According to an internal announcement to the Justice Department’s civil rights division, the Trump administration is gearing up to redirect DOJ resources toward investigating and suing universities whose affirmative action policies are deemed discriminatory against white applicants, the New York Times reports. The document, obtained by the Times, requests the aid of lawyers to work on a new plan to launch “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
In June, 2016, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to an affirmative action program at the University of Texas, Austin. In his decision for the majority, Justice Kennedy wrote, “A university is in large part defined by those intangible ‘qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness.’ Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission.”
Roger Clegg, a dude who used to work for the civil rights division under Reagan and George Bush and now presides over the conservative think tank Center for Equal Opportunity (big supporter of “colorblind” policy, as its name might not suggest), said that the DOJ’s new project is “long overdue.” Clegg elaborated, with a hollow and incendiary talking point, “The civil rights laws were deliberately written to protect everyone from discrimination, and it is frequently the case that not only are whites discriminated against now, but frequently Asian-Americans are as well.”
President of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Right Under Law, Kristen Clarke, called the project laid out in the memo, “deeply disturbing…. It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses.”
Lots of chaos and unnecessary hysteria, you say? Well then, I’ve little doubt this is the strategy the Trump administration will pursue, and just in the nick of time seeing as much of the country is still busy feeling relieved over millions of people not being forced off their health insurance, for now. It’s almost as if the administration were planning it as a special back-to-school edition of civil liberties despoilment. I can already foresee the mounting charges of millennial “snowflake” mentality against students protesting the whitest-white fragility of this new DOJ project, the lubrication of racist diatribes, and the backlash shitstorm the administration would prefer us to be mired in forever.