- Ben & Jerry’s is calling on Americans to combat white supremacy amid protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck.
- “The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy,” Ben & Jerry’s said in a statement that was notably more forceful than other brands’.
- Ben & Jerry’s has been campaigning against racial inequality for years, supporting reparations for African Americans, publishing articles on progressive topics, and debuting new flavours like the anti-Trump Pecan Resist.
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As more brands begin to speak out against racism after the death of George Floyd, Ben & Jerry’s is being applauded for a statement that stands out.
“The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy,” the ice cream brand said on its website.
“What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning,” Ben & Jerry’s added. “What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent.”
While Ben & Jerry’s response was far longer than the short posts made by many brands, it was widely shared on social media.
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) June 2, 2020
ben & Jerry’s statement is by far the best statement i have ever read pic.twitter.com/BvzR6Vn2Wp
— ???????????????????????? ꨄ (@jisoossainty) June 2, 2020
read the Ben & Jerry’s statement on BLM and George Floyd and recognize how pathetically short every precious ivory tower’s statement falls in comparison to two dudes selling ice cream pic.twitter.com/OOuaqIVlu2
— que cera cera (@axtang) June 2, 2020
Ben & Jerry’s response is part of a larger campaign against white supremacy
Ben & Jerry’s first publicly stated its support for the Black Lives Matter movement four years ago. Since then, the brand has regularly published articles about white supremacy and touched on other progressive topics, such as the importance of voting in local elections and the struggles during the pandemic for immigrant farmworkers not authorised to live in the US.
Ben & Jerry’s began advocating for H.R. 40, a bill that would provide reparations for African Americans, last year. It also introduced flavours related to social justice, such as Justice ReMix’d, which highlights criminal-justice reform, and the anti-Trump Pecan Resist.
“We are in a multiyear campaign for criminal-justice reform and are doing our best to raise awareness of systemic racism and its historic roots,” a representative for Ben & Jerry’s told Business Insider when asked about the brand’s response.
“For now we’re going to listen, learn, and get to work on next steps,” the representative added.
This week, Ben & Jerry’s offered four concrete steps “to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms.”
It called on President Donald Trump and elected officials to begin a formal process of reconciliation, including asking Trump to disavow white supremacists. It voiced support for H.R. 40. Ben & Jerry’s asked for the creation of a national task force to end racial violence and increase police accountability and called on the Department of Justice to use its Civil Rights Division to defend black and brown people.
“Unless and until white America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past and the impact it has on the present, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end,” the statement said.