Sometimes a ray of sunshine peeks through otherwise dark and gloomy clouds in the midst of a volatile storm, such as the torrential political post-Floyd world. I experienced such a moment of illumination today in the most unlikely of places, my local corporate grocery store. Well, technically, it was while I was on the phone with their customer support hotline, but that doesn’t sound quite as poetic.
In actuality, my shopping experience started out on a rather sour note. As I moseyed up to the checkout register with my grocery cart, I was greeted by a young black woman wearing a face mask. This particular specimen was typically gaudy, in the style you might expect from someone with sub-Saharan fashion sensibilities: black cotton material bedazzled with shiny gold beads with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” spelled out across the face, glimmering like a pair of Liberace’s shoes.
No, this wasn’t the source of the beam of light to which I eluded earlier. But we’ll get there in a moment.
Frankly, the sight of this bejeweled face mask pissed me the fuck off. It did so not because of the political message; I can fully appreciate, and even admire, the tribal tenacity of a young black person who wishes to speak up for their own self-interest. If I were black, I’m sure I’d be doing the same. No, what angered me was the underlying fact, the absolute certainty, that a young White employee (yes I capitalized White) would not be afforded the same liberties. Well, there’s that old saying about doing the “assume” thing; that it makes an “ass” of “you and me.” I simply didn’t know that this was for certain the case just yet.
Well, I’m not one to mess around, and I was determined to speak to the management about the inequity of allowing the Black Lives Matter message to be displayed by an employee while denying equivalent freedom of speech to whites. Needless to say, I’m savvy enough to know not to do this in person, as I have no desire to be the next live-streamed racist on the home page of the Washington Post. So when I got home, I called the store (after blocking my phone number with *67) and asked to speak to the location manager.
I was not abrasive. I was not hostile. I didn’t even say anything specifically about the mask. I simply asked the manager what their corporate policy is in regards to wearing badges, hats, or other items with a political message. He said that he was unaware of any corporate policy forbidding it, and that aside from the fact that they weren’t allowed to wear hats at all, his employees were indeed allowed to wear something with a political message. He declined any further definitive comments, and I sensed he may have been aware of the mask in question, and I didn’t want to get into an ideological argument over the phone. It would be pointless. But he did suggest I call their corporate hotline to get the policy from the “horse’s mouth,” as it were.
So I did just that, and this is when the sunshine came.
After a brief period on hold, a pleasant, comforting, female voice greeted me. She didn’t sound like the kind of woman who uses exotic pronouns, so I felt like I was off to a good start. I pointedly asked her, “What is your corporate policy on articles of clothing, badges, or masks that display a political message?” She replied that she believes they are allowed, but asked me to hold while she checks with her supervisor.
After a short period on hold, and the sound of typing, which indicated that she was messaging her supervisor, she came back on the line and said: “Yes sir, I can confirm that our policy is to not deny any of our employees their right to free speech.” At this point, I remained a bit skeptical. But I also knew that I had not made any kind of statement as to what flavor of speech I was troubled by. As far as she knew, I might have been calling to complain about someone wearing a Klan robe under their smock. So I got specific with her, but I made sure to ask about an implicit pro-white message rather than going into the BLM thing just yet.
So I said, “So am I to take it that if one of your employees were to wear a “Make America Great Again” election campaign button, or a face mask with a pro-Trump message on it, this employee would not be fired for it?” The lady on the phone said, “Yes sir, that’s correct. Our company does not hinder free speech.” I thanked her, and said that the reason I called was that I had seen the “Black Lives Matter” mask, and that I take no issue with that message, as long as all political opinions and free speech are respected. I also asked her to anonymously pass along my words of praise to her supervisors in appreciation of their company’s integrity.
This exchange had completely changed the frame of my phone call. For a moment, I felt like an American again. Setting aside the institutionalized hostility toward white men that exists in this country for just a moment; our current zeitgeist has become so overwhelmingly Orwellian, so dystopian, that I was taken aback by the most token of “white-friendly” corporate policies. And make no mistake, the current paradigm holds that liberty itself is white supremacist, so if a corporation still observes a policy that allows for free speech, you can be certain that the top levels of management are low-key pushing back against Leftist woke and cancel culture.
This revelation is all the more shocking when you consider the type of business in discussion. Grocery stores are explicitly customer service-oriented businesses. Their employees, for the most part, are the public face of the company they work for. Their on-the-job behavior, dress, and appearance is typically regulated by strict corporate policies in order to prevent offending the local communities they serve. This isn’t even a new phenomenon, and I honestly can’t condemn a service sector company for enforcing blanket policies that forbid employees from potentially offending customers this way. My only concern is fairness and reasonability in enforcement. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Needless to say, I’ve got a positive view of this company, and I let them know it. I have no delusions that their white employees feel as free to express political opinions as their black employees, but that is due to the overall chilling effect of the current political climate and not because of specific corporate policies that are explicitly anti-white.
