Don’t Help Those People!!

When do efforts to ameliorate past disadvantage turn into unconstitutional discrimination?

It’s a fair enough question; if demographic change gives people of color the power to make the nation’s laws, and they use that power to privilege themselves and disadvantage Whites, that would clearly be wrong. While accusations of “reverse discrimination” tend to be prompted more by racism than actual unfairness, there have been some cases where courts have found such reverse discrimination. 

But let’s get real! Efforts to help people overcome longstanding structural disadvantage aren’t plots against Whites. The current attacks on “woke” corporate efforts to ensure fairness are more often than not barely-veiled efforts to maintain previous, racist barriers.

I was particularly struck by a recent report in the Washington Post.

The article began by recounting an entrepreneurial  bright idea. Patterning her project after those ubiquitous food trucks, a young Black woman in Atlanta bought an old school bus, painted it white, tore out the floor and seats, and added manicure stations. The effort took off, and she was booking weddings and parties.

Looking to scale up, she approached a grant program for Black, female entrepreneurs run by Fearless Fund, an Atlanta-based venture capital firm.

The firm had planned to name the latest round of grant winners before Labor Day. But Fearless Fund has agreed to delay the awards as it finds itself ensnared in the nation’s rapidly expanding legal brawl over affirmative action.

Edward Blum, whose lawsuit prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the use of racial preferences in college admissions, targeted the Fearless Fund in early August, claiming it engaged in “explicit racial exclusion” by operating a grant program “open only to Black females.” The lawsuit — which asked the court to prevent the fund from selecting its next round of grant winners — is one of the most prominent in a flurry of recent lawsuits and legal claims by conservative activists aimed at applying the Supreme Court’s insistence on race-blind college admissions practices to the corporate sphere of hiring, contracting and investment.

Blum has also sued two law firms over their operation of fellowship programs aimed at students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities, alleging that the exclusion of applicants who don’t fall into those categories is discriminatory, and demanding that the programs be shut down.

It will not surprise you to learn that a Google search to find cases in which Blum challenged programs that preferred White folks was unsuccessful….

Fearless Fund is one of several entities trying to help minority entrepreneurs who have encountered race-based barriers to capital:

Fearless Fund is one of dozens of firms geared toward combating the well-documented racial imbalance in U.S. venture capital: Last year, 1.1 percent of the $214 billion in venture capital funding allocated went to companies with Black founders, according to data from Crunchbase. In 2019, research from Stanford University concluded that founders of color face more bias from professional investors the better they perform.

The women who established Fearless Fund had been personally affected by the wildly disproportionate funding available to Black and White enterprises, and wanted to help other Black women facing the barriers that they’d struggled to overcome. They’ve lined up a heavyweight defense team, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Ben Crump.

The lawsuit against the Fearless Fund, Crump told The Post, “is an attack by the enemies of equality, to say ‘You will never be equal.’”…

The lawsuit claims that the venture capital firm’s practice of awarding $20,000 grants, business support services and mentorship to Black women-owned businesses violates a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that guarantees “race neutrality” in contracts. That legislation, which was passed after the Civil War to protect the rights of people freed from enslavement, is also being used in similar lawsuits — along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — to claim that companies’ attempts to eradicate racial inequality qualify as discrimination.

Unsurprisingly, Blum and his fellow champions of racial neutrality were nowhere to be found–in the courts or in the court of public opinion–when corporate practices blatantly favored Whites, making their current pious pronouncements about favoritism and discrimination ring especially hollow.

Federal laws that were intended to ensure equal opportunity and rights for people of color “are now being used as a weapon to deny them rights,” said Kenneth Davis, professor of law and ethics at Fordham University. “It’s the height of irony.”

That irony is proliferating. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision striking down college affirmative action programs, a federal judge has ruled that an SBA program for historically-disadvantaged groups is unconstitutional.

Maybe next they can attack scholarships for poor students on the grounds that they discriminate against the rich….


  1. Does the Fearless Fund get any of its money from the government? This needs to be answered before we wade into this mess.

  2. Theresa, that was just the question that had entered my mind.
    Sadly, as we see in so many situations, all it takes is just one bozo to drive fairness operations into
    the ground; just the opposite of the idea that all it takes is just one person to right a wrong!

