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Arnold Ahlert / October 5, 2020

California’s Boardroom Quotas and Reparations

Two new laws reveal the utter moral bankruptcy of the Golden State’s rulers.

Just when one might think California couldn’t push its progressive agenda any further, a pair of bills proves one wrong. Last Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a first-in-the-nation bill mandating that California-based corporations must appoint directors from racial or sexual minorities to their boards. The same day, Newsom also signed a bill creating a specialized task force to analyze the option of providing state-funded reparations to black Californians.

The boardroom bill is similar to the one the state passed in 2018 requiring all corporate boards to have at least one female director by 2019. That bill is facing a legal challenge by conservative groups who view it not as a commitment to diversity, as California progressives insist, but rather as a government-mandated quota system that will prove to be constitutionally untenable.

Regardless, Newsom remains undeterred. “When we talk about racial justice, we talk about power and needing to have seats at the table,” the governor said. Democrat Assemblyman Chris Holden, one of the bill’s authors, agreed. “The new law represents a big step forward for racial equity,” Holden said. “While some corporations were already leading the way to combat implicit bias, now, all of California’s corporate boards will better reflect the diversity of our state.”

“Implicit bias,” defined as an unconscious association, belief, or attitude toward any social group, is yet another progressive effort to advance their assertion that Americans are inherently racist and sexist, and we can be cured only by government intervention on behalf of those oppressed (read: special interest) groups. Thus, as the measure states, at least one director from an “underrepresented community” must be placed on the respective boards of the more than 660 public corporations with headquarters in the Golden State by the end of 2021.

By the end of 2022, two directors must be placed on boards of four to nine members, and three on boards with more than nine members. Non-compliance would engender fines of $100,00 for the first violation and $300,000 for repeated violations.

The text of the bill cited statistics compiled by the Latino Corporate Directors Association. It noted that 233 of 662 publicly traded companies headquartered in California had all-white boards as of 2020. Nearly 90% had no Latino directors, although Latinos make up 39% of the state’s population, and only 16% had a black American board member.

It gets even more “cutting-edge” than that: “Underrepresented communities” are defined by the bill as Californians who identify as black, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, native Hawaiian, native Alaskan, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

“I am who I say I am” may give rise to some rather interesting dilemmas for corporations far more interested in doing business than kowtowing to political agendas that obliterate anything resembling merit. Perhaps some California women will attempt to game the system by identifying as black, like former George Washington University associate professor Jessica Krug or former NCAAP official Rachel Dolezal did.

In fact, the bill’s only official opponent, former California commissioner of corporations Keith Bishop, wondered if the current bill, coupled with the 2018 one, would make it more desirable for corporations to hire a woman from an underrepresented community who would meet both mandates simultaneously. In what was likely an inadvertent statement of truth, the SFGate website referred to that reality as meeting “both sets of quotas.”

The bigger picture? As this writer has stated on many occasions, government-enforced self-identification of reality itself is the foundation of totalitarian rule.

The ultimate endgame with regard to this legislation? Corporate attorney Keith Bishop testified against the bill, saying “it violates the Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. and California Constitutions, and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

Bishop is right, but if there’s one thing above all else the 2020 election will determine, it’s whether the Rule of Law — or the rule of “woke” — will prevail going forward.

The second bill is just as problematic. AB 3121 calls for a nine-member body to make recommendations on what kind of reparations should be awarded and who should be eligible. That body can also tell the state legislature how California can offer a formal apology “for the perpetration of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants’ and the elimination of state laws that disproportionately impact Black people,” Fox News reports.

That California was never a slave state is apparently irrelevant.

Moreover, according to whom and based on what criteria will the state eliminate laws that “disproportionately affect” blacks? For example, if greater numbers of black Americans than other groups are arrested for a particular type of crime, should that particular crime, even if it’s a felony, be erased from the books? Or once a threshold has been reached, should police stop making arrests? Since fewer black Californians graduate high school than their white, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander counterparts, should the state’s current high school graduation requirements be tossed as well?

“As a nation, we can only truly thrive when every one of us has the opportunity to thrive,” Newsom insists. “Our painful history of slavery has evolved into structural racism and bias built into and permeating throughout our democratic and economic institutions.”

This bill is not about opportunity. It is yet another race hustle perpetrated by white progressive bigots and their minority allies who have spent decades nurturing black American victimhood in pursuit of wealth and power. Wealth and power that requires the maintenance of an underclass whose “institutional victimhood” can never be overcome without the “benevolence” of their government overlords.

Critics? Only in terms of irony. William Darity Jr., a Duke University economics professor and reparations “expert,” eschewed the use of that term to describe the bill — because “people should not be given the impression that the kinds of steps that are taken at the state or local level actually constitute a comprehensive or true reparations plan,” he stated. “Whatever California does perhaps could be called atonement, or it could be called a correction for past actions.”

In other words, the monetary shakedown for “atonement” pales in comparison to the one for “reparations.”

All in a state that has requested a taxpayer-funded bailout from the federal government.

The ultimate result of these pernicious agendas? One suspects the state that ranked first in outbound migration from July 2018 to July 2019 will see even greater levels of the same, as more and more people see the folly of attempting to legislate “utopian” outcomes with ever-increasing government intrusion into ever more aspects of life.

Ironically, Californians will vote this year on a referendum deciding whether or not affirmative action will be reinstated in public hiring, contracting, and college admissions, 24 years after voters roundly rejected it by a margin of 54.55% to 45.45%.

Yet if it’s defeated again, what’s the difference? Democrats have mandated it in the corporate boardroom and are studying a taxpayer-funded scheme of economic “affirmative action” as well — utterly irrespective of voter preferences.

It’s what one-party governance is all about.

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