NYT: Government funding based on skin color is ALLEGEDLY discriminatory

Who says that the New York Times has lost its ability to be neutral? “A Covid-19 Relief Fund Was Only for Black Residents. Then Came the Lawsuits.”:

Oregon earmarked $62 million to explicitly benefit Black individuals and business owners. Now some of the money is in limbo after lawsuits alleging racial discrimination. …

But now millions of dollars in grants are on hold after one Mexican-American and two white business owners sued the state, arguing that the fund for Black residents discriminated against them.

The journalists can’t say whether or not a government fund reserved for people with a particular skin color actually is discrimination based on race, so they report on what was alleged or argued.

Also of interest in the article, the most persuasive argument for why this fund should be able to discriminate on the basis of race is that other government programs are already discriminating on the basis of race:

Supporters of the fund argued that the $62 million accounted for about 4.5 percent of what the state received, leaving plenty for residents who are not Black. They also noted that other Covid-19-related funds were tailored in a way that allowed them to almost exclusively benefit particular racial or ethnic groups — a $10 million fund created by the state that largely benefits undocumented Latino immigrants and one created by Portland officials to aid a district of largely Asian-owned businesses.

What’s the fund for the undocumented?

The Oregon Worker Relief Fund provides financial support directly to Oregonians who have lost their jobs yet are ineligible for Unemployment Insurance and federal stimulus relief due to their immigration status, and now face hunger, homelessness, and economic hardship.

This raises another issue… the state money is coming from a separate source compared to the federal money. Wouldn’t the 14th Amendment‘s Equal Protection clause require the state to make money equally available to the documented, undocumented, and non-immigrant?

3 thoughts on “NYT: Government funding based on skin color is ALLEGEDLY discriminatory

  1. > fund created by the state that largely benefits
    > undocumented Latino immigrants

    That’s a fine example of how a policy considered “progressive” can turn 180°: “A third item of the program supported by many leaders of the social justice movement was the imposition of some restriction on the enormous numbers of immigrants then coming to American shores. Restriction or, if possible, putting an end altogether to immigration had long been a prime objective of the A.F. of L. and other labor groups, whose spokesmen claimed unrestricted immigration operated to depress wages in the United States. Appalled by the dire effects of unrestrained immigration on American institutions, a number of leading sociologists and social workers supported the movement.”

    – from Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era 1910-1917 by Arthur Link. So it did take a little longer to turn that one around, compared to Governor Cuomo’s recent conversion from pro- to anti-lockdown.

  2. One way to look at this is to treat it as a language problem, for a culture and a language (and body of legal precedent) that are in transition, and so journalists find themselves at one of those awkward “in between” moments.

    It’s a little like what happens when a programming language evolves from one major version to the next. Say, Python 2.6 to Python 3.9. The language changes, as reserved words and concepts are deprecated, others are invented and added, etc. It’s not surprising you pick up on that so clearly (after all, “Academic computer scientists are the smartest people in the world.” – from “Sites that Are Really Programs” Example 5, “Bill Gates Personal Wealth Clock” https://philip.greenspun.com/panda/server-programming ).

    The basic problem is that another legally legitimate term for racial set-asides is needed so that *discrimination* (in the pejorative sense that the Revolucion Coffee House https://revolucioncoffeehouse.com/ is *alleging*) simply longer applies to those efforts. Then, nobody will be able to allege *discrimination* because a new class of legal concepts will cover the Oregon Relief fund and others similarly constructed.

    We can’t call it affirmative action, either, because that’s another can of worms. So something new has to be invented to resolve the problem. The article was written to call attention to the need for those terms, and warn people about the threat to the nascent concepts involved which arise because the language hasn’t kept up with the pace of Social Justice.

    Someone is working on it. Maybe George Lakoff.

    • Addendum: This is part of the reason “liberal” commentators started urging Stephen Breyer to retire immediately:

      https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/06/liberals-to-breyer-retire-455321

      “Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina Representative who has been involved in several presidential campaigns, tweeted Tuesday night that if Senate Democrats win the majority “I need Justice Breyer to announce retirement at 12:01pm on January 20th.”

      Timing is everything! And we can see that “liberals” have no compunction about pressuring Supreme Court Justices to end their careers to comport with their plans. Indeed, there’s a large and loosely-affiliated group of legal academics who do almost nothing else but think of the timing of major events like that, because of the cases they see coming in the pipeline.

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