December 3, 2020

NASDAQ Invests in Racial Discrimination

In a craven effort to appear sufficiently “woke,” the world’s second-largest exchange directs member companies to start counting by race.

In his 2003 book, Diversity: The Invention of a Concept, Peter Wood described that then-trendy word as “a large idea in the way that Wyoming is a large state” — that is, it’s a big part of everyone’s map of the U.S., but there just isn’t much there there.

Wood, though, soon began to second-guess himself, noting that Wyoming is full of wondrous things — Rock Springs, Thunder Basin National Grassland, Bighorn National Forest, Devil’s Tower, and, of course, nearly all of Yellowstone. But diversity? Not so much.

“If an idea can be said to be important simply because of the number of people who uphold it,” Wood went on, “diversity is indeed an important idea; many millions of Americans regard it so. They are, I think, mistaken.”

In the 17 years since Wood wrote those words, diversity has become ever more embedded in our culture and our way of life. By our count, there are only three monochromatic holdouts among our major institutions: the NBA, the Westminster Kennel Club, and The Washington Post. That list used to number five, but Hollywood announced that its liberal, lily-white legions would begin counting by race in 2024, and Wall Street went woke just this week, with its NASDAQ board cravenly caving to the Diversicrats.

As ABC News reports, “Nasdaq filed a proposal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday that would require all companies listed on its U.S. stock exchange to publicly disclose the diversity statistics of its board of directors. Moreover, the new rules would require companies on the stock exchange to have at least one woman director and one who self-identifies as an ‘underrepresented minority’ or member of the LGBTQ community — or face possible delisting.”

NASDAQ President Nelson Griggs, however, couched this ominous threat of delisting as — what else? — an opportunity. Now, instead of working to improve the quality of their product or service, these companies can focus on the critical task of “increasing representation of women, underrepresented minorities and the LGBTQ+ community on their boards.”

As Power Line’s John Hinderaker points out, “The purpose of a board of directors is to manage a corporation for the benefit of its shareholders. It is not to advance a collateral liberal agenda, which is what NASDAQ no doubt has in mind. It is noteworthy that the American Civil Liberties Union, which once advocated for civil rights but now is on the other side, applauded NASDAQ’s crudely discriminatory initiative.”

Not so fast, though, says attorney Hans Bader, who notes that NASDAQ’s discriminatory designs seem to runs afoul of federal law. “The stock exchange NASDAQ plans to impose racial quotas on companies that are listed on it,” he writes, “requiring them to violate federal law. Under a proposed NASDAQ rule, corporations would have to put at least one minority and one woman on their board of directors. Such racial quotas violate a federal statute, 42 U.S.C. 1981, which forbids racial discrimination in contracts, and which has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as forbidding racial quotas even when such quotas are motivated by a desire for diversity.”

Ah, yes, the Supreme Court. Thirteen years ago, in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No.1, Chief Justice John Roberts famously wrote, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Seems like a pretty sensible concept.

If NASDAQ’s dopey diversity directive ever winds its way to the nation’s highest court, we’ll get to find out whether the chief justice really believes what he says he believes.

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