It’s not kowtowing. It’s how power seeks to sustain itself — by pretending to be an ally.
As you said, in a capitalistic system business exists to profit through exploitation of labor.
But capitalism was only made possible through the centuries-long exploitation of Africans and colonization, although this is abstracted from prevailing narratives taught in elite business schools.
To the State, nothing is more threatening than wide acceptance of anti-capitalist political ideology. To corporations, it’s that plus workers who resist exploitation and authoritarianism through unions or other forms of equal bargaining power through organized labor and power redistribution through the legal system.
Due to our contentious racialized history, most threatening of all is the growing Black radicalism combined with White Leftism among Millennials (impending power group) and Gen Z (mostly future workers). Both groups demand social justice and both are consumers.
Of course corporations happily jumped on the social justice bandwagon — they needed to protect their interest to exploit for profit. They adopt a apolitical, ahistorical, deradicalized nonthreaenting approach that doesn’t rattle anyone’s power.
1. Internally: appeal to the class interests of marginalized workers— that is, desire for power, profit, and prestige — so they will overlook their weak labor rights.
Affirmative Action is traded for warm-fuzzy diversity and inclusion programs, mentorship programs, and employee resource groups — the type of organized labor they can monitor and control.
Moreover, they hire marginalized workers (mainly juniors of course). A few more marginalized people than usual are bumped into leadership roles to sweeten the illusion that their best shot of preventing the fall to *gasp* the working class is to continue fighting in a corrupt system of manufactured scarcity.
2. Externally: engage in visible racial capitalism such as posting some woke Twitter. Donate money to Black communities particularly to the youth. Post it on social media. Bring in “diverse” interns and post on social media. Lobby to change the road leading up to the corporate office from Confederate Avenue to I Have a Dream Drive. And post it on social media.
Invite nonthreatening marginalized speakers to give nonthreatening inspirational talks then post photos on social media to show how cultured, edges, and progressive they are.
Of course none of this addresses the inherent unequal power between employee and employer. Mainly, that workers have no access to assess the legitimacy of hiring, promotion, or pay decisions. Forced arbitration that let’s sexual harassment go unpunished. Oh and good luck suing a company for unlawful discrimination when you don’t have access to critical information during the lawsuit discovery phase, let alone 250k for a lawyer.
But the benefits from “diverse” corporate representation doesn’t trickle-down to the working class and working poor.
Lack of solidarity combined with systemic economic and racial barriers to the middle class, make both groups no real threat to the status quo.
Everyone properly divided by the “smoke and mirrors” of diversity and inclusion, Corporations reap social capital of appearing “woke” and continue to profit through the existing system of exploitation.