How BLM’s Boycott of White Businesses Displays the Racism of Equity

The race-based equity of BLM’s call to boycott white businesses for the holidays

Kevin Kelly
3 min readJan 2, 2022
Photo by Ron Dauphin on Unsplash

Until very recently, I was not aware of a certain annual tradition that the official Black Lives Matter organization initiates during the holidays. As detailed in an article by Newsweek, BLM has encouraged its followers since 2014 to act against “white supremacy” by not only buying exclusively from black-owned businesses, but also refusing to engage in transactions with white-owned entities. The latter refers mainly to moving finances away from white-owned banks as well as withholding purchases from companies run by whites. Among many others in recent years, this is a clear example of the discrimination encouraged by social activists in the name of equity.

I’ve previously explained the injustice and other problems of equity based on race. Equity based on any superficial characteristic is, by its nature, a contradiction of the principle of judging others individually. That principle is, in fact, the basis on which the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted and on which it remains in effect. Yet we have entered an era in which that ideal has been turned on its very head. Few people would deny that as a whole, some racial groups are better off than others in this country. However, this can never justify presumptions of privilege or oppression based on skin color.

BLM’s call for a blanket boycott of white businesses displays this very sort of presumption. The basic premise is that a black-owned business is run by people who are oppressed while a white-owned one is managed by oppressors. The Newsweek article notes that BLM activist Melina Abdullah, speaking to YES! Magazine, particularly named CitiBank and Wells Fargo as banks with whom to not engage in business:

Abdullah added that by investing in Black-owned (emphasis added) banks instead of major financial institutions such as CitiBank and Wells Fargo, they are not inadvertently funding ‘oppression,’ investment in private prisons or financing ‘environmental degradation’ like the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

To be sure, there’s an abundance of reasons for people on the political left and right to be indignant against big corporations, one of which was explained in this recent Medium article regarding the Uyghurs’ forced labor in China.

So why target white-owned banks and companies only? Indeed, the article published by BLM’s official site titled “Black Xmas” calls for moving money “from white corporate banks… to Black-owned ones” as well as spending “exclusively with Black-owned businesses from Black Friday through New Year.” The homepage of their Black Xmas site repeats these sentiments with the following slogans:

We’re dreaming of a #Blackxmas. That means no spending with white companies (emphasis added) from 11/26/2021–01/01/2022.


The likely explanation is that BLM sees itself as leading a noble cause in a perceived racial war. They see a necessity in propping up black-owned businesses and blocking out white-owned businesses regardless of the quality of service provided by ones in either category. They declare any sort of transaction with the latter an exercise in oppression no matter if those businesses are, in fact, causing any detriment to disadvantaged racial groups specifically. In short, they encourage discrimination for the sake of equity.

As a personal anecdote, there is a black-owned Jamaican restaurant near my old workplace which I often frequented until I moved to another job. The idea that I was supporting a black-owned restaurant was never a consideration, and didn’t even occur to me until months after I started visiting it. I went there because its food was delicious, and because its manager was always very friendly towards me. To be a patron of that restaurant because it’s black-owned would, I believe, have been an insult to what truly makes it a quality business.

As of today, the holiday boycott by BLM is officially over until the next Christmas season. But it should be remembered as an example, among a shamefully long list of others, in which skin color was made a moral determinant in the fight for social justice.



Kevin Kelly

Poetry & opinion writer, nature lover and Upstate New Yorker.