No Institutional Power Equals No Black Racism?
A look at just how many protections and privileges there are.
Of all the tropes promulgated by the Left, none is more mindless and mendacious than the one reiterated most recently by CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill, who insists black people “don’t have the institutional power to be racist.”
Black Americans have no institutional power? In that light, what do we make of an institution known as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling 4-3 in Fisher v. UT II that public universities can now give limited consideration to race in their admission policies? “Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission,” Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority.
There is nothing remotely intangible about elevating race over merit, and even Kennedy knows it, as he further stated that “it remains an enduring challenge to our nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity.”
How one “reconciles” the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” with court-enforced diversity that guarantees “more equal” protection to a subset of Americans is anyone’s guess.
What about another institution known as the federal government that created the Small Disadvantaged Business program (SDB), allowing government agencies to subtract 10% from the price of bids submitted by “small disadvantaged businesses” (read: minority), giving them an advantage in the bidding process? According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) website, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans are presumed to be socially disadvantaged.
The presumption of social disadvantage is defined as having least one objective distinguishing feature “such as race, ethnic origin, gender, physical handicap, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society, or other similar causes not common to individuals who are not socially disadvantaged; Personal experiences of substantial and chronic social disadvantage in American society, not in other countries; and Negative impact on the individual’s entrance into the business world or advancement in the business world because of the stated disadvantage(s).”
Yet as The New York Times revealed in 2011, minority business aid programs are rife with fraud and other abuses. Moreover, federal agencies can set aside contracts and award them to minority-controlled firms without competitive bidding.
How about institutions known as city governments that have lowered test standards to recruit more minority police and firemen? In 2011, the Eric Holder-run Justice Department forced Dayton, Ohio, to lower the passing grades on test scores for police and firemen because an insufficient number of black candidates passed the exam. Until they were reversed by the Supreme Court, the city of New Haven, Connecticut, simply scrapped a promotion exam because no blacks and only two Hispanics passed it, denying white firemen that did a promotion. That ruling reversed a decision endorsed by “wise Latina” Justice Sonia Sotomayor when she was an appeals court judge.
In both instances and countless others, the ultimate institutional club, a.k.a. “disparate impact,” was employed. Originating in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, disparate impact is defined as “a theory of liability that prohibits an employer from using a facially neutral employment practice that has an unjustified adverse impact on members of a protected class. A facially neutral employment practice is one that does not appear to be discriminatory on its face; rather it is one that is discriminatory in its application or effect.”
Note that intent is utterly irrelevant (memo to Hillary Clinton). Note further that one of the nation’s bedrock principles, equality of opportunity, is completely eviscerated in favor of equality of result, and that even the most transparently race-neutral qualifications for employment can be considered “racist” based on nothing more than statistical outcomes.
And if Americans think such institutional perniciousness is limited to the arena of employment, think again. In June 2015, in Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., SCOTUS cited disparate impact when they ruled 5-4 that policies segregating minorities in poor neighborhoods, even if unintentional, violate the Fair Housing Act. Once again Justice Kennedy defied logic, insisting that while we strive to achieve an integrated society “we must remain wary of policies that reduce homeowners to nothing more than their race.”
Barack Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) didn’t get the proverbial memo. Using the administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH) as a vehicle, HUD created a new assessment tool aimed at emphasizing and analyzing patterns of “segregation” and Racially or Ethnically Concentrated Areas of Poverty (R/ECAP).
National Review’s Stanley Kurtz reveals the real motivation behind HUD’s efforts. “In effect, AFFH gives the federal government a lever to re-engineer nearly every American neighborhood,” he writes. The Hill was even blunter. “The Obama administration is moving forward with regulations designed to help diversify America’s wealthier neighborhoods.”
No, they’re not. They’re using the threat of withholding HUD funding and threats of litigation to force-feed the progressive vision of utopia on a recalcitrant American public.
How recalcitrant? A 2015 Rasmussen poll revealed that 83% of respondents had the quaint notion it’s not the federal government’s job to diversify neighborhoods, and 86% believed government should not play a role in deciding where people can live.
On March 6, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued executive Order 10925, mandating government contractors “to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” The originally well-intention idea of redressing the nation’s racist past spread quickly.
Unfortunately, so did the progressive exploitation of affirmative action’s original intent. More than half a century after its implementation, Americans are afflicted by a system of institutionally mandated reverse-racism sold as atonement.
“The only hope for history’s rare multiracial, multiethnic, and multireligious nations is to adopt a common culture, one that artificially suppresses the natural instinct of humans to identify first with their particular tribe,” warns Victor Davis Hanson.
Such a concept is completely anathema to progressives and the power they derive from divide-and-conquer identity politics. They and many of their race-baiting allies in the black community — who profit from the misery of their fellow black Americans — are more than willing to co-opt any number of institutions to maintain a racial spoils system that does far more to exacerbate the racial divide in America than ameliorate it.