Banks Are Woke Too

Let’s for a moment play out the battle for supremacy as the King/Queen of anti-Wokeness as a sound out match, the kind that occurred in the streets of my childhood neighborhood in the Bronx.

Our ragging on each other would go something like this:

“Oh yeah, look at those ugly sneakers you got, bet you bought them used!”

“Oh yeah, look at that haircut you got; was the barber blind?”

“Oh yeah, well your mother’s weird!”

“Oh yeah, your mother’s ugly!”

Here’s the anti-Woke version.

“Oh yeah, well I voted against treatment for trans people.”

“Oh yeah, I slam dunked Mickey Mouse and Disney because they trumpeted inclusion.”

“Oh yeah, I banned books that tell the truth about our history to protect White Supremacy.”

“Oh yeah, I am going to make sure no woman can get an abortion even if it means they die.”

“Oh yeah, I was the one who said Silicon Valley Bank failed because it was too dedicated to wokenesss”. (Drop the mic!)

Got me on that one. 

Yes, the Republicans have now brought wokeness to the banking world.

WTF? Banking, too?

A growing chorus of conservative pundits and politicians have said the failure of Silicon Valley Bank was the result of the bank’s woke policies, blaming the California lender’s commitments to workplace diversity and environmentally and socially conscious investments.

Here’s schoolyard bully Ron deSatanist on the issue: “This bank, they’re so concerned with D.E.I. and politics and all kinds of stuff. I think that really diverted from them, focusing on their core mission.”

Here’s our favorite fake newscaster Tucker Carlson on SVB’s failure: “The Obama administration imposed diversity, equity, and inclusion standards on the entire financial sector. And that’s one of the main reasons our big banks are now increasingly incompetent.”

Before we discuss the Un-American and awful activity of California lender’s commitments to workplace diversity and environmentally and socially conscious investments, here’s a quick synopsis of what happened.

It’s actually quite straightforward. In a nutshell, the bank was caught with its pants down in a rapidly changing economic environment; it waited till the last minute to try to avert its fate. 

Fans of Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” well remember the run on the Savings and Loans of Bedford Falls when the depositors believed that the bank couldn’t protect their money.

The same thing happened at SVB. The collapse was due to a run on the bank. People wanted their money because they feared the bank was going to go bust. 

Banks typically invest customer deposits in a variety of assets that they can earn a return on, including a mix of long-term and short-term bonds issued by the government — usually a safe bet. SVB made the mistake of investing most of its money in longer term bonds, which provided higher interest returns, but the lack of diversity that increased its risk.

When interest rates were raised rapidly (to combat inflation), the the value of the bonds decreased and the bank had to start selling its bonds at a considerable loss to get the cash it needed to cover depositors. Depositors no longer trusted the bank could protect them and demanded their money.

Did anyone read anything in this simple analysis that suggested committing to workplace diversity and environmentally and socially conscious investments had anything to do with SVB’s collapse? Didn’t think so. 

But that doesn’t stop the shameless Republicans from spreading lies and disinformation. Wokeness is subversive and brainwashing children’s minds. Wokeness is causing banks to be unable to protect your money. Banks are spending too much time hiring women and non-whites. Banks are giving loans to small businesses for women and non-whites. Banks are so worried about having to spend their time making sure there is diversity that they are not paying attention to the money. They are giving loans to those less capable, more likely to default. They are taking risks by investing in environmental and social projects. Why are banks spending time, energy, and money lending to companies and organizations that want to impact climate change or create a more equitable society? What a waste. 

The facts are that Only 8% of SVB’s assets were used for investing in environmental and social investments, which is typical for most banks.

But here we are and there is no end in sight. Republicans think they have a winning message in anti-wokeness, that racism, homophobia, and misogyny are their golden goose. The genie is out of the bottle and not going back unless the American people and corporations stand up against these voices of oppression.

It truly is a battle for the soul of America. All over the country legislatures are passing laws (or trying to) limiting abortion, trans rights and controlling what can be taught in schools. It is scary and they are using their bully pulpits to great effect. 

In Red states, Walgreens decided not to sell medications that enable women to have safe abortions at an early stage.

Last May, Consumers’ Research, a conservative group that began a campaign against what it called “woke capitalism,” attacked the insurer State Farm for partnering with the GenderCool Project, which supports transgender and nonbinary youth. The program helped provide books on L.G.B.T.Q. themes to schools and libraries. State Farm severed its ties with GenderCool hours after the attacks appeared in a right-wing outlet.

Next on the agenda? Going after all companies who make chocolate products and demanding they start using only White Chocolate?

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