Which brings me to the main point of my essay. I have some further commentary on expressing pro-white ideas in an intelligent fashion, but I want to emphasize first and foremost the need to identify companies such as this one that are not submitting to “woke supremacy” and the demands of the mob. I want to offer to you, the reader, the idea that, while I support boycotting anti-white companies, we might find it easier and less frustrating to focus on identifying the few remaining companies that have enough gumption to go against the grain, and dedicate our hard-earned money to doing business with only them and smaller, local businesses. And while I’m not going to name this company publicly, because I know what will happen if I do, I’m going to quietly spread the word about what I’ve learned to my friends, family, and associates.
Furthermore, I’m going to call this strategy a “procott,” and I suggest that all socially conservative dissidents and their sympathetic friends and family members should seek out similar liberty-friendly feedback from the companies they do business with. Force them to confirm that their white, conservative, and pro-Trump employees are safe from political discrimination for expressing their views at work.
Now, this is the part where I’m going to rustle the jimmies of a few readers. It is high time that the more fringe elements of the Dissident Right, as well-meaning as I know many of them to be, accept that some of our ideas about “free speech” are simply not going to fly, and every time we try to force these types of speech into the public space, we only serve to further undermine our message. Yes, I’m talking about optics.
I’m a free speech absolutist. I believe that people need to accept that offensive language is part and parcel of living in a truly free society. This is especially true when you’re on your own time. Employers should not be allowed to mine their employees’ social media accounts for things they disapprove of. Bottom line, what I’m about to say doesn’t conform to that ideal of free speech absolutism, but we can’t forget that we are powerless, and that powerless people don’t make the rules.
We need to dispense with the idea that wearing swastika patches or sporting a Virginia Battle Flag bandana as a COVID-19 face mask, at least at work, is OK and defensible. It isn’t, because the people who have power have decided that it isn’t, and they have the power to destroy your life. You will get sympathy from very few people for this. You aren’t going to change anyone’s minds.
No, “Black Lives Matter” isn’t the same as a swastika. Neither is a rainbow flag. Additionally, I know, and you know, that “Black Lives Matter” is basically the same message as “fuck crackers” or “kill whitey” in the minds of the upper echelons who fund and run that organization. Nevertheless, they have all the power of the media and marketing firms behind their message. It is implicitly racist and anti-white, but the phrasing is too benign for 99% of the public to see through it with any clarity. It is way too euphemistically powerful for us to win this battle with anything but equally benign-sounding but pointed language and symbology.
My “free speech” grocery store corporation would doubtlessly tell an employee wearing a swastika that he can’t wear it at work. They simply are not going to categorize something as “free speech” when it carries associations that our cultural consensus has deemed malignant or intimidating. Having said that, and strongly emphasizing the position that ideologically I take issue with the cultural consensus, we must take what we can get, and accept that pro-Trump and tepid pro-white dog whistles are the best we’re going to get from such companies.
You see, here’s the problem. Whites, especially working-class white men, white Christians, and white heterosexuals, are the most institutionally oppressed people in America, and we have been for at least two generations. In contrast, the time in history when swastikas and Virginia Battle Flags were “okay” was a time when we were not powerless. Simply put, displays of swastikas and Virginia Battle Flags are not the most effective means through which powerlessness can be expressed.
This is why showing up to political rallies wearing jackboots and militant clothing is laughable. It doesn’t make us look strong. It doesn’t make working-class white people look valiantly defiant, any more than a fat man wearing an Olympic gold medal around his neck makes him look like an athlete. We are the oppressed, and we need our language and symbology to reflect that reality instead of LARPing about a powerful time that doesn’t exist anymore.
I’ll refer you to Dr. Johnson’s piece, “It’s Okay to be White.” There is a particular brilliance in that meme because it forces our enemies to openly express tone-deaf anti-white sentiments when they object to it. If I had been a little quicker on my toes with the grocery store customer service hotline, I would have asked them if they consider “It’s Okay to be White” to be a valid political message and thus free speech. Or better yet, would they find “All Lives Matter” to be an objectionable message. We need to get these companies, even the low-key bastions of free speech, to take a position on such innocuous locutions.
In regards to free speech and optics, I want to reiterate something. This isn’t 2015 anymore. When the now-defunct “alt-right” coalesced around Donald Trump’s political campaign, we still had a naive yet reasonable notion, given the turn of events, that white people could wield some political power and change the course of this country. Charlottesville had not yet happened. Three years of Russiagate investigations had not yet happened. George Floyd had not yet happened. The depths of white oppression have been so flagrantly revealed at this point that many people we were calling “normies” in 2015 are more aware of our predicament now than we even were back then.
So if you are still stuck in 2015 and think this is all just about the jokes and triggering purple-haired cat ladies with 8chan memes and making dindu nuffin posts on Facebook, you haven’t been paying attention. We are in the midst of a complete paradigm shift of oppression levels in this country. It’s time to reevaluate our tactics, dig in our heels, and fight with every effective weapon we have.
In closing, with what little remnants of free speech that exist, whenever and wherever we can find them, and whatever safe harbor that providence provides us, we must enthusiastically embrace them and use them to apply pressure to the system. We must encourage the skeletal remnants of corporate America that hold sympathetic views, or simply pro-liberty views and policies, to take a solid stand. We must do it intelligently, tactfully, and tactically. “Procotting” is just one small step in the right direction.
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