When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 to deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, he offered Americans, of all races, a compelling vision of a society no longer prejudiced by race. He envisioned a country where citizens are judged “by the content of their character” and not “the color of their skin.”
But to listen to today’s most prominent “antiracists,” King’s dream is what stands in the way of racial justice in 21st-century America. The result is the return of legal racial discrimination.
In Madison, Wisconsin, the famously leftist city government recently established a Police Civilian Oversight Board in response to activists concerned with police relations. The board’s mission is rather vague: “provide input,” “engage in community outreach,” and “make policy-level recommendations.” What the board is not vague about is who is allowed to participate.
Six of the board’s 11 members must be black. No Asians, American Indian, Hispanics or Latinos, or Whites can sit in those six seats: “Blacks Only,” to use the terminology of the City’s Alder Workgroup, which explicitly mandated “50 percent Black members.”
Furthermore, one board seat is reserved for an Asian; one board seat is reserved for an American Indian; one board seat is reserved for someone identifying as “Latinx.” Finally, one board seat is reserved for a “member of the LGBTQ community,” although the city presumably would allow someone to be both a minority and LGBTQ at the same time.
Heralded as a serious effort at “equity” and “inclusion,” Madison’s Police Civilian Oversight Board intentionally discriminates based on racial categories—a practice with an ugly and pernicious past. This is also the vision of America’s most prominent “antiracists.” For example, in his 2019 book, “How to be an Antiracist,” best-selling author Ibram X. Kendi is explicit that, “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
Unfortunately, Madison is not alone in this kind of legal racism. California now imposes racial quotas on private companies’ boards. NASDAQ is following suit. Many private companies, such as Delta Airlines and Wells Fargo, are promising to impose quotas.