  3. This situation in Georgia is one that is known throughout this nation in too many forms to count. I can go back to the 1950s when I found my Black friend, Joyce, crying in the fitting room of sewing class. When I asked what was wrong she said, “I’m not ashamed I am colored but I can’t help it either.” and showed me the C grade on her grade card. She was required to take sewing for Home Economics major but was a professional level seamstress and wanted the cooking classes. Being high school kids, nothing we could do about the teacher’s racism but we quietly organized and ignored the teacher the rest of the semester and when we needed help, we would signal Joyce to meet us in the fitting room. The teacher sat at her desk with nothing to do, occasionally walking around to ask us if we needed help…we didn’t need help from her. We do what we can do IF we care enough about the issue of racism. But the Fearless Fund is not a high school sewing class but an ongoing situation which will have repercussions on Georgia’s population and probably followed by other red states.

    White privilege is rampant at the top level of our government today with the state of Georgia topping the list. We watch unconstitutional discrimination by sitting House members against the Black woman Judge Fani Willis as she stands strong against the entire White Republican party to follow the state and Constitutional laws to bring to justice the old white men, lead by Trump, try to prevent his January 6th charges from being heard in the Georgia court system. Trump’s 20+ years of unpaid taxes and 19 sexual abuse charges have disappeared into his murky past criminal actions. The world watched him spend his presidency pandering to racists and his current former president status as his attorneys work to assure his criminal actions be forgotten as he is allowed to continue his candidacy for a return to the presidency. Affirmative Action in reverse which will destroy this democracy if our courts are not allowed to bring his many indictments into court for justice; which today appears to favor his being acquitted as he was with TWO IMPEACHMENTS. He is currently a private citizen; other private citizens, Black and White and all other races, would already be in prison or acquitted to carry on their lives.

  4. Yep,

    What JoAnn Said!! Right on….

    Stop the legacy admission practice in colleges and universities.

  5. JoAnn said it all, distinctly and succinctly. It all boils down to what I call white spite, that POC should get a break—no matter how small and how inconsequential to white people overall, just because. And to actually weaponize the two Civil Rights acts against the very people they’re intended to help? Beyond disgusting.

  6. JoAnn said it all, distinctly and succinctly. It all boils down to what I call white spite, that POC should get a break—no matter how small and how inconsequential to white people overall, just because. And to actually weaponize the two Civil Rights acts against the very people they’re intended to help? It’s beyond disgusting.

  7. White and black supremacists are at each other’s throats for the first time a a couple of hundred years but for wildly different reasons.

    White supremacists what their supremacy back. Black supremacists demand jubilee. Slightly different ingredients in anger since the Civil War.

    How long will it take the pendulum to find center?

  8. I don’t see the government interest in private equity funds. It appears to be discriminatory at face value whereas, if it were for students where discrimination has been shown, requires government interference.

    The line between efforts to ameliorate past disadvantage and unconstitutional discrimination is a complex one that has been the subject of much legal debate. There is no easy answer, and the Supreme Court has often struggled to come up with a clear rule.

    In general, the Supreme Court has held that affirmative action programs are constitutional if they are narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest. The government must show that the program is necessary to remedy past discrimination or to prevent future discrimination. The program must also be temporary and must not be used to create a permanent underclass.

    There are a number of factors that the Supreme Court considers in determining whether an affirmative action program is constitutional. These factors include the history of discrimination, the nature of the program, and the impact of the program on non-minority applicants.

    I wonder if Mr. Blum has taken on “black chambers of commerce?” Has there been any evidence that black merchants were excluded from regular chambers of commerce? And I mean hard facts vs. hurt feelings?

    We established one locally as a result of tensions after Floyd’s murder, and I still believe it was a mistake.

  9. Lately, I have been wondering if the proliferation of right wing organizations that bring obscure law suits are really sincere or just in it for the money they raise. The issues they go after are always religious or racial, thus insuring that strong emotions will drive support. And the general public has yet to catch onto the fact that those “not for profits” pay big salaries to their executive staff.
    Lots of money to be made from grievance, hatred and self-righteousness.

  10. Oh my. Those poor privileged white men sure are feeling threatened. How dare people of color be given a chance to succeed in the business world! Their hard work and vision for a better future should not be rewarded nor should they receive any kind of assistance in their struggle to succeed. Why, providing a small hand up to people of color might infringe on the territory and wealth that has been handed down to white men for generations – wealth and opportunity that many didn’t even have to work for – and we just can’t have that. It’s not fair. What is this world coming to?

