Commentary

Hey Biden, If You Don't Want Discrimination, Don't Discriminate

By Jenny Beth Martin | June 4, 2021 | 2:46pm EDT
Joe Biden gives a campaign speech. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Joe Biden gives a campaign speech. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

As someone who grew up and still lives in the Atlanta metro area – where the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. still permeates the environment like the azaleas and dogwoods that bloom in April – I have had instilled in me since my childhood Dr. King’s belief that individuals should “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” And I can only wonder how Dr. King would have responded to President Biden’s plans to redress what he believes to be the result of racial discrimination by…employing more racial discrimination. 

Said Biden in Tulsa, on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre: 

We’re announcing two expanded efforts targeted toward black wealth creation that will help the entire community. The first is: My administration has launched an aggressive effort to combat racial discrimination in housing….Just imagine if instead of denying millions of Americans the ability to own their own home and build generational wealth, we made it possible for them to buy a home and build equity into that – into that home and provide for their families. Second, small businesses are the engines of our economy and the glue of our communities.…I’m determined to use every taxpayer’s dollar that is assigned to me to spend, going to American companies and American workers to build American products. And as part of that, I’m going to increase the share of the dollars the federal government spends [on] small, disadvantaged businesses, including black and brown small businesses. Right now, it calls for 10 percent; I’m going to move that to 15 percent of every dollar spent will be spent (inaudible).

And then he added the kicker: “Instead of consigning millions of American children to under-resourced schools, let’s give each and every child, three and four years old, access to school – not daycare, school.” 

First, to the obvious: If there is actually racial discrimination going on in the housing market, we already have laws on the books outlawing such practices. By all means, those laws should be enforced, and anyone practicing racial discrimination should be punished accordingly. 

That most assuredly does not mean, however, that the federal thumb should be placed on the scale, in favor of black or brown homeowners-to-be. 

Moreover, the decision to increase by 50 percent the flow of federal taxpayer dollars to the “black and brown small businesses” simply because they are owned by black or brown individuals is wrong. It would be a case of government making a financial decision not on the worthiness or the merits of the business, but on the color of the skin of the business’ owner. That is the very definition of racism. 

As for the schools, Biden knows in his heart that education is the real key to intergenerational economic mobility – and he knows black children in particular have long been denied access to the best schools. But instead of showing courage by standing up to his party’s single most important base constituency – the teachers’ unions – and overruling them to call for school choice in the form of dollars that follow the students, with parents empowered to make decisions as to which schools their children will attend, Biden instead falls back on a “solution” that will simply create more taxpayer-funded jobs for his allies in the teachers’ unions, without doing anything to advance the educational opportunities afforded young black and brown children. 

Writing more than a decade ago in the Supreme Court case of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 – sometimes referred to simply as “the PICS case” – Chief Justice John Roberts, in his plurality decision, said, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” 

This isn’t rocket science. The chief justice nailed it. If you want to end discrimination, don’t discriminate.  

Jenny Beth Martin is honorary chairman of Tea Party Patriots Action. 

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