It’s a sad comment on our society in the Trump era when a sign at a roadside farm stand exhorting people passing by to “resist white supremacy” becomes a source of controversy, but one family farm in northern Virginia has had to fight off a racist backlash to their heartfelt message of human unity.
Cox Farms in Centreville, Virginia is not much different from most small family farms, raising crops and animals while holding the occasional holiday festivals to bring in some extra cash. The one big difference from similar businesses is that the owners of Cox Farms make sure that, during the offseason when they have no produce to sell, they utilize their roadside billboard for posting inspirational messages, trying to provoke a smile or to send a message of support and inclusion that can improve someone’s day.
Often they take pictures of the messages and post them on their Facebook page.
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When they posted a sign recently that declaimed “Resist white supremacy,” however, they faced a backlash that is perhaps not as surprising as it would have been before a racist-sympathizer was installed in the White House.
The farm’s owners explained their reasoning behind the sign in a Facebook post saying:
“We sincerely believe that fighting injustice and white supremacy is a responsibility that can — and should — unite us all. We struggle to see how anyone other than self-identified white supremacists would take this as a personal attack.”
Nevertheless, the trolls on Facebook felt like they should let no good deed go unpunished. They attacked the farm for this message and several others it has posted recently including one supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
One commenter asked a typical right-wing trope, “why not a sign saying Blue Lives Matter?” The Cox Farm proprietors, who are meticulous in responding to each and every comment with reasoned and rational explanations of their positions, replied by saying:
“You’re right, Shannon — we do not support ‘Blue Lives Matter. Like Misty explained, police lives are already and by default valued in our society. Black lives are not, so we believe that a declaration that Black Lives Matter is necessary and important.”
The farm also received messages of support from its customers, with one Facebook user commenting:
“If you see a sign that says ‘resist white supremacy’ and you first instinct is ‘well, I’m never shopping THERE again!’, guess what? You’re part of the reason signs like that need to exist. You ARE the problem.”
Despite the controversy that their political messages are generating, the owners of Cox Farms have no fear over potential business declines due to customer boycotts as long as they are sending positive messages in the service of a better society.
“We’re not seeking to alienate folks who have different perspectives on tax reform or infrastructure spending,” Cox Farms said. “But when it comes to speaking out against systems of oppression and injustice, we see it as our moral responsibility to use our position of privilege and power, along with the tools of our trade and the platforms available to us, to engage visibly and actively in the fight for justice. Our roadside sign messages are one small way we do this.”
You can read the entirety of the Cox Farms Facebook post and the ensuing comments through the link below. And if you’re ever near Centreville, Virginia make it a point to patronize a socially conscious business that deserves your support.