Some White Folks Would Rather Lose Money Than Challenge Racism

It says a lot that no white contractor in Virginia was willing to remove Confederate statues. None of what it says is good.

Tim Wise
4 min readJan 6


Image: Wikimedia Commons

Do you have any idea just how racist a person has to be to turn down money if accepting it might serve the cause of racial justice?

I mean, think about it.

People like money. And you can’t blame them. Money is really helpful.

Unlike with, say, cryptocurrency, you can pay for lots of things with it. And not just stupid things you can show off on Instagram, like Lambos and certain brands of expensive watches, but important things.

Like a mortgage, groceries, or needed medicine.

Though obsessing over money is unhealthy, money itself is a valuable tool. And it’s the rare person who, given a chance to make a bunch of it doing the job they already do, would turn up their nose and walk away, leaving all that money on the table.

I mean, perhaps they would if the job opportunity or contract involved something immoral, sure.

Like, for instance, if an artist were offered $100,000 to create a sculpture of, say, Ted Bundy or Charles Manson, I’m guessing most would pass.

Or Hitler. Or Stalin. Or Pol Pot.

You get the idea.

Likewise, I suspect most accountants aren’t like Marty Byrde on Ozark. Most would refuse to money launder for a drug cartel, not just because they don’t want to go to jail or get murdered if they screw up, but because most people think drug cartels are pretty unsavory, and they’d rather not contribute to their success.

But what about the opportunity to make a bunch of money — good, solid income for you and your business — by removing statues of racists who waged war on your country in the name of white supremacy?

Is taking those statues down akin to putting one of Tim McVeigh up?

Is that the kind of job that a person who likes and needs money would nonetheless turn down on principle?



Tim Wise

Anti-racism educator and author of 9 books, including White Like Me and, most recently, Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights, December 2020)