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Monday, March 27, 2023
Biden Executive Order on Equity Rhymes With Jim Crow
President Biden recently issued an executive order entitled “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” Make no mistake: this executive order has the effect of pushing us backward toward a racially divided nation, just like the good old days.
What a shame. Not thirty years ago, a very different spirit animated civil rights. Call it the Martin Luther King vision. Dr. King’s vision was fundamentally the Christian one, where every person has dignity, where racism is a sin, where race matters not at all compared to character.
Dr. King held the moral high ground here. His vision ushered in a few short decades of getting it right.
America had just emerged from two centuries as a nation embracing the opposite of Dr. King’s vision. First human slavery, then violent, racially motivated lawlessness ruled the night. This was followed by segregation in housing and transportation, separate and unequal schools, and bar-b-que only by takeout for blacks.
At the heart of all this wickedness was treating fellow Americans based on their race, not on what matters.
I fear America has lost the moral high ground. Instead of equality and dignity, new generations are schooled in racial division and the fundamental building blocks of the segregationist policies the nation fought so hard to end.
The foundation of segregation, simply, was treating people differently based on their race. This immoral foundation supported all the structures of Jim Crow, from dilapidated schools to separate water fountains.
So why does the new executive order push us back toward that wretched past? Why does it elevate race like the segregationists of old?
The executive order establishes offices throughout the federal government with legions of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” bureaucrats at the highest levels. All bureaucrats pushing race consciousness will be coordinated out of the White House.
Their job is to gauge to what degree race is being used in federal programs, employment, hiring, promotion, workplace training, benefits, grant making, federal assistance, contracting, and federal oversight of the private sector—and then turn up the dial.
Old times there are not forgotten.
These race-focused bureaucrats will maximize the use of race throughout the federal government.
Compare this to what Dr. King prescribed. Imagine Jim Crow on steroids. Imagine Jim Crow with the power of the federal government.
Highly paid bureaucrats will embed at GS-15 and SES slots to badger subservient decision-makers to judge policies by the color of people’s skin, not the content of their character.
We have flipped King’s dream upside down.
The executive order also covers “advancing community wealth building” by “facilitating equitable flows of private capital.”
In other words, the federal government now will push capital markets toward race-based decisions, just like they did in the 1940s and 1950s in the South when blacks had limited access to loans and investment capital, except this time, the other ox gets gored.
As Orwell coined it, the executive order makes things more equal.
We sure blew it. From the time the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, our nation was on the right path.
That arc of the moral universe was long, but it kept bending toward justice.
The key to the bend was to eradicate the use of race as a policy-making criterion. This was right and good because using race is a sin. It is immoral. It is just plain wrong.
Using race dehumanizes the other. When one is viewed as a racial thing, core humanity is lost.
Just like broken people, the nation engaged in this evil but struggled toward redemption.
That’s what makes the new executive order so sad. It brings into the federal government precisely that which this nation struggled so hard to eradicate.
The executive order goes so far as to define “equity” in Section 10(a) as:
“the consistent and systematic treatment of all individuals in a fair, just and impartial manner, including individuals who belong to communities that often have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander persons and other persons of color; members of religious minorities, women and girls, LGBTQI+ persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; persons who live in United States territories; persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality; and individuals who belong to multiple such communities.”
Welcome to group think. We are right back where we started, with individuals part of a racial herd.
It gets worse. In section 10(f), the executive order commands agencies to fight against “algorithmic discrimination.” You are forgiven if you never heard of such a thing.
Algorithmic discrimination includes:
instances when automated systems contribute to unjustified different treatment or impacts based on … race, color, ethnicity, sex ….; gender identity, intersex status; and sexual orientation), religion, age, national origin ….
“Automated systems” are now in the crosshairs.
This means if race-neutral algorithms have a statistically negative impact on favored races—even though the very point of using algorithms is to make the decision blindly—then, by golly, those race-neutral algorithms better take race into account.
Look away, look away, look away.
Under this executive order the federal government is now tasked with ensuring that racial outcomes infest every nook and cranny of American life.
The executive order’s nostalgic focus on race will have the ultimate effect of redistributing jobs, salaries, and income away from racially disfavored groups and toward favorite races, just like Jim Crow did.