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Friday, June 14, 2024

Playing the game

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The tragically named American Alliance For Equal Rights succeeded in getting its fellow travelers on the Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action – but only the kind that benefits Black Americans. If anyone thought that the organization’s founder, Edward Blum, was going to rest after this temporary victory, they have officially been disabused of that naïve notion.

Consider the following: There is a Black-owned venture capital firm, Fearless Fund, that has invested roughly $27 million in 40 companies that are owned by women of color – including the well-known Slutty Vegan franchise. Launched four years ago, Fearless Fund has also awarded nearly $4 million in grants. 

The venture capital market totaled roughly $216 billion in 2022. According to research co-conducted by Federal Reserve Governor Lisa Cook, only 1% of such funding goes to Black- and Hispanic-owned companies. Arian Simone, co-founder of Fearless Fund, stated that it would take billions of dollars just to get that number to 2%. Yet, even 1% of venture capital funds going to Black and Hispanic small businesses is too much for Blum and his ilk. They have sued – yes, sued – Fearless Fund for “racial discrimination”.

It is no accident that Blum is going after a small, Black-owned firm. The legal strategy is simple. With fewer financial resources at its disposal, Fearless Fund presumably would put up less of a fight than a bigger company. Blum is literally banking on the notion that he can get laws changed on the cheap. Fortunately, several prominent Black attorneys have stepped up to work with Fearless Fund.

Blum’s actions can only be described as – and I don’t use this term haphazardly – sick. I genuinely tried to identify a more appropriate adjective; I couldn’t. It is sick to pretend to fight racial discrimination by fighting the remedies that were created to combat actual racial discrimination. It is akin to claiming to fight sexual assault by attacking victims of sexual assault. It isn’t bad enough that the efforts to foster racial equality are relatively few and generally inadequate; Blum is fighting like hell to ensure that even those go away. In his twisted worldview, the only way to ensure “racial equality” is for Black people to remain stranded at the bottom of the economic barrel.

I have a simple solution to blunt the attacks from those, like Blum, who want to prolong the legacy of apartheid in America: Black people should stop saying that our programs are for Black people – without actually changing the programs. What do I mean? For the last several decades, virtually every Black person has heard some version of the following: “You people have BET, the Miss Black America Pageant, Black History Month, etc. What if we (i.e., white people) had a White History Month or White Entertainment Television??”

The answer is simple. All twelve months (including February) are “White History Month”. Nearly every network (especially Fox News) is “White Entertainment Television”. The Wall Street Journal is, essentially, a newspaper for white people. The difference is that most white people are wise enough not to call attention to the fact that their businesses exist primarily to serve white people. (I am reminded of Eddie Murphy’s hilarious SNL skit from several years ago.) Those who complain so passionately about Black versions of such institutions seem to forget that they were created in response to us being excluded from the white versions.

Black-owned entities should keep doing what they’re doing, but simply stop labeling their actions as being for Blacks. (This tactic has worked, in reverse, for Rolling Stone magazine for decades.) What would happen? Well, if Blum and the other defenders of apartheid sued Fearless Fund under those changed circumstances, it would trigger a flood of lawsuits against white-owned venture capital firms. Instead of looking at racial labels, the courts would be forced to rule on outcomes that have a disparate racial impact. Those are legal fights that I would welcome.

As an example, I envision Blum railing against “ethnically-based scholarships”, only to have the defense team point out that the majority of ethnically-based scholarships are for students of European descent. His argument would be self-defeating. Speaking of which, the fact that he isn’t going after scholarships for European Americans is strong evidence that he is only concerned about “racial discrimination” when the beneficiaries are Black.

Blum is cut from the same cloth as Richard Spencer, Stephen Miller, Charlie Kirk, and Steve Bannon. The only difference is that the latter are explicit in their advocacy of anti-Black racism. It’s the modern-day equivalent of the KKK (i.e., Spencer, et al) being overtly racist while “white citizens councils” or the John Birch Society (i.e., Blum) are the sanitized version.

I greatly anticipate the interminable fights ahead – and there are sure to be many. Yet, victory never tastes so sweet as when it is hard-won. We will not rest until “justice (runs) down like waters, and righteousness like a might stream”.

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