Apple CEO Tim Cook is optimistic about the progress of human rights across the globe, despite the fact that things seem to be growing more bleak by the minute.
In an interview with the Independent, Cook explained history gives him hope that humanity is moving in the right direction:
I think that history sort of ebbs and flows at time, but the arc always goes in a certain direction. And I think that will happen now as it happened in the 1960s and 1970s, and has in a lot of ways continued to happen. Sometimes I think being in the midst of it, it doesn’t feel like it. But looking back, particularly for me, I saw the way that African-Americans were treated in the 1960s and into the 1970s – and still today in too many places. But then arguably the laws also not only allowed it but facilitated discrimination. So I’ve seen massive improvement. And my optimism stems from that history – I do think that is the arc across the world. What each of us has to do is do everything we can to hit the accelerator key. Life would be so much easier if we just treated everybody with dignity and respect. You think about all the problems in the world – half of them would be solved with just that! Life would be so much better.
This isn’t necessarily a new way of thinking about social progress, but still… Preach!
Cook’s comments came following a trip to Normandy.
From a military family himself, he said that he has a deep connection to the men and women who served in the military, and has a “deep belief” in serving the country.
You think about what happened in that war and what people were fighting for, and it goes to the basics of human dignity. Today at Apple we still fight for this, and advocate for human rights, and we believe that every generation has a responsibility to enlarge the definition, not move inward. And so you can see, we’ve been very clear and straight, we don’t believe in being silent, we think silence is sort of the ultimate consent.
Cook has spoken up about human rights and issues of social justice since he became CEO of Apple, long before 45 took office.
He spoke out against pro-discrimination ‘religious freedom’ laws in 2015 in a Washington Post op-ed, calling the laws dangerous and describing them as a way to “rationalize injustice.”
He tweeted about “senseless killings” in 2016, after the fatal police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota:
Following Charlottesville, he sent out an email to Apple employees condemning racism and bigotry, saying that “hate is cancer” and disagreeing with the President’s response that there was bad behavior “on both sides.”
I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.
He tweeted his disapproval of the proposed ban on transgender soldiers:
He reportedly called the president and urged him not to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Cook also called DACA “the biggest issue of our time” and said he’s “personally shocked” that there’s even a discussion around this.
In fact, Cook’s decision to lean in to social activism has led a number of other powerful CEOs to chime in.
So keep it up, Tim Cook, and all the other leaders who aren’t afraid to speak their minds on the social issues of our generation.