Jennifer Schubert-Akin has an op-ed in today’s Washington Examiner discussing Monday’s debate between Jason Riley, columnist and editorial board member at the Wall Street Journal, and Donna Brazile, veteran Democratic Party strategist, titled “Liberty and Justice for All: A Conversation on Social Justice and Identity.”
In the op-ed, Jennifer asks whether MLK would support identity politics initiatives such as Boulder’s “Racial Equity Plan.” She writes:
Consider the Boulder City Council’s recently adopted Racial Equity Plan. Though vague, it seems to prioritize race over (or at least alongside) professional qualifications when making municipal decisions. According to the city website, “The Racial Equity Plan is a living road map that will guide the City of Boulder government through the process of prioritizing goals, specifying details, and assigning resources to achieve meaningful change.”
Like other identity-based movements in history, racially-based employment practices may only be the beginning of more radical abridgments of individual rights to come. “Racial equity will mean that people have to give up comfort and power,” said Boulder activist Liz Morasco at a recent public hearing on the plan. “But let’s not fool ourselves. That doesn’t mean we force people to sit in trainings. It means money, and it means land.”
Such racial equity movements are attempts to overcome what proponents see as institutionalized racism. But is identity politics the best way to achieve the nation’s founding goal of liberty and justice for all? Or would a renewed commitment to Dr. King’s vision of judging people as individuals, based on their unique characters and skills, be a more just approach for governments, businesses, and universities to follow?
No one is disputing that racial injustices still occur. For instance, research suggests that hiring managers often discriminate against minority applicants. According to a 2016 Harvard Business School study, black job applicants whose resumes included ethnic information received callbacks 60 percent less often than if they scrubbed their resumes of racial clues.
Yet the problem with trying to address these injustices with equity solutions is that they perpetuate the problem they’re trying to solve: racial preference. Equity, diversity, and inclusion programs that are metastasizing throughout American institutions are little more than racial quota systems. So-called “anti-racism” initiatives don’t just try to root out racism — by, say, advocating for racially blind interview callback decisions — but swing the historical racial pendulum in the other direction to discriminate against whites or Asians.
Like racism, identity politics and equity initiatives are collectivist ideologies that subjugate individual attributes for tribalism and serve only to pit one group against another. Most equity movements would unfairly give President Obama’s daughters’ preference over the daughter of a West Virginian coal miner.
These social justice movements often discriminate against Asians and Jews, who have also faced historical racial injustices, yet disproportionately excel scholastically and economically. Princeton University research finds that Asian students must score, on average, 450 points higher than black students on the SAT exam (out of 1600) to get into the same university.
Basing hiring and promotion decisions on race may even be illegal. The Civil Rights Act “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.” Anti-racism, to favor a given race, is still discrimination.
Read the full op-ed at the Washington Examiner HERE.