Right-wingers blame Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse on ‘woke’ politics – and we’re so very tired

The front of a Silicon Valley Bank building.

Right-wingers are trying to blame the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank on so-called woke politics.

US officials shut the technology start-up-focused bank on 10 March following its sudden financial collapse. It marks one of the most significant banking failures since the financial crisis of 2008, leaving investors – and billions of dollars of their money – in limbo.

Since then, California banking regulators have appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to oversee its remaining assets.

While officials and pundits are currently attempting to work out what caused the bank to crash, some have taken it as a chance to blame so-called “woke” political decisions by heads of department.

Several months before the collapse, financial risk management director for its UK branch, Jay Ersapah, led several initiatives to promote inclusion in the workplace.

These included Pride campaigns, blogs emphasising mental health awareness, and promoting safe spaces.

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Several right-wing pundits are now claiming that she was somehow too “distracted” by these policies to spot any problems.

Some even blamed the idea of “diversity hires”, while making baseless claims that “going woke” resulted in mismanagement and eventual decline.

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While many have argued that the anti-LGBTQ+ pundits using these excuses don’t understand the nuance of management positions, others have claimed they’re using it as yet another excuse to berate a queer woman of colour.

Ben Collins, a senior reporter for NBC News, was bewildered by claims from Fox News hosts that Silicon Valley was one of “the most woke banks“.

He said: “I’m telling you, they’re actually running with the woke banks thing. They’re already using scary acronyms, which to them mean ‘diversity’. It serves to obfuscate the reality – there was a panicky bank run, front run by some of the GOP’s biggest donors.”

Prior to Ersapah’s appointment, the bank spearheaded numerous inclusivity studies, reports and campaigns to better identify discrimination in the workplace.

Reports have included a 2020 and 2021 study into the UK gender wage gap, conversations with “Latinx venture capitalists,” and a report on women in technology banking.

Meanwhile some officials have argued that Donald Trump’s stint as US president was partially to blame for the bank’s collapse.

Regulations removed by Trump in 2018 could have prevented events that led to Silicon Valley’s financial plummet, according to various sources.

In a statement, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said: “The failure of Silicon Valley Bank is a direct result of an absurd 2018 bank regulation bill signed by Donald Trump that I strongly opposed.

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“During the debate over the legislation, I said, ‘Are our memories so short that we have learned nothing from the 2008 Wall Street? Have we learned nothing from the Savings and Loan disaster of the early 1990s?’

“If there is a bail-out of Silicon Valley Bank, it must be 100 per cent financed by Wall Street and large financial institutions,” the Democrat senator urged.

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