LEGACY News – Some Virginia business owners are seeing their own seemingly insensitive, hateful or threatening words aimed at blacks being outed on social media for the world to see.
Mostly white business owners, including Brad Bradley, who owns a heating and air conditioning service, and his wife Sue Bradley; Bubba Johnson, who owns a home construction company; Justin Wallace, who owns a cabinet company; restauranteur Judy Talley Maxie; and Nancy Jones who owns or runs a co-working space and Thrive: Mind, Body & Soul, LLC; are just a few of those outed this week by a new Facebook group named RVA Racist Business Owners.
The Bradleys, of Chesterfield, have posted photos on social media wearing blackface, shared memes and authored posts calling black people “animals” and touting the mainly conservative “all lives matter” rallying cry meant to oppose the Black Live Matter movement born out of protests against police brutality cases affecting blacks disproportionately.
Wallace, of Cumberland County, authored posts saying blacks were “good at 3 things. Breeding. Selling drugs. And violence.” He called for seeming retaliatory violence against black protestors urging the “need to start shooting these monkeys… to lower the crime rate nationwide” and to make them “extinct “. He also called for an “Irradication proclamation” to use a “boat [with a “small leak” to send them back home.”
Wallace also posted urging the powers that be to “put a fence around there and lock them [blacks] in”, and called the NAACP “N[-word] Are Always Causing Problems”.
Maxie, of Chester, posted that outspoken black U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California should “shut [her] big fat lips” and “go back to Africa where youre [sic] from.”
“Exposing them is the first step into making a more progressive/ accepting society,” posted a member of the group RVA Racist Business Owners.
Started by Shavonya Wade, the group has quickly grown to almost 3,000 members since launching on June 4. It seems to be the perfect space for Richmond-area citizens to voice their frustration with business owners who “secretly loathe blacks” but don’t mind using them as a means to further their businesses. Members are sharing screenshots of hateful, threatening and outright racist posts by business owners.
One realtor, Don Cahoon, was apparently fired from Keller Williams Midlothian on June 6 after group members contacted his boss with screenshots of his Facebook posts, some of which read, “Take a knee puts you in the best position for the chopping block” and “I’m ready to disclose what I’m going to do when they come to the suburbs” seemingly alluding to people who were most recently protesting George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis. Keller Williams, posted a statement on it’s social media page noting that Cahoon’s posts have “justifiably received many comments from outraged agents, brokers, clients and others” and that the company has “a zero-tolerance for this kind of behavior”.
Cahoon, as a realtor, is bound by the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which protects buyers and renters of housing from discrimination by sellers, landlords, or financial institutions and makes it unlawful for those entities to refuse to rent, sell, or provide financing for a dwelling based on factors other than an individual’s financial resources. As such, fellow professionals are taking action to make sure the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) investigates if Cahoon’s posts violated the terms of his license.
“Im not stopping until this is handled appropriately,” posted a member of RVA. “This hits home for me.
“I have fellow black agents in that office right now that feel like crap because they bring so much money to this brokerage but yet their concerns about the racist comments made by an agent they have to work beside is disregarded.”
Wade, a Richmond resident who studied public administration at the University of San Francisco, according to her Facebook profile, told the group’s members that some of the business owners whose posts have been featured on the group’s page have already contacted her, prompting her decision to make the group private.
“While I am not in fear, personally or legally, I also do not want to put any of you at risk for any retaliation,” wrote Wade. “We all know that racists hate to be called out and we are a threat to their livelihoods by telling people about the horribly racist things that they say and do.
“I made the decision to make the group private so that no one can find your names.”
Wade notes that she has received post submittals by group members featuring teachers and employees of high profile companies, but she has declined posting those as she wants to keep the group strictly about business owners so that citizens decide if they still want to spend their money with the businesses.
One featured business member, Nancy Jones, elicited the most response from group members about posts calling Floyd a “thug” and black people who protested his death “animals” “criminals” and white people who support them “ignorant”.
Those who disagree with her posts have flooded her business’s Yelp page with one star reviews, supported by screenshots of her social media posts.
“Racist!” posted a Danika K. from Richmond. “There’s a difference between looters and protesters. We as black people just want ACCOUNTABILITY. So to call someone a thug, I guess [you] are perfect. Either way, I hope no one supports this establishment.”
Robert F., also from Richmond, posted on Yelp: “Sadly, the owner of this salon is a blatant and unapologetic bigot. You can save your money and you should by supporting people of color and be their allies.”
In a move to direct consumers towards alternatives, other social media groups have been highlighting black-owned businesses and urging the public to support them. Groups like Black Business Owners MD/DV/VA, RVA Black Business Network and Va’s Black Owned Businesses are just some of the groups featuring black-owned businesses to patronize.
“The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted 381 days. Laws change when you disturb the money,” posted a RVA Racist Business Owners member. A seeming perfect statement of why these business owners are being exposed.