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There are a few paths to intergenerational wealth in America. You could build a business from the ground up, spend decades battling to the top of a major corporate hierarchy, or train for years on end to become a world-class talent in music, sports, or entertainment.

Or, you could just point a finger and scream about racism.

That’s the lesson demonstrated this week by Owen Diaz, now a member of America’s plutocrat class because he says somebody called him a mean word a few years ago.

Tesla has been ordered by a federal court in California to pay almost $137m in damages to a Black former employee who said he endured racial abuse while working at a factory in Fremont.

Owen Diaz, a former contracted elevator operator who worked at the plant between 2015 and 2016, alleged he was harassed and faced “daily racial epithets” including the “N-word”. He also said employees drew swastikas and left racist graffiti and drawings around the plant.

On Monday, a jury in San Francisco sided with Diaz, who was awarded $6.9m in damages for emotional distress and $130m in punitive damages, according to Diaz’s attorney, Lawrence A Organ.

“It took four long years to get to this point,” Diaz told the New York Times. “It’s like a big weight has been pulled off my shoulders.”

Organ, of the California Civil Rights Law Group, said: “It’s a great thing when one of the richest corporations in America has to have a reckoning of the abhorrent conditions at its factory for Black people.”

Diaz’s lawsuit claimed that supervisors failed to stop the racial abuse.

“Tesla’s progressive image was a façade papering over its regressive, demeaning treatment of African American employees,” the lawsuit stated. [The Guardian]

The case is a fitting encapsulation of America’s ever-more-debilitating obsession with fighting “racism” in every facet of life. It is unclear if any strong evidence even exists to corroborate Diaz’s claims. But even if everything Diaz claimed was entirely true, there is no rational calculus that would suggest the harm against him justified a $137 million verdict. A jury almost certainly would have awarded Diaz far less had he suffered a workplace accident leaving him a quadriplegic.

Tesla at least bothered to push back against Diaz’s allegations, but still delivered a somewhat nauseating “woke” statement about how they “should be held accountable.”

It was not immediately clear if Tesla would appeal but on Monday it issued a statement attempting to downplay the case.

“While we strongly believe that these facts don’t justify the verdict reached by the jury in San Francisco, we do recognize that in 2015 and 2016 we were not perfect. We’re still not perfect,” wrote Valerie Capers Workman, Tesla’s human resources vice-president.

“But we have come a long way from five years ago. We continue to grow and improve in how we address employee concerns. Occasionally, we’ll get it wrong, and when that happens we should be held accountable.”

And while the lying press is happy to imply that Diaz labored in a club run by cruel white supremacists, the reality is that the people heaping “racial abuse” on Diaz weren’t even white.

Not only that, but arguably Tesla shouldn’t have even been involved in the first place. Diaz did not work for Tesla, and neither did the workers “abusing” him. All of them instead worked for contractors and temporary staffing agencies that simply assigned them to Tesla’s plant in Fremont.

It’s easy to see this as just the next outrageous example of America’s woke hysteria—and it certainly does provide an instructive example. But there is a much deeper and more important lesson to be learned from this sordid affair. This latest debacle at Tesla shows that the popular conservative slogan “Get Woke, Go Broke” is a dangerously misguided myth.

To be sure, it is a myth that has some basis in common sense. After all, America’s woke obsession is so excessive, so crazy, and so utterly divorced from reality that wokeness simply can’t be compatible with optimizing efficiency and excellence. It would seem to follow that companies that prioritize “wokeness” over excellence would produce inferior products and suffer in the market and ultimately “go broke.” After all, that’s how the market works, right?

Well, sort of. It is true that America’s woke insanity is fundamentally divorced from reality, and it is certainly the case that when businesses prioritize wokeness they do so at the expense of efficiency and operational excellence. This would be the only and decisive factor if there were a truly free marketplace, and producing the best product for the cheapest price was the only relevant factor for success.

The reality, however, is that the market economy exists within a larger ecology that includes an adversarial legal structure, mobilized political pressure groups, and a hostile media, among other things. This much is obvious. What is not obvious, however, is how this larger ecology operates in such a way as to make it impossible for a business to succeed, especially at the highest level, without bending the knee to the American Regime’s woke ideology.

Perhaps the more accurate corollary is actually “Get Woke or Go Broke.”

The recent judgment against Tesla is not an isolated case. To the contrary, it belongs to a long line of legal rulings that underscore the profound, existential downside risk looms over any corporation that fails to enthusiastically join the chorus of our nation’s woke siren song.

Consider the proposed 2015 merger of Comcast and Time Warner. The biggest barrier to the deal wasn’t the business terms, or the antitrust concerns with allowing two giant rapacious oligarchic corporate interests to join forces. No, the biggest barrier was the fact that they were being sued for $20 billion dollars by the National Association of African-American Owned Media, who argued the merger would create a “disparate impact” on black-owned media enterprises.

Even though the FCC hasn’t yet ruled on the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, one group has already filed a lawsuit claiming at least $20 billion in damages from the way the two giants allegedly discriminate against black-owned media.

The complaint, filed in California on Friday, comes from the National Association of African-American Owned Media, which also filed a similar suit against AT&T and DirecTV in December.

This time, the plaintiff is not only targeting both Comcast and TWC — on the eve of the two companies merging to become what would be the largest pay television distributor in the United States — but also various African-American advocacy groups and MSNBC host Al Sharpton for allegedly facilitating discrimination.

According to the lawsuit, Comcast and TWC “collectively spend approximately $25 billion annually for the licensing of pay-television channels and advertising of their products and services, yet 100% African American–owned media receives less than $3 million per year.”

