By Jill Mari Embry: CEO Balance Innovation Center, LLC
Recently I came across an news article that was appalling, but not surprising. The recent affirmative action lawsuit that wone in the Supreme Court was just a preview of what is to come to set us back more in our fight for equality and Civil Rights. The case before the Supreme Court was meant to specifically address the use of race in college admissions. All other criteria used, including legacy admittance were not part of the lawsuit. The assumptions of the lawsuit to most Americans is that, race is used to accept lesser qualified students and works like a quota system, in which only X numbers of Latinx and Black students must be accepted, regardless of qualifications. It doesn’t consider that we, as black and brown people, may be more qualified than those white or Asian students that are accepted for various criteria used to weed out students. The reality is that race does not equal unqualified. It is used as another criteria to provide distinction between students in order to create a diverse educational environment which reflects our country’s diversity.
The lawyers that presented that case and the far right, “make America white” conservatives are not happy stopping at setting us back in university admissions. There are several states, including Ohio Texas and others that have defunded their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Offices in their state universities. I expected that the next target would be employment affirmative action and affirmative action in government hiring of employees and contracting. And although the corporate world is being targeted also, . The latest target of the lawyers in the Supreme Court case is a black women venture capital firm.
Edward Blum, who brought the lawsuits that eventually led to the Supreme Court overturning affirmative action, is now challenging corporate America’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. (Eric Lee for The Washington Post)”
I have friends that tell me that “we are all equal”. We are not. And while many of us are working to create a more perfect union by providing and increasing economic and educational opportunities for women and those frequently discriminated against, black, brown, disabled, LBTQ, etc., the conservatives are doing what they can to set us back to pre-Civil Rights. And true to history, their attacks are on those efforts to uplift non-whites and women to a level playing field.
Comically, if it were not true, they are attacking places that are so imbalanced, such as venture capital, that is meant to provide economic independence to us non-white males, at the same time as they are doing what they can to remove safety nets to economically challenged individuals. So, in their efforts to remove programs and efforts to create a more equitable society and economic empowerment for historically excluded individuals in our society, they are , in fact, working to create an non-white under class. They are working to put us back in what they consider “our place”.
This may seem like an exaggeration of their mission but looking at the statistics of the percentage of minority VC funding, the implications of the lawsuit are ridiculous. The percentage of venture capital funding going to black women has ranged from 0.2%-1.1%. And
yet, the percent of black women in the United States is 13.9% of the 49.7% of the population that is female. Based on those statistics, I have a suggestion for the conservatives that are so bent on ALL things being equal. Let’s have every VC firm, every grant provide equal opportunity by distributing funds based on the demographics of the country. So instead of 1.94% of VC money going to black females, 13.9%, , of approximately half of VC money must go to that demographic. For Hispanic or Latina women, 18.5%. Asian women 6.3%. And distribute the remaining half to men, based on demographics. Do the same for university admittance and corporate hiring. If the true concern of conservatives is equality, let’s make the institutions they are attacking, under the guise of equal opportunity, truly equal.