Racial discrimination is all the rage these days. At least, as long as you’re discriminating against the right people.
A voguish set of bigotries have come to consume leftwing thought; a fashionable contempt toward those born into the wrong identities that festoons itself with language that imitates scholarly precision. It is the outgrowth of pseudo-academic discourse that was once consigned only to critical theory and identity-studies departments on campus, but it long ago migrated into politics and the workplace. It is burdened with enough jargon to sound authoritative, so many might find it hard to argue against. But in practice, it just looks like plain old discrimination.
In Marin County, California, elected officials recently approved the provision of a universal basic income, but only to “mothers of color.” As one of the program’s supporters noted, these disbursements will be race-based because recipients have “low income, young children” and are “facing the daily travails and insults of overt and covert racial discrimination.” But as critics noted, plenty of low-income, single mothers fit within the criteria of who could be a beneficiary. They have been weeded out only because of the assumption that the accidents of their birth already provide structural biases in their favor.
This program isn’t an outgrowth of something as Neanderthalic as racial prejudice, you see? It’s social science.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is attempting to cosset her administration with favorable press coverage by selecting the journalists who will cover her based on their race. Her assumption seems to have been that her fellow Democrats would welcome this nakedly corrupt abrogation of the American civic compact because it is being marketed as a form of reparations. She’s not discriminating against white journalists; she’s “breaking barriers” and shattering “institutionalized racism.” Those reporters may be “smart and hard-working, savvy and skilled,” Lightfoot conceded, “But mostly white, nonetheless.”
That might sound to the untrained ear like racial partiality–the privileging of certain people based on the color of their skin. But it’s most assuredly not. It’s the pursuit of “racial justice” based on conclusive academic research.
The Biden administration has fully internalized the logic of this kind of racial discrimination, which its members call “equity.” In one of its many manifestations, the administration tasked the Small Business Administration with provisioning COVID relief to affected restaurants according to the recipients’ identities. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund would prioritize applicants who are presumed to be “socially and economically disadvantaged,” which meant women and racial minorities “who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias.”
There’s just one obstacle in the path of the Democratic Party’s pursuit of social justice: the U.S. Constitution.
On Tuesday, a federal judge issued a preliminary ruling in a case brought by a white male restaurateur who claimed that the program as it is designed violates the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment. The clause was designed to prohibit racial discrimination regardless of the self-righteousness of those engaged in discrimination, and it has functioned as intended. District Judge Reed O’Connor found that the plaintiff was, indeed, “experiencing race and sex discrimination at the hand of government officials” within the Biden administration.
The government argued that such nakedly prejudicial measures were crucial for “remedying the effects of past and present discrimination” by supporting “disadvantaged small business owners . . . who have borne and outsized burden of economic harms” during the pandemic. It argued further that the SBA’s administration of this program is not distinct from other programs, which are proscribed from distributing funds “in a manner that perpetuates the effects of either public or private discrimination.” But this judge wasn’t buying it, and he slapped an injunction on the program to prevent the disbursement of all of the fund’s $28.6 billion in a discriminatory manner.
O’Connor concluded by dryly noting that the government had failed to prove that it had a compelling interest in remedying “past and present discrimination” with more discrimination. But if the government has no such interest, “Critical Race” theorists most certainly do. As Ibram X. Kendi, one of the most famous expositors of this theory that rejects classically liberal prescriptions for racial harmony, wrote: “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
Fashionable racism has overtaken one of America’s major political parties, but it has not erased generations of constitutional and jurisprudential precedents that strive toward colorblindness. For the left, “colorblindness” has become a dirty word. The very idea of meritocratic fairness is in bad odor because academia has exposed it as a lie. Egalitarianism is a myth propagated by those who would use it as a smokescreen to execute racial injustices and preserve their own societal positions. Studies have conclusively debunked the idea of the post-racial society.
These aren’t assumptions native to a parochial caste of like-thinking professionals. They are facts, long ago demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt for those who are properly educated. It’s science, and who could argue with that?