Proud Boys Hoodie Source
Does the thought of Black Lives Matter (BLM) or Antifascism (Antifa) make your blood boil? Maybe the opposite is true. White supremacy makes you physically ill.
A Bangor, Maine furniture store owner has come under fire for requesting that independent crafters on a Facebook Crafters page produce ‘Proud Boy’ sweatshirts and hoodies in advance of the planned rally in Washington, D.C. this week.
Kathy Harvey, the owner of Furniture, Mattresses & More, proclaimed with the lack of craft fairs going on, they are trying to fill the void for Pro-Trump organizations ahead of the rallies.
She also noted, “Recently we had people who wanted BLM shirts...some people who wanted some things with the Antifa logo...we don't tell people...their political views are theirs and we respect all views.”
Is there a difference between supplying goods and services for Proud Boys as opposed to BLM or Antifa? Does providing a cake for a gay wedding make you better than the T-shirt or sweatshirt maker supplying these items for the Proud Boys or any other white supremacist group?
What gives you the right to judge? Shouldn’t “equal rights” apply to everyone trying to conduct business or their lives for that matter? Sure, the ideology behind white supremacy is hateful, but does that make the supplier evil as well? Some BLM and Antifa members are extremists or fanatics who could resort to violence to achieve their mission too.
How Did This Become an Issue in Bangor, Maine?
Some of you might be wondering how this is even an issue when the rally is in Washington, D.C. Like every other aspect of business, supply and demand could possibly have driven the concern. There was a call for these hoodies and sweatshirts, and this Bangor store attempted to fill it.
Some customers were heading to the rally this week and requested these items from MS Harvey. She admits that some of her children plan to attend Trump rallies this week, but don’t we all have relatives and friends who support Trump.
Here is a YouTube video link about a Trump Rally in Washington, D.C.
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So, what is the harm in MS Harvey asking crafters to make these items to supply the need? She said, “There's [are] no craft fairs going on due to COVID, so we were trying to help the crafters, so we set up a place for 150 of them to come into our store, install their product during COVID.”
Some people in Maine are still naïve about these things. They don’t get how deep these wounds are because most mid-Maine residents have not had to deal with the hatred and violence for centuries. There is a big difference between seeing it on TV or reading about it and living it every day.
Michael Alpert, President of the Bangor-area National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), stated, “They [the Proud Boys] are a violent, disgusting, racist, un-American group of thugs, and they are really against all American values. This is a pivotal time, we need to collectively educate, people have been confused recently.”
MS Harvey says, “I'm not a racist person, I'm not a one-sided person, I'm open-minded to all views, always have been.”
Some might recall the uproar after the September Presidential debate Chris Wallace, the moderator, asked the POTUS, “You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other extremist groups. Are you willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and say they need to stand down and not to add to the violence in these cities as we saw in Kenosha and in Portland?”
The POTUS immediately responded, “Sure, I’m willing to do that, but I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing.” He then went on to speak to the white supremacist group directly, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”
“The Proud Boys are a “strange amalgamation of a men’s rights organization, a fight club and what some may see as a hate group — one that loves Donald Trump, hates Muslims (and Jews and trans people), but permits non-white membership,” is how Jane Coaston of Vox Media described them.
In case you need clarification, that was the POTUS and Commander-in-Chief (CinC) who told that “hate group” to “stand back and stand by,” not “stand down.”
The Line in the Sand
Where does the businessperson draw the line? Should politics and morality be considered when providing goods and services to the public? Should a business owner have to determine what is the ethically right business to accept?
In this business owner's case, she used her connections to offer a business opportunity to crafters. She did not even provide the sweatshirts or hoodies people had requested. She did, however, provide the space to complete the project.
Many have condemned the actions of the owner of Furniture, Mattresses & More as if she were a supporter of this group, the Proud Boys. She claims she did not know about this group.
Whether or not that is true, is it right? Proud Boys doesn’t sound like a hateful group, so if you were not familiar with them, why would you turn away from asking people to make some shirts with their logo? Then, there is the political issue too. Do you support overturning the election?
To their credit, according to Kathy Harvey, they did close down the operation after discovering what the group stood for, but should they have to do that? Just as it is your civil and Constitutional right to support BLM or Antifa, shouldn’t it be their right to support white supremacist groups?
Once again, should politics and morality determine who you do business with or support with goods or services? However, when you do, can you blame anyone who decides to associate with you, or your business might cause their business to suffer?
Some crafters who have been affiliated with this Bangor-area business have decided to pull their crafts from the store and not attend future craft shows. Right or wrong, that’s their choice, just as requesting crafters to make the items in the first place was the management's right.
NOTE: The views expressed in this article are meant to induce critical thinking and see all sides of the situation. These are not the views of the writer nor News Break.
 The News Center Maine article, Bangor business owner stirs controversy over 'Proud Boys' Facebook post
 Vox Media article, Trump was asked to denounce white supremacy. He wouldn’t.
 CBS News video, Thousands of Trump supporters rally in Washington, D.C. to protest election results
 TheNation.com article, Trump Keeps Inciting Domestic Terrorism