Black Lives Matter Activists Executed A Shocking $83 Billion Shakedown Of American Corporations
This essay was originally published in The Federalist on March 24, 2023.
Our database tracking contributions and pledges made to the BLM movement shows a historic transfer of wealth to divisive leftwing causes.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots of 2020 were the largest and most successful shakedown in American history. These “mostly peaceful protests” — which burned more than 200 American cities and wreaked more than $2 billion in damages — achieved more than anyone could have predicted: changes in laws, private sector policies, and perhaps most importantly, a historic transfer of wealth to racial and leftwing causes. As a result, American corporations gave or pledged more than $83 billion to either BLM or BLM-related causes.
We created a database tracking contributions and pledges made to the BLM movement and related causes, which we define as organizations and initiatives that advance one or more aspects of BLM’s agenda, and which were made in the wake of the BLM riots of 2020. To date, our data spans more than 400 companies and $83 billion in pledges and contributions.
The famed consulting firm McKinsey and Company thinks the number is far larger. They calculated that from May 2020 to October 2022 companies pledged about $340 billion “to racial equity, specifically for Black Americans after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.” Our number is conservative by comparison. But unlike McKinsey, we provide details about the pledges and contributions of specific companies.
We are surprised at some of the incredulity in our calculations. So too is BLM, which suggests that objections to wealth transfers of this scale are rooted in “white supremacy,” and “a pathology that Black organizations don’t deserve to be funded.”
BLM called for reparations. In a sense, they succeeded, as these reparations were paid out to BLM itself (approximately $122 million) and to its vast NGO archipelago and other racialized causes and schemes under various names.
While the money was given or pledged in different ways, it was unmistakable for so-called “racial justice.” Sometimes this meant cash transfers to partners of BLM, like the Color of Change, the NAACP, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the ACLU.
Sometimes it meant cash or pledges to other “reparative” initiatives including race-based, discriminatory hiring programs; race-based, sub-prime lending; race-based scholarships; and partisan voter initiatives. Sometimes it meant Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, which are the polite versions of BLM calibrated to middle-class, middle-management tastes. The DEI ideology disagrees with BLM in few ways, if any.
DEI and BLM share one mission: to punish white America, through different means. The latter through riots and pressure campaigns, the former through preferential hiring and promotion of members of protected groups. Both aim to redistribute honor, privileges, and money to black Americans. Both are extorting special privileges and money by using white guilt.
Moreover, both are attempting to do so by cultural revolution, and both stand openly against meritocracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech, and individual rights. Correctly understood, DEI is an expression of BLM’s broader agenda.
We already know the exorbitant amount of money given or pledged by large banks like JPMorgan ($30 billion), Bank of America ($18 billion), and Silicon Valley Bank ($70 million) in the wake of the 2020 BLM riots to subsidized and sub-prime race-based lending, race-based investment targeting, supply chain diversity initiatives, and nonprofits advancing racial justice.
But BLM was so effective that even seemingly middle-America companies shelled out big. For example, Cargill, the Minnesota-based food producer, launched its “Black Farmer Equity Initiative,” a redistributive program that attributes declining numbers of black farmers to “the legacy of systemic racism” and seeks to “dismantle Anti-Black racism” and “operationalize equity across the food and agriculture system.” Cargill pledged $11 billion to the initiative through 2030.
Kroger, a ubiquitous neighborhood grocery chain, spent at least $13 million to advance racial division, including $5 million toward its “Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” initiative and a $500,000 contribution to LISC’s Black Economic Development Fund, a discriminatory investment fund that promotes BLM. Kroger also partnered with the discriminatory, race-based hiring platform OneTen, which aims to “hire, promote, and advance one million Black individuals who do not have a four-year degree into family-sustaining careers over the next ten years.”
Caterpillar, the producer of heavy equipment, donated $500,000 each to the NAACP and the Equal Justice Initiative. It too partnered with OneTen. John Deere donated $1 million to the NAACP, again, an official partner of BLM.
Defense contractors, traditionally neutral and dedicated to keeping America safe, also submitted to BLM’s demands. Northrop Grumman donated $1 million to the NAACP and an additional $1 million to organizations promoting social justice as part of an employee charitable gift matching program. It also partnered with OneTen.
Raytheon pledged $25 million over five years to “advance racial justice, empowerment, and career readiness in underserved communities.” The commitment includes donations to the NAACP, Equal Justice Initiative, and National Urban League; community outreach; public policy lobbying; and a supplier diversity initiative.
Boeing pledged a minimum of $25 million by 2023 toward racial “equity” and “social justice.” In 2020, it contributed $15.6 million to organizations addressing “racial inequity,” including $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative.
The list goes on, and should be further explored by journalists in order to understand the full extent of the shakedown. By caving to BLM, American companies not only became the tools of radicals but also laid the groundwork for future violence and extortion.