At the time of Comcast’s 2010 acquisition of NBCUniversal, Comcast entered into memoranda of understanding with the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, but the lawsuit says the voluntary diversity agreements are “a sham, undertaken to whitewash Comcast’s discriminatory business practices.”

Other black channels are said to be “window dressing,” with black celebrities as “fronts” when they are “white-owned businesses” that are run by friends or family of Comcast executives. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

As we can see, there are billions of dollars at stake when it comes to demonstrating fealty to the woke cult of diversity. While some corporations over time have positively embraced “woke ideology,” far more simply do not have a choice.

Take, for instance, the 2004 case of Abercrombie & Fitch, which was sued into oblivion for failing to reflect racial diversity in its marketing strategy. From the New York Times:

Abercrombie & Fitch, one of the nation’s trendiest retailers, settled race and sex discrimination lawsuits yesterday, agreeing to alter its well-known collegiate, all-American — and largely white — image by adding more blacks, Hispanics and Asians to its marketing materials.

After a federal judge in San Francisco approved the class-action settlement yesterday, the two sides announced an agreement that calls for Abercrombie & Fitch to pay $40 million to several thousand minority and female plaintiffs. Abercrombie also agreed to hire 25 diversity recruiters and a vice president for diversity and to pursue benchmarks so that its hiring and promotion of minorities and women reflect its applicant pool.

In an unusual step, the settlement calls for Abercrombie to increase diversity not just in hiring and promotions, but also in its advertisements and catalogs, which have long featured models who were overwhelmingly white and who seemed to have stepped off the football field or out of fraternities or sororities. Plaintiffs’ lawyers said they insisted that the company agree to add more diversity to its marketing materials so as not to discourage minorities from applying for jobs.

In another unusual move, the settlement requires Abercrombie to stop focusing on predominantly white fraternities and sororities in its recruitment. Many Abercrombie workers have said that company employees were often told to go to college campuses and to urge good-looking fraternity and sorority members to apply for jobs. [NY Times]

Abercrombie settled the suit to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in the crapshoot of a jury trial, but this “escape” cost them dearly. Abercrombie was suddenly tens of millions of dollars poorer and shackled to a new ideology of corporatized wokeness more than a decade before that became the national standard.

The results were disastrous. Abercrombie sales fell steadily throughout the late aughts and early 2010s. At one point, sales dropped for 11 straight quarters. When the company finally began to restructure, it closed hundreds of stores. Only a total reboot of the company’s brand and target audience saved it from death.

Such is the downside legal risk of not being woke enough that political commentator Richard Hanania recently argued that wokeness is simply a necessary and predictable outgrowth of civil rights law.

In any case, we see that the “Get Woke, Go Broke” motto couldn’t be further from the truth. Perhaps the surest way for a company to go broke is to fail to proactively display fealty and enthusiastic compliance with the woke regime. “Get Woke or Go Broke,” indeed.

The wokeness regime is not just about negative incentives, however. The economy offers carrots along with sticks when it comes to compliance with wokeness.

From preferential treatment in government contracts, to small business loans, to partnerships offered by mega-corporations like Apple and Google, companies with sufficient minority or female ownership have access to a mountain of perks.

Being able to claim one’s business as minority-owned is such a substantial benefit in the American economy that there is actually an official organization that gets to decide of someone is “black” enough to get special set-aside business perks

As Revolver reported months ago:

To get access to big government contracts and set-asides by major corporate actors, you need to be the right race. So, how is that decided?

For that, you can turn to a little known organization called the National Minority Supplier Development Council. The NMSDC’s goal is to help minority-owned businesses secure more business contracts, through relationships with both government and hundreds of major corporate partners, ranging from Facebook and Google, to Ford and GM, to Walmart and Coca-Cola.

How do you win a spot at NMSDC’s table? By convincing the organization’s officials that you deserve one of its coveted official Race Card™s to play for fun and profit. How does the NMSDC decide if you’re worthy of their coveted Race Card™? Simple: The group defines a minority as “an individual who is at least 25 percent Asian, Black, Hispanic or Native American.” To do that, one literally must submit a driver’s license, a passport, a birth certificate, or the birth certificate of one’s parent or child in order to prove one has the “right” racial group.

READ THE REST: Meet America’s Race Czars: A Shadowy Bureaucracy Deciding Who’s “Black Enough” to Get Government Perks

We could go on for days as to how the tentacles of wokeness animate every aspect of corporate incentive structure. Wokeness does not sit on top of our institutions as a kind of burdensome and misguided lego that can simply be taken off and replaced by a better and more salutary ideology. To the contrary, America’s legal, cultural, and civil society institutions have evolved over the course of decades in such a way as to depend on wokeness for their very functionality. Simply put, wokeness is now integrated into the American economy at the very deepest foundational level.

One cannot succeed at the highest levels of corporate American without paying respects to wokeness any more than corporate leaders in China can succeed without bending their knee to the Chinese communist party. In this respect, wokeness is the closest thing there is to an official ideology of the American regime.

A sober understanding of this reality presents a far more daunting challenge to the American right than the more comfortable fantasies reflected in such slogans as “Get Woke, Go Broke.” However daunting it may be, it is at least a realistic challenge because it accurately reflects the reality we face. The sooner the emerging right digests this reality and adjust to it, the sooner they will be on the road to extricating the woke poison from our body politic once and for all. Perhaps one day, “Get Woke, Go Broke” can actually be made a reality.

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