Are Remedies Discriminatory?

If I started a nonprofit that provided wheelchairs only to crippled people, would I be discriminating against people who aren’t “mobility-challenged”? 

If I established a mentoring organization to assist kids who were failing math, would I be discriminating against kids who were doing well in math?

What if I started a foundation focused on–and limited to– helping Black women entrepreneurs? Would that amount to discrimination against Whites and men?

The courts are about to answer that last question.

Each of the efforts I’ve described center on helping a population that demonstrably needs a helping hand: people who cannot walk unaided, kids who struggle with math, Black businesswomen disadvantaged by years of discrimination. 

It turns out that the White Wing–aka the Right Wing–strongly objects to efforts to ameliorate that latter disadvantage, seeing such remedial efforts as discrimination against White folks. And our reactionary Supreme Court may well agree with them.

They might be courtroom adversaries, but Arian Simone swears she and the man suing her venture capital firm want the same thing: an America where race does not matter.

The difference is that Simone believes race-specific initiatives like the Fearless Fund are essential to achieving that ideal. Given that Black-owned start-ups secured less than 1 percent of the nation’s VC spending last year, she said, “I can’t stop.”

But the conservative activist driving the lawsuit, Edward Blum, says racial equity is not one-sided. That’s why he insists that the fund’s grant program for Black women is discriminatory, in one of the most-watched civil rights cases since he was on the winning side of the landmark Supreme Court decision that overturned race-conscious college admissions.

In the coming months, a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Florida will decide whether to block the Atlanta-based Fearless Fund from awarding $20,000 grants to Black female-owned businesses while the case is litigated in trial court. The stakes could not be higher, as evidenced by the legal firepower lining up on both sides and the swarm of amicus briefs, illustrating the vastly different interpretations of the nature of discrimination, the role of history in shaping public policy and how civil rights should work in America.

Four years of Donald Trump’s Court appointments have distorted more than just the Supreme Court; two of the three judges on the 11th Circuit panel are Trump appointees, and according to the linked report, have appeared skeptical of the Fund’s argument that its targeted giving is “charitable giving” protected by the First Amendment.

Should Blum’s American Alliance for Equal Rights prevail, the case could have sweeping implications for any race-based initiative in the private sector, particularly grant programs, scholarships and other efforts with monetary benefits, according to observers on both sides of the issue. In less than a year, Blum’s legal nonprofit organization has reached settlements in about a half-dozen cases involving scholarships and fellowships at large law firms, as well as a Texas-based grant program for minority and women entrepreneurs. All agreed to drop racial criteria to resolve the discrimination claims.

The attorney who filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund has accused the plaintiffs of “taking the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and trying to turn it on its head, so that it becomes weaponized and undermines efforts to do exactly what the Civil Rights Act was intended to do, which was be remedial and race-conscious.”

The lawsuit is an attack on efforts at remediation. Fearless Fund was established to address what it called “the chasm in venture capital for start-ups run by women of color.”  In 2018, the year the Fund was established, businesses headed by Black women received exactly 1 percent of the $131 billion invested that year. Conservatives argue that targeting investments in an effort to level the playing field is anti-business and–horrors!– meant to promote a “liberal agenda.” The lawsuit is part and parcel of the broader backlash against DEI efforts in higher education and the business world. Civil Rights organizations respond that the Fund’s grant program is a form of charitable giving —  much like organizations that support people of a certain heritage, such as the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America.

As one commentator has written, the case should trouble people who value the independence of American philanthropic institutions– even opponents of affirmative action and DEI. Fearless Fund grants are awarded by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that should have the right to target its grant program as it chooses.

 Conservatives used to advocate for limits on government intrusion into private behaviors. I guess that was only so long as those private behaviors benefitted White men. 


  1. This is a prime example of just where the racism of the MAGA movement has been heading all along. Legal attacks on any and all efforts to level the playing field of economics. They no longer wear white robes to do their hate work; they wear suits, ties and carry brief cases.

  2. The echos of Jim & Juan Crowe legislation are alive and well in the fascist movement that calls itself “conservatism”.

  3. We were fortunate that the bulk of Trump world was evil but stupid / incompetent. Now we see that some of them are evil and clever. Scary

  4. Wait a minute! If it’s legal to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding, why would it be illegal to refuse a grant to a white man? Even a 501C3 is a private company. I don’t recall anything in the tax code that refutes that so why should any corporation be required to do business with any jerk who walks through their door?

    Maybe the defendant should claim a biblical reason d’etre! The gospel according to Matthew can give them the cover for that claim.

  5. Agree with Peggy. Fake piety seems to be the lone get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to having your cake and eating it too.

