Opinion: Know who you are giving your money to

Chick-fil-a has donated consumer dollars to anti-LGBTQ organizations for years.

Photo provided by: Aurora Jimenez Castro

Chick-fil-a has donated consumer dollars to anti-LGBTQ organizations for years.

Joelle Wittig, Editor-in-Chief

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With corporations taking over mass consumerism, it is easy to fall into the trap of buying goods without knowing much about the business. This lack of research leads to uneducated consumers inadvertently helping organizations support groups that encourage unfair treatment of minorities or have alternative political or religious beliefs. 

Chick-fil-A, one of the fastest growing fast food chains in the country, is infamous for its donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations. They use their undeniably delicious food to support bigoted viewpoints, while still claiming to have no political affiliations. Regardless, hungry consumers ignore the warnings of the press and continue to eat there day after day. 

In November, Chick-fil-A announced the end of their donations to two well-known anti-LGBTQ groups, the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. This change created a streamline of positive press towards the fast food chain while people continue to be ignorant about the rest that goes on behind the scenes. While Chick-fil-A appears to be moving in a progressive direction, it is clear that they only stopped donating to these organizations to create better press for their restaurant. Additionally, the company refused to say that they would completely end donations to anti-LGBTQ groups now or in the future, proving their withdrawal of donations to these two organizations meaningless. Meanwhile, the other discriminatory organizations they support go under the radar. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, created the WinShape Foundation in 1984, which advocates for LGBTQ discrimination and conversion therapy. 

In the case of Chick-fil-A and its support of anti-LGBTQ organizations, even those outside of the community should recognize the harm the company does. People across the country who consider themselves allies, or support basic human rights, are spending their money at a place that directly contradicts these ideals. By happily stating “I support LGBTQ people,” then turning around and purchasing a Chick-fil-A sandwich, you are not practicing what you preach. Your money being put in the hands of a company who has given over 150,000 of consumer dollars to the Salvation Army, whose media director stated that LGBTQ people “deserve death.” Before making a purchase, do your research to understand who and what you are supporting. Decide if the taste of the meal is worth supporting what the company stands for.

While some may claim that it is not the responsibility of the consumer to stay aware of these topics or let corporate decisions affect their personal purchases, the reality is that consumers ultimately drive business practices. Buyers demonstrate what they want to see in companies through their spending. If people recognize when companies are taking advantage of uneducated customers and stand against these practices by speaking out or boycotting the goods, they will have no choice but to change their controversial ways. So, like it or not, it is the responsibility of the consumer to let corporations know what they will and will not stand for. This responsibility is not difficult to manage. When in doubt, Google it. See which causes and beliefs you want to support and which you do not; that is all there is to it.

Corporate decisions like this are common beyond Chick-fil-A or the fast-food industry. Consumers must stay educated and choose to spend their money on what they truly support. By doing research before spending, consumers can change business practices for the better. Large companies should not use unknowing customer support to fund organizations that wish to take away basic human rights.