Woke capitalism may be the least of your concerns. In the small town of Sturbridge, Mass., a group of 200 left-leaning citizens organized on Facebook to compile a list of businesses to avoid due to insufficient wokeness. The group even planned to present every local business with a pro-Black Lives Matter statement to sign — or face a local boycott. When a conservative blogger called the group out on this witch hunt, the group’s leader claimed she had deleted the list.
“Are we keeping a list somewhere of businesses folks may want to look through and possibly decide to avoid supporting (for reasons directly or indirectly related to this page)? If so, I was made aware of one yesterday on the Sturbridge MA Community page and wouldn’t mind adding it,” a local woman asked in the “Sturbridge against Racism” group, according to the blog Turtleboy Sports.
One of the group’s admins posted a list, explaining that “a local business working group that never took off” had intended to “use this to contact all businesses to ask where they stand” on Black Lives Matter. “Right now only the notes tab has what’s relevant.”
Turtleboy Sports published the entire document, which faulted many businesses for being insufficiently left-wing.
The document flagged Carrie and Company for being “pro gun, homophobic/conservative extremist.” It flagged Hair Gallery Salon and Spa and Petrie Family Farm as “not progressive.” It warned that Jimmy D’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shoppe “Made Facebook post in support of police,” as if any pro-police statement was inherently racist. It flagged Sturbridge Coffee House for supporting police in “events, march, signs.”
The document warned that Sturbridge Yankee Pedlar is “owned by a Trump supporter.” It flagged The Thrift Gypsy because the business “uses a racial slur in their name!” Perhaps most egregiously, the document flags the Federated Church of Sturbridge and Fiskdale — a church, not a business — for having “complained about a Pride flag at the library.”
The admin at the Sturbridge against Racism group lamented that the list had been leaked without permission. She then went on to claim that the witch hunt against insufficiently woke local businesses “is not a high priority issue” when “Black children are being murdered by police,” a reference to the police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, a black girl who appears to have been attacking people with a knife. While Black Lives Matter activists have seized on the situation as an abuse of force, authorities say the officer opened fire to save the life of Bryan’s intended victim.
Turtleboy Sports also shared a poll that dates back to June 2020 in which the Sturbridge against Racism administrator requests feedback on a pro-Black Lives Matter statement in order to lobby businesses and the town to support BLM.
The administrator appears to have shut the group down after failing to identify which member leaked the information. Turtleboy Sports released a list of the most noxious members of the group. Some of these people explicitly endorsed boycotting businesses owned by Trump supporters.
While this group of about 200 people in a town of 9,640 may not seem significant, this witch hunt is chilling. As large corporations increasingly take partisan stances on hot-button issues — most notably championing President Joe Biden’s absurd rhetoric against the Georgia election integrity law — leftists may also seek to bring grassroots pressure against local businesses that do not toe the far-Left’s line on various issues like Black Lives Matter.
Campaigns like this pit neighbor against neighbor and bring the divisive rancor of partisan politics to the core of everyday life. These witch hunts may drive Americans even further apart from one another and create a climate of fear at the local level.