I found this story thanks to a tweet by Heather Long:
by Tanzina Vega | @tanzinavega October 14, 2016: 11:03 AM ET
It’s one of the loneliest, most exclusive clubs in America.
Among the nation’s wealthiest Americans — known as the Top 1% — only a very small percentage are black.
To gain membership into this elite group in 2013, it required a household net worth of nearly $7.9 million, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. And only 1.7% of those who met that mark are black.
Sheila Johnson is one of them. Johnson is the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, chief executive of Salamander Hotels & Resorts and she owns a stake in three professional sports teams, including the NBA’s Wizards, the NHL’s Capitals and the WNBA’s Mystics.
Yet despite these accomplishments, Johnson said she still has had to contend with racism and biases that have presented costly and frustrating roadblocks.
Then, further down:
Eddie Brown, a Baltimore-based hotelier and chief executive of Brown Capital Management agrees. Brown and his wife Sylvia are also part of the 1% and seek to help other people of color get ahead through philanthropy and other initiatives.
Not only is the majority of the staff at Brown Capital black — a choice that Brown said is deliberate — but the couple’s charitable foundation provides grants for education, art and health initiatives that help low-income people living in Baltimore.
Think about that. If I owned a capital management firm, one licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, as Brown Capital is, and I said, in public, that “the majority of the staff at Pico Capital is white, a choice that is deliberate,” I could soon expect a visit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and quite probably the Department of Justice. Heck, I couldn’t even get away with saying that a very small, local business like a shoe store or barber shop or diner,¹ deliberately hired a majority white staff without risking legal trouble if the wrong people heard about it. Yet somehow, some way, Tanzina Vega, the CNNMoney reporter who wrote the article, and is listed as formerly “a staff reporter for The New York Times where she created and covered a beat on race and ethnicity for the national desk, reported on digital media and advertising for the business desk and covered the New York City courts for the metro section,” thought nothing at all extraordinary or potentially problematic legally about stating that Brown Capital Management deliberately engages in racial discrimination.
And this tells a great truth about race relations in the United States: while the Fourteenth Amendment states that all are entitled to the equal protection of the laws, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, under Title VII, firms and companies which meet the definitions of a covered employer² yet are owned by black Americans are apparently exempt from anti-discrimination laws, to the extent that they can admit discriminatory policies in public, with seemingly no fear of prosecution or other legal problems.
Simply put, the Civil Rights Act applies to white Americans only. Oh, that’s not the way that the law is written, of course, but that is and has been its practical application.
This is a major factor in the Donald Trump phenomenon. White Americans have long accepted the idea that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that it is illegal to discriminate, in business, on the basis of race. Yet, our society, our businesses and our public institutions are flush with discrimination on the basis of race, not only under ‘official’ Affirmative Action programs, but under the unofficial ignoring of companies like Brown Capital Management and its publicly announced policy of racial discrimination. Many white Americans ask, often subconsciously, why it is illegal for them to discriminate, yet perfectly fine for black Americans to do the same thing? If racial discrimination is wrong, then racial discrimination is wrong, period, regardless of the direction it takes. If racial discrimination ought to be ended, then the only way to end it is to end it, and not try to somehow reverse it until we reach a ‘zero’ point.
That ‘zero point’ is, I suppose, what the proponents of Affirmative Action think might somehow be reached. In the terrible case of Grutter v Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), Associate Justice Sandra O’Connor, writing for the majority, which decided that the “narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body” somehow supersedes the plain words of the Constitution, said, “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” That Opinion was delivered on June 23, 2003, which means that the majority expected that ‘zero point’ right around the end of the school year in 2028.
Well, guess what? That 25 years envisioned by the majority is already more than half gone; 13 years, 3 months and 22 days have passed since the Opinion of the Court was issued, and in that time we have seen the election, and re-election, of the first (half) black President, the continued persistence of Affirmative Action, and I would argue that race relations are worse today than they were in 2003. Miss Vega’s article is just more evidence of that, as even the wealthiest black Americans say that they somehow still feel excluded. We have the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and phrase, and those who dare to suggest that #AllLivesMatter are somehow just terribly insensitive and racist; it’s not going to make white Americans feel all warm and fuzzy when they are being told that no, their lives don’t matter as much to the left as do the lives of black Americans, and are racist for saying that they do. It’s the kind of thing that is going to generate about as much sympathy for the #BlackLivesMatter cause as deliberately blocking traffic does.³
If we are ever to have any hope of ending the effects of racial discrimination in the public square, the only solution is to end all forms of legal racial discrimination, and that must include government programs which favor one race over another. If we are to expect businesses and schools not to discriminate against black applicants and employees, then we cannot tolerate allowing businesses and schools to discriminate against white applicants and employees.4
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.
¹ – These are hypothetical examples; the only business the author owns is his website, The First Street Journal, and there are no other employees.
² – Section 701(b) defines an employer as “a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has twenty-five or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person.” Brown Capital Management’s “Our People” page carries the photographs and names of 35 employees.
³ – In the internet kerfuffle over Glenn Reynolds’ tweet suggesting that the protesters who blocked the interstates should be run down, the commenters on The Washington Post article were upset about Professor Reynolds’ comment, but there was nary a word about the frustrations of the drivers trapped by this, many of whom might well have felt that the protesters blocking their paths should be run down. Calling such a feeling ‘road rage’ ignores the fact that those protesters were deliberately creating road rage among people who were simply driving from one place to another, and minding their own business.
4 – It seems that Affirmative Action and other programs do not just discriminate against whites; Americans of Asian descent are getting the exclusion treatment because they’ve been too good