Diversity and inclusion are good, unless forced.
On Feb. 6, the social justice engineers on the Frederick Board of Aldermen, with little discussion or public input, unanimously approved spending $238,000 to retain Griffin & Strong, a nationally recognized civil rights law firm, to help prove there is discrimination against minorities in the city’s business procurement practices and policies.
The firm will then help draft remedial legislation that will likely give “preference” and “quota” advantages to minorities for the city’s business contracts. Several months ago the board approved spending $150,000 to hire a workplace discrimination consultant to demonstrate discrimination in the city’s employment practices. That expert is now putting together a plan to indoctrinate city employees in “diversity, equity, and inclusion” employment practices. This identity-conscious plan will also give minorities a preference in hiring and promotion. The rationale: “Social justice and equity demands that when hiring and promoting the city government must give weight to gender, race, and ethnic identity.”
Why would the mayor and board spend taxpayer money to hire experts to prove the city government discriminates against minorities? They briefly explained the Griffin & Strong contract fit their goal from the day they came into office to make the city government more “inclusive.” What the mayor and board did not reveal is that they ran into potential legal problems when they tried to force inclusiveness and diversity into city government.
Employment and procurement policies and practices that favor those with certain identity characteristics are illegal because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Since the 1980s the Supreme Court has made clear that the only exception to qualified and merit-based equal opportunity employment and business practices and policies is when there are compelling facts of past or existing discriminatory practices against minorities that make affirmative remedial action necessary, which must be limited in scope and duration. Now we know why the board approved $388,000 to hire advocates to find the evidence they need to justify minority preferences.
It is highly unlikely the current mayor and board are capable of using race- and identity-neutral devices to assure equal protection for all citizens in a society where one’s identity characteristics are irrelevant to opportunity and achievement. They are well on their way to thoroughly repudiating Martin Luther King’s colorblind ideal.