In the end, it was always just about the assertion of equal protection under the law.
Freedom of Association would be the ultimate resurrection of liberty in the USA, but as long as the Federal Government just demands private companies and public institutions not enact hiring practices based on race, equal protection under the law is guaranteed.
And that means all diversity efforts to augment the number of non-whites employed within a given private company equates to discrimination against whites.
And that’s where we find ourselves at the end of 2020: it turns out diversity is just another word for being anti-white. [Trump administration targets diversity hiring by contractors, KSAT.com, October 9, 2020]:
American companies promising to hire more Black employees in leadership roles and teach their workforce about racism are getting a message from President Donald Trump’s administration: Watch your step if you want to keep doing business with the federal government.
Trump’s Labor Department is using a 55-year-old presidential order spurred by the Civil Rights Movement to scrutinize companies like Microsoft and Wells Fargo over their public commitments to diversity. Government letters sent last week warned both companies against using “discriminatory practices” to meet their goals.
Microsoft has brushed off the warnings, publicly disclosing the government inquiry and defending its plan to boost Black leadership.
But advocates for corporate diversity initiatives worry that more cautious executives will halt or scale back efforts to make their workplaces more inclusive out of fear that a wrong step could jeopardize lucrative public contracts. The agency has oversight over the hiring practices of thousands of federal contractors that employ roughly a quarter of all American workers.
“For tech companies that don’t care about these issues, the pronouncements are a dog whistle that they can carry on discriminating the way they already have,” said Laszlo Bock, an executive who ran Google’s human resources division for more than a decade and now leads software startup Humu.
Bock said those who do care, however, will see Trump’s actions as political “sound and fury” that will be hard to enforce.
“It’s not at all illegal to strive to have a workforce that reflects the makeup of your nation,” Bock said.
Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 order was designed to “adjust the imbalances of hiring that are a legacy of our racist past,” said employment attorney and public contracting expert Daniel Abrahams.
“Trump is turning it around into an instrument of white grievances,” he added.
The president has also ordered the Labor Department to set up a new hotline to investigate complaints about anti-racism training sessions that Trump has called “anti-American” and “blame-focused.” The order signed last month calls attention to discussions of deep-seated racism and privilege that could make white workers feel “discomfort” or guilt.
Trade groups representing the tech and pharmaceutical industries are protesting Trump’s new order, saying it would restrict free speech and interfere with private sector efforts to combat systemic racism.
Trump’s executive order is a twist on Johnson’s 1965 directive and amendments that followed that set rules banning discriminatory practices at companies that contract with the federal government. It requires contractors to take “affirmative action” to open the doors to hiring minorities and women.
But the Labor Department is raising questions about the specificity of commitments made by executives addressing racial injustice in response to the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that followed May’s police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in June that the tech company would double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025. Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf made a similar commitment in June to doubling Black leadership over the next five years.
Abrahams said he doubts that the Labor Department has much of a case against companies that are trying to boost diversity, though “there’s some discrimination against white people that’s probably actionable,” and courts have danced around the question of what happens when employers set “inflexible” targets for racial quotas.
But he said it’s more likely the Trump administration is using the move as a political tactic ahead of the presidential election. Trump has criticized workplace training that he says is based on critical race theory, or the idea that racism is systemic in the U.S.
Dozens of companies have ramped up their efforts to bring more Black and other minority employees into their ranks since the protests over Floyd’s death shook the country and triggered a national reckoning over racism. Many have announced initiatives specifically targeting the African American community.
It’s too bad President Trump and his administration are finally getting around to doing positive actions at the end of his first term, because there is no obvious path to a second term.
But that’s not the point: it would only take a few simple acts to restore sanity to America. Nothing dramatic, nothing outlandish, just simple acts to restore the rule of law and equal protection of all people… even whites.