Progressive Insurance Sued Over Racist Blacks-Only Grant Program

Tierin-Rose Mandelburg | August 18, 2023
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Flo is goin' down. 

Progressive insurance was just sued by the conservative group America First Legal (AFL) for “patiently unlawful” racism after offering $25,000 grants to help black-owned businesses buy company vehicles. 

AFL reported the offer from the insurance company stated, “We’re offering 10 grants of $25,000 each to Black-owned small businesses to use toward the purchase of a commercial vehicle. Apply to this fund today.” AFL added that Progressive doesn’t even allow businesses owned by members of any other race to apply for the grant, and that AFL's client “was barred from applying for this grant simply because he is not black.”

Related: Oracle Scholarship Programs Exclude White and Asian Students, For 'Diversity

Progressive partnered with an online resource platform called "Hello Alice" to help administer these grants and help correct "inequities" between Black business owners and non-Black employers.

“Progressive Commercial is the #1 commercial auto insurer in America1 and is committed to serving small businesses. Multiple studies have shown how inequities have made it harder for Black entrepreneurs to access capital. This program aims to alleviate this challenge,” the Hello Alice webpage stated.

AFL said this sort of discrimination is a patent violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, which bans racial discrimination when making contracts. 

"All Americans deserve to be free from racial discrimination, yet major corporations across the United States inject racial considerations into every aspect of their business operations, employment practices, and so much more," AFL Vice President and General Counsel Gene Hamilton said in a statement. "As alleged in our complaint, our client — who is a small business owner fighting to create a better life for himself and his family — was denied a contract with Progressive that would have provided him with $25,000 toward the purchase of a new truck solely because of the amount of pigment in his skin."

In 2022, AFL sued Amazon for a similar program that awarded a $10,000 bonus to partners who fit within groups of non-white people.

You can bet if the roles were reversed and white people were given special privileges because of their skin color, the news media would be ALL over this story. 

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