched those tea-loving Brits in the mouth and told them to engage in an anatomically impossible activity. That’s the real America, and this spirit runs in every share of RGR stock.
Right now, I believe Ruger’s new year’s resolutions should focus on increasing diversity. For instance, competitor Smith & Wesson Brands (NASDAQ:SWBI) knows how to play the game, featuring a diverse employee base in its corporate video. On the other hand, Ruger’s presentations seem to lag a bit in this department.
But I mention this as an opportunity for RGR stock. It’s not just white conservatives that are tired of extreme liberalism and the constant virtue signaling featuring social justice posters and the carbon-free lifestyle. Indeed, many people of color and immigrants share the same frustrations.
Wall Street Companies That Need to Make Resolutions: Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS)
For Dick’s Sporting Goods, I don’t have many new year’s resolutions, just one: bring back the darn guns (and ammunition)!
Narrative-wise, I couldn’t think of a better investment that epitomizes the “get woke, go broke” meme than DKS stock. In the name of social responsibility, management pledged to remove military-style rifles from its shelves. It did so in the most dramatic way, destroying $5 million worth of firearms.
Good job. But the problem was that this silly decision placed unnecessary pressure on the sporting goods retailer. With the pandemic creating mass-scale social conflicts, firearms and ammo became hot commodities. Still, Dick’s foolishly stuck to its guns, even as novel coronavirus cases began rippling throughout this nation.
To be fair, DKS stock is up more than 13% YTD, so it didn’t go broke literally. However, compare this performance to Big 5 Sporting Goods (NASDAQ:BGFV), which was going broke prior to the pandemic. But because management had a brain not to remove firearms from its stores’ inventory, BGFV is up almost 250% over the same period.
Additionally, it should be emphasized that back in the 1960s, Black rights activists evened the playing field with firearms. Today, we’re in a similarly treacherous time for communities of color. That’s because white liberal elitists fail to understand that rivalries within communities of color exist. It’s very possible, especially during this time, that communities of color could find themselves pitted against an angry far-right population and other disenfranchised, equally angry minority communities.
Thus, to protect ourselves, people of color need more access to firearms, not less. Liberal CNN wrote a powerful story about what happens to communities of color when the police are defunded or otherwise compromised — they end up dedicating resources to rich whites!
Hopefully, Wall Street will realize this and put an end to useless (and sometimes detrimental) virtue-signaling.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.