What does the Biden administration hope to accomplish with its many racial “equity” initiatives?
Because if the president means what he says, he’s going to have to fire some black federal employees to make room for workers of other races.
Here’s why: On a Friday afternoon in late June, Biden issued yet another Executive Order. This EO, on “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce,” claims to build on early equity initiatives announced by Biden.
As the Washington Post reported, a White House factsheet that accompanied the order praised Biden’s “ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda” and claimed such an ambitious agenda was necessary because “the enduring legacies of employment discrimination, systemic racism, and gender inequality are still felt today. Too many underserved communities remain under-represented in the Federal workforce, especially in positions of leadership.”
Biden said the EO “will help develop a federal workforce that looks like America, where qualified people from every background and walk of life have an equal opportunity to serve our Nation.”
The only problem? The federal workforce is already 18.3 percent black, meaning that black people, who make up around 13 percent of the population, are over-represented in federal employment. Hispanics, by contrast, are only 8 percent of the federal workforce despite being 18 percent of the population. Whites and Asians are also slightly overrepresented compared to the general population.
How to square Biden’s talk about “equity” with these simple facts? After all, “equity,” as the Biden administration defines it, assumes racial disparities are a result of structural discrimination and must be corrected. This initiative is explicitly designed to achieve racially proportional “outcomes.”
As the EO itself notes, every federal government agency must now “take an evidence-based and data-driven approach to determine whether and to what extent agency practices result in inequitable employment outcomes, and whether agency actions may help to overcome systemic societal and organizational barriers.” (Emphasis added). This is another way of saying that in areas where equality of opportunity has not yielded equal outcomes, agencies should socially engineer those outcomes in the name of equity.
Wouldn’t this require the federal government to focus most of its efforts on recruiting more Hispanic employees, while also limiting the numbers of white, Asian, and black employees?
In fact, this EO, like many of the Biden administration’s “equity” initiatives, is a bureaucratic boondoggle and denial of equal opportunity all done in the name of constituent service. Like the administration’s debt relief package for minority farmers, whose blatantly racist premise prompted a federal judge to block the program after a white farmer sued, this most recent EO is yet another effort to replace equality of opportunity with equality of outcome, all supposedly in service of ending what the EO describes as “systemic and institutional racism.”
New equity positions should also be created: The EO insists that agencies “establish a position of chief diversity officer or diversity and inclusion officer (as distinct from an equal employment opportunity officer)” and also “strongly consider for employment, to the extent permitted by applicable law, qualified applicants of any background who have advanced diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the workplace.” The EO also establishes a government-wide initiative led by the Office of Personnel Management “charging federal agencies with identifying, within 100 days, barriers to employment and developing strategic plans to eliminate them.”
It’s becoming increasingly clear that any effort to acknowledge improvements in race relations and achievements by minority groups is viewed as a threat to the equity narrative Democrats want to promote. As a writer for Spiked bluntly observed, “It is a matter of survival, for the Democrats, that ‘black’ Americans must continue to see themselves as a distinct racial group, at odds with the rest of society—and that they look to the Democrats for salvation. The fact that America is obviously far, far less racist than it used to be, must therefore never be admitted.”
Federal racial equity initiatives like the ones pursued by the Biden administration do little to engage the major underlying social forces that still negatively impact many in the African-American community: failing public schools, disproportionately high violent crime rates, and crumbling family structures, for example. Nor do they acknowledge the significant educational and professional successes of minorities in the U.S. Those are stories we should celebrate far more often because, unlike useless bureaucratic “equity” initiatives, they came about as the result of the hard work, initiative, perseverance, and optimism of individuals.