Diversity, race – or privilege?

00_DrEFayeWilliamsOur country is convulsing over issues of diversity and race. Police departments from Baltimore to Minneapolis are talking about diversity hiring as the antidote to anti-Black police brutality. Last year, Hollywood scrambled to find diverse Academy Award presenters after realizing its nominees were mainly White.

Last week, a deeply divided United States Supreme Court upheld the use of racial preferences in admissions at the University of Texas, giving an unexpected reprieve to the type of affirmative action policies it has allowed for nearly four decades.

A polite term
“Diversity” sounds polite and hopeful. It is how we talk when we cannot talk about race, or when Whites get nervous.

The term “affirmative action” was first used in the United States in “Executive Order No.10925”, signed by President John F. Kennedy in March of 1961, which included a provision that government contractors “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to race, creed, color or national origin.”

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 which required government employers to take “affirmative action” to “hire without regard to race, religion and national origin.”

In 1967, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list.

Equal access
Affirmative action is intended to promote the opportunities of defined minority groups within a society and to give minority groups equal access to that of the majority population.

The significance of upholding the University of Texas case and the importance of having a Supreme Court at full strength is that in past decisions, at least four Supreme Court justices believe affirmative action is unconstitutional.

In his concurrence to the first Fisher opinion, the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “The Constitution proscribes government discrimination on the basis of race, and state-provided education is no exception.” Never mind that it was state discrimination to begin with!

On the same grounds, Justice Clarence Thomas said affirmative action is equivalent to Jim Crow.

‘Just stop’
In reference to voluntary school desegregation plan –which he struck down – Chief Justice John Roberts has said, “The way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” as if race-consciousness is the same as racism.

If I understand correctly, the dissenting Justices believe Ms. Fisher is part of an oppressed class. A class that has endured years of unequal access to education, housing and employment and the like; a class in which women are paid on average only 77 percent of what men are paid, with Black women paid only 64 cents and Latinas just 55 cents.

A part of an oppressed class that can turn on the TV and continuously see her ‘sisters’ well-respected and widely represented in the News and all other mediums; that has a 70 percent chance or more of getting hired; that can rely on help from passers-by if she’s assaulted in public.

Shouldn’t be heard
The audacity of the decision is that it even reached the Supreme Court! This case not only threatened the use of racial preferences at the University of Texas-Austin, but across the nation.

In that sense, the 4-3 decision targeting only the Texas policy amounts to a partial victory for proponents of affirmative action.

To fully understand the significance of this decision, one must understand that privilege is defined as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Had it not been for her “privilege,” this case would have been stricken at the lower level!

Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Contact her via www.nationalcongressbw.org.


  1. Diversity – equal access – etc. are all code words for taking minorities and making them MORE equal, and with
    PC ruling the land no one is allowed to express their ideas anymore because they are politically incorrect to
    ask simple questions. I grew up taught that the rights of minority groups were to be protected, but not at the
    expense of the majority. Now it’s the majority that is wrong all the time, and minority groups get all the perks
    above and beyond the majority. Protecting the minority does not mean penalizing the majority. It means that
    they should not be wronged because of being a minority – NOT given special privileges or rights above and
    beyond the majority. Now if a small group doesn’t like the letter “o” the majority is at risk that we will have to
    defer to everything that the “letter O haters” request. Fair is fair but when fiend changes his name to a hispanic sounding one and immediately gets hired because of “quotas” over those with similar qualification, or even better – something is wrong. He admits that the company who hired him was obviously uncomfortable, but were afraid to say anything. Now people get fired and refuse to quit because of their minority status and continue to be paid because of their status and employers are afraid to say anything. All people ARE created Equal – it’s fine to level the playing field, but when others are given special treatment then it is the majority that is being discriminated against ! And as for “being culturally sensitive” we have lost our sense of humor about things and are starting to be as humorless as ISIS because we are like them PC without tolerance. Just my opinions and last I heard I am still allowed to have my opinions without being attacked or penalized. Let’s see !

  2. I have no opinion either way on the ruling.I am a white man. My family has always strived to be hard working, save for the future, stay focused in school, and keep your nose clean and stay out of trouble. Needless to say based on these principles we don’t need any special help or treatment from the government to enjoy a promising future. The only concern I have is I have heard that soon the white man will be in the minority, What is your response to that. Will it be OK we are diverse now and let’s turn off the tap or does the action sway toward the new minority?

    All the best!


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