  6. id like to know the VC % of loans to buy a truck and start a buisness hauling to pad everyones elses sure its below 1%. we are the poster child of discrimtory lending to start a buisness, and thats any race..see milk carton pic.
    best wishes all, one of Minnsotas highway contractors paving in NoDak on a U.S. highway project, (everything is contracted even this oil)to pave your highways decided yesterday to cut its cost and buy 1/2 price asphault oil(breaking this contract with Cenex) with your infrastructure money from Canada. the corps name is CSI, st cloud mn, im sure the profits from that will sit well with its investors. after 6 days of balls out work,with no issues. we just lost alot of work hauling this item with no will now be supplied by canada….last year we lost 30% of our work over this canadian subsidized oil scam,bought with your infrastructure money…

  7. Power – Money – Control – The Supreme Court clearly represents Wealthy/Powerful Privileged White Men – who want to maintain – Control. Affirmative Action is intended to do – as it has done for Centuries! Going to Harvard – is the Right for Jared Kushner’s Father – to pay his way in and for Harvard to rest on its Wealth. Black Women – are welcome as long as they submit to the Rules – One Strike and One is OUT! We – inbetween – IF we play by the Rules – get token – Support!

  8. That is an outdated finding. Since 2018, the actual percentage has dropped well below 1%, which is a sign that once awareness fades on a particular subject, VC firms return to their old models.

    The World Economic Forum proposes a solution: targeted tax credits for VC firms investing in minority-owned startups, especially those led by women. However, the potential threat of conservative attorney William Blum, who has dismantled DEI programs at universities and law firms, looms large. It’s likely he has a hidden backer for these lawsuits, as this isn’t a financially rewarding pursuit for a lawyer.

    At least we know that MAGA means returning to the ’50s or before the successes of the ’60s civil rights movements.

    However, venture capitalism is color-blind, and rewards are based on merit. Instead of adding incentives at the VC level, wouldn’t it make more sense to find out why less than 1% of minorities receive VC funding? How many are even applying for competitive rounds of funding? How many are enrolled in entrepreneurship programs at universities? What about high school programs? Do we need to start even younger to build entrepreneur skills for minorities?

  9. Should the government be employed to help those who need help or serve those who don’t need help? Slavery was a good example. Why should the government interfere to help slaves?

    The entire Social Security set of programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, are other examples.

    All Jeff Bezos needs from the government is infrastructure, security from ill-intended domestic and foreign people, and protection from Mother Nature. Should the government be limited to only those things needed by the wealthiest and, therefore, most powerful or everyone else?

    In other words, should the government be for all of the people or only the few?

    Tyrants possess government, not serve the governed. Is that what we want?

    On the other hand, is it reasonable to expect those without natural or cultural impediments and with effective parenting and public education should take care of themselves? What about the others?

  10. The Cyrus cylinder 539 B.C
    Magna Carta: 1215
    English Bill of Rights: 1689
    French Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen: 1789
    US Constitution and Bill of Rights: 1791
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): 1948

    These and other documents reflected the human right to equality, preferred religion, food, shelter, general welfare, and the right to live life in peace.

    So obviously this has been recognized as an issue for many millennia, and, to not correct wrongful conduct by government towards specific races, colors, creeds, and gender, would be an historical abomination.

    This particular country has historically gone against these historical documents, and when the better amongst us correct some of the issues, those corrections end up rolled back. Why? Because, the human heart on the whole, is not kindly. A majority might have a decent conscience, but when you give the rebellious, narcissistic, entitled, and racist minorities a voice equal to everyone’s, and the tools to assure minority control, this country has failed its experiment. And actually, humanity has failed it’s experiment.

    IMHO, Blum needs to be tared and feathered, and run out on a rail. The minority Confederate miscreants, absolutely want to pull rights away from those that they don’t like because of their differences, why do you think they are rolling back so many of the civil rights laws and voters rights. Or, federal protection concerning elections, and, having free access to the polls.

    It’s just another sign of the times, as you can see by the documentation, there was and is a recognized issue with everyone having the right to live life just as everyone else, humanity just cannot seem to grasp that these things should be a given, or as some would say, a god-given right.

    With the technological connections across his planet, and the so-called six degrees of separation, the only thing that we are getting closer to, is a planetary crisis that is going to lead to a very very dark place.

  11. A level playing field wool seem like a loss to the already wealthy and prioritized.

  12. These Maga folks are doing a good job in twisting congressional intent underlying passage of laws which by themselves or through arming others to correct obvious injustices via the grant and other industries. So the Constitution requires that descendants of slave holders enriched by free labor are entitled to the same consideration as descendants of slaves who were impoverished by such system? How did that “issue” get into today’s system of adjudication? Standing to sue? Case or controversy? Don’t Sam and Clarence have more important matters to adjudicate?

  13. I’m confused about why it is another person’s business if I raise money and give it exclusively to a group I want to help. How is it different as Sheila notes above. I start a fund for helping veterans. Why should someone butt in?

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