Trump Administration targets Affirmative Action to stimulate midterm turnout

A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

It was Steven Bannon – at the time, President Trump’s top political advisor – who said, “If the subject is race, we win.” So, the Justice and Education departments have launched an attack on affirmative action just in time to make sure Donald Trump can exploit race to drive conservative white turnout in the mid-term elections.

While Trump will use affirmative action to focus openly on race – in addition to immigration, another code word he uses for race – affirmative action affects gender, race and disability and white women have been the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action.

The law relative to affirmative action has not changed! But in another attempt to undo the accomplishments and tarnish the legacy of the first African American President, Barack Obama, Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos are changing the Justice and Education department’s directives and reverting to former President George W. Bush’s more limiting guidelines which will negatively affect the admission of people of color and women to equal educational opportunities.

Additionally, the guidelines are being issued in a timely fashion, so they will have an impact and can be considered in an upcoming Supreme Court case involving Harvard University, alleging affirmative action is having a negative effect on Asian Americans. So, it has the added appeal to the Trump administration of being able to pit one group of people of color against another. Thus, Trump can also attempt to use affirmative action to divide communities of color.

Affirmative action is equal opportunity. Affirmative action only gets people of color, women and the disabled in the pool so all will have equal consideration for a job, job promotion, admission to educational opportunities or a business contract.

Affirmative action is not reverse discrimination.

A person or business must be qualified to be in the pool, so affirmative action is not against merit. Establishing affirmative action goals and a timetable is not a quota system. Only a judge can impose a hiring or admissions quota and then only after intentional discrimination has been proven in a court of law. Finally, for half a century the Supreme Court has said “race” and “gender” may be one of many(e.g., “disability”) considerations in the use of affirmative action.

Claiming affirmative action is reverse discrimination, against merit, a quota system or in any other way not equal opportunity, or discriminatory toward whites, is political racism – i.e., using race to achieve a desired political result, maintaining control of Congress.