    I can only respond to today’s blog post with sarcasm or anger – so I chose sarcasm.

  11. Dare I wade in here with this…another view…it is not discrimination to have a MISSION to and/or MARKET an opportunity to one or more specific groups and make selection on objective critteria. Likewise, if the opportunity selection is based on economic status, not “race”/ethnicity, you will be sure to have helped more of the underserved. How hard is either one?

    Also, It is becoming more and more duly noted in research that the trending of Latino and Asian voters away from DEMs is due to perceived “identity politics”.

  12. Re: Theresa’s statement “Lots of money to be made from grievance, hatred and self-righteousness.”

    I would add that these lawsuits are also meant to either maintain or gain power and privilege. Power and privilege that white men had long before the establishment of this country’s government. Power and privilege the educated and well-to-do white men had before they chose to emigrate here from Europe.

  13. If the Dems keep and expand their Senate majority and take back the House, they need to amend the Civil Rights Act to make it clear that programs to address discrimination would be allowable until the numbers clearly showed that significant progress had been achieved. I don’t care if that is done first or after they pass a bill stating that a vote to spend automatically raises the debt ceiling, sending the need to raise the debt ceiling independently to oblivion.

  14. I remember a sexist (and creepily always leering at the girls) gym teacher who would deliberately make girls play co-ed games in which they were physically at a disadvantage and then laugh when they failed, saying things like, “you wanted equality, right?”

    This is fascism, pure and simple. The resentment comes not just from hatred of minorities or women, but most importantly from a hatred of those who don’t know their place. The primary motivation here is the herding instinct: the desire to be the snitch, the classroom suck up, the overbearing police officer, or the Karen/Kevin. It’s pure authoritarian personality on display.

  15. Wordplay. Continue to help those who need help, and if that does not include Elon and Gates, so be it. They will survive.

  16. Oh these poor white folks. Waa, waa, waa. Actually these lawsuits make me feel quite sick. Go visit Pine Ridge and tell me discrimination has to be proven with an essay explaining it. Do we not have eyes to see or ears to hear?

  17. So, here is yet another brilliant move by DeSantis to make things better in his version of what (white) America ought to be:
    “He announced the appointment of Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich to the Florida Commission on Ethics.”

  18. Lester,

    I have to agree with your assessment.

    There are actually a significant amount of Latino / Hispanics that favor the Republican party. The same with many of Asian ethnicities. Some Chinese immigrants have a superiority complex, Filipinos are different than the Vietnamese, and they are different than the Asian Indians, and they are different than the Koreans, And they are different than the Indonesians, and so on and so forth.

    In the political realm, one size doesn’t fit all. Asians and Hispanics are exactly the same, one size does not fit all. Cubans, Mexicans, South Americans, Puerto Ricans, many shades of Spanish. And those that speak the indigenous tongue before the Spanish conquistadors slaughtered their ancestors attempting to christianize and eliminate culture and language, have a huge issue with colonialism. Not unlike native Americans in this country.

    The thought of e pluribus unum is great in theory, but in the real world, old hatreds and superiorities hold the most sway. This country will never be embodied by e pluribus unum.

    The scrap heap of history is waiting.

  19. seems this has all went backwards with the free ink of social media. the people speak, bots speak, and we listen. instead of actully living it. sit down at the table, break the bread, and discuss what up. obviously, most talk is behind a curtain,and face to face intervention is a thing of the past,unless its physical/firearm/driving a car confrontation today. steping back and looking at the past, it was much ,more rewarding to discuss issues and come to some sort of reason. taking that damn thing out of your hand and seeing where, everywhere, people are absorbed into a infinate glass window of divison,even when agreeing. human intervention has disappeared for the sake of dissing everyone,i mean everyone while gathered around a table with the glowing sphere of light on someones face. sure that damn thing has its place,but its moved the people to a lost world of no connection. the rich have found its place,and its think tank exploited to divide. maybe some real world whos who of this divide,and who $upport$ it should be the conversation now, before theres another vote to distroy whats left.

  20. One doesn’t need Republicans and rural folks as exclusive examples of the He-Man Women Haters Club. Just take a look at the histrionics coming forth from the basement of disgraced and fomer big league commentator Keith Olbermann toward the accomplished athlete Riley Gaines.

    Olbermann is the epitome the modern Democrat. Another old white-guy afflicted by male-menopause.

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