Last Thursday, Yelp announced that a tag will be implemented to label businesses as “racist.” This “racist behavior” marker will be used to notify consumers if “a business gains public attention for reports of racist conduct,” and it will come in the form of an alert on the page of the accused business, notifying consumers that the business, or someone associated with it, has been accused of racist behavior.
Yelp has stated that the company will only officially use the tag if “there’s resounding evidence of egregious, racist actions.” In order to support the claim of alleged racism, Yelp will also link each allegation to a “credible media outlet.”
According to its blog, Yelp will apply the tag when “a business gains public attention for reports of racist conduct, such as using racist language or symbols.” However, the company has not clarified what will qualify as “racist language or symbols.” For example, individuals on the political left have deemed statements like “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” to be “racist”—and it’s unclear whether Yelp will embrace this stance.
In its blog post introducing the new policy, Yelp expressed support for Black Lives Matter, saying that the new tag “is an extension of our Public Attention Alert that we introduced in response to a rise in social activism surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.” And Yelp’s new policy is just one component of the company’s recent initiatives to enact change, following the death of George Floyd and this summer’s protests against racial injustice. Yelp’s initiatives include the “15 Percent Pledge,” which calls upon stores to acquire 15% of their products from black owned businesses, since black Americans constitute 15% of the United States population. Additional initiatives include “My Black Receipt”—a website encouraging consumers to purchase products from black-owned businesses and to upload their receipts—and “Open to All,” an initiative offering an inclusivity toolkit to businesses, which includes “a 60 minute unlearning bias training video.”
Yelp’s initiatives are part of a much larger wave of recent corporate actions across America. In the aftermath of this summer, numerous companies have supported Black Lives Matter and various other initiatives to help black-owned businesses. Uber Eats stopped charging delivery service fees to black owned businesses. And many large corporations, including Amazon and Microsoft, pledged monetary support to Black Lives Matter or the NAACP.
Chad Berkich is a Senior Editor for the Chicago Thinker. As a sophomore at the University of Chicago, he plans to study mathematics and physics. He is a Christian and conservative, and his other interests include superheroes and science fiction, video games, and rock music.