A brave Edward Snowflake from the Vanguard Investment Management Group (over $6 trillion global assets under management!) has leaked us an image of the badge employees are asked to wear at the company so as to signal their LGBTQ+ allyship and opposition to ‘white supremacy’. Confused? Let’s deconstruct this particular piece of Woke Heraldry, or ‘Flairs’ as Vanguard likes to call them. The pink triangle was once the tag used by the Nazis to identify gay men in the concentration camps and the green circle represents a ‘safe space’. Duh.
Not too excited about displaying a symbol invented by literal Nazis? Tough. Silence is violence, don’t forget. My source tells me that his lack of enthusiasm at putting the sticker up on his office placard jeopardized his department boss’s likelihood of promotion so she sidelined him with menial tasks until he ultimately left the job.
Our Edward Snowflake, who I get the impression might be religious, notes that ‘It seemed to be profoundly unfair that people could display “Flairs” (which are really just symbols for a non-theistic religion), while I would not be allowed to display a cross in my cubicle or voice opinions in contrast with my colleagues.’
As a bisexual person who found it scary to admit to my friends that I had been having sex with people of the same gender, I do understand the sentiment behind this stuff. But also, I’m grown up enough to be OK with the fact that there are plenty of people in the world that might disapprove of my liberal sex life. I wouldn’t tell my granny, or my strict Muslim friends some of the stuff I get up to and that’s fine. As long as they don’t bother me, I won’t bother them with the details.
What I find creepy is the corporate obsession with imposing uniformity of opinion, even if I agree with the opinions they’re trying to enforce. We live in a world of 7.6 billion people and rising. Inevitably there are going to be some that disagree with me and my life choices. As long as the law protects my right to do what I want without hurting others, I’m happy. I don’t expect everyone to wear a badge celebrating my sex life.
Despite what we are constantly told, we are a tolerant society. We are not, however, an equal society. The oligopolistic Vanguard Group is the second biggest asset manager in the world and it is one of the biggest shareholders in virtually every major listed US company. It has been criticized for being one of the most lenient investors globally on exorbitant executive pay. Vanguard also controls holdings worth $86 billion in companies that produce or burn thermal coal, according to a new report and refuses to sign up to climate crisis commitments as fellow financial oligopolies like BlackRock have done.
We should remind ourselves that it is wealth consolidation like this that is at the heart of the societal divisions we see today as it depresses the wages and small businesses of bisexuals and Bible bashers alike. We should also remind ourselves that we have more in common with our mildly culturally regressive work colleagues than we do with the executives at Vanguard who would prefer us to be talking about silly pink badges than their business practices. Can we have fewer phony corporate badges and less hunting of heretical boogie monsters in our workplaces please — and more heat on the oligopolies that truly divide us?