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Why Is Trump Renominating Chai Feldblum to the EEOC?

President Trump has announced that he is renominating liberal activist Chai Feldblum to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “Why in the world is he doing that?” asks Powerline, and that’s a very good question (my only quibble with Powerline’s analysis is that this is not exactly being done in the dark of night, because I first saw it on the White House website).

The EEOC enforces the antidiscrimination laws for the entire private sector, so it’s an extremely powerful agency, and all the more so because it operates largely outside of executive-branch control. I noted last summer that the administration has not recognized the importance of the president’s nominations to this agency, and Ms. Feldblum’s renomination is more evidence of that. Here’s hoping that whatever deal is being sought here doesn’t go through and that the president reconsiders this dubious decision.

The clincher is that last week Powerline noted that Ms. Feldblum has removed the standard-issue portraits of President Trump and Vice President Pence from her office. Maybe that will get the administration’s attention.  The administration should withdraw her renomination.

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The Trump Administration Bans “Diversity” – The Washington Post reported in a couple of stories recently that the Trump administration has directed some Department of Health and Human Services components to stop using certain words in the budget process, including “diversity.” Speaking just of the ban on “diversity,” I’d say this is a promising development.

Of course, the word has a legitimate meaning, but these days that’s not what it’s used for in 99 instances out of a hundred.  For a long time, rather, the word has been used simply to mask a pro-preference, anti-merit, anti-assimilation agenda that ill behooves any federal government agency. Indeed, the government is banned by the Constitution and civil-rights laws from using racial and ethnic classifications except in special circumstances, and so, for instance, when an agency is “striving for more diversity in hiring,” it is likely breaking the law in doing so. Either that, or the term belongs in that category of words “used so frequently that they were essentially meaningless,” to quote the Post. In academia, I’ve noted that the word should be replaced with the barnyard expletive to clarify its meaning.

So, sure, why not ban it?

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“How the News Media Distorts Black Families” – That’s the title of an op-ed the Washington Post ran a couple of weeks ago. Its main claim is that a recent study shows that the news media portray black families more unfavorably than white families; interestingly, it’s not asserted that the problem here is with conservative media, since among the worst offenders for television networks were Fox News andCNN, and the New York Times and Breitbart for national print and online news organizations.

But the op-ed also has a few paragraphs in the middle denying that the black family is in any sort of trouble. That’s silly, and so I posted the following comment (lightly edited here):

I’m skeptical about the media bias part of this, but the assertion that there’s nothing wrong with the black family is ludicrous.

Seven out of 10 blacks are born out of wedlock, and more than 6 out of 10 Native Americans, and more than 5 out of 10 Latinos — versus fewer than 3 out of 10 whites and fewer than 2 out of 10 Asian Americans. That’s a huge range, and are we really supposed to believe that the fact that it lines up perfectly with how well the different groups are doing is just a coincidence? And note that out-of-wedlock connections with crime, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, and bad educational outcomes are present within racial groups as well as between them.

The only real “evidence” cited here is the 2013 Centers for Disease Control study and it does not stand for the proposition that black and white fathers spend the same amount of time with their children, because that’s true only if you control [as the CDC did] for whether the fathers live with their children or not, and of course a much higher percentage of black fathers don’t live with their children because they are not married to the mothers. Robert VerBruggen has written a couple of good pieces on the CDC study for RealClearPolicy.

Orwell said that some notions are so silly that only an intellectual can believe them, and thinking that big differences in out-of-wedlock birthrates won’t affect life outcomes among different groups falls into that category.

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More Bad PC at the University of Missouri – An interesting lawsuit was filed recently against the University of Missouri medical school, in which an administrator there says she was fired for having the temerity to suggest that the racially preferential policies being suggested might raise legal problems and ought to be reviewed by the school’s counsel.

Appalling. Such review is the bare minimum that any school engaging in such discrimination ought to undertake. Anything else is likely illegal, because the Supreme Court has warned that any use of race must be “narrowly tailored,” and whether that standard is met will ordinarily require a legal analysis. That someone would be fired for asking for school counsel’s opinion is disgusting policy and grossly unfair, whatever its legality.

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Listen to Jason Riley – That’s good advice generally, but today I’m referring to a podcast the Federalist Society has posted, in which I discuss a wide range of topics with the brilliant Wall Street Journal columnist, Manhattan Institute senior fellow, Fox News commentator — and member of the Center for Equal Opportunity’s board of directors. We start out with racial disparities in school discipline, but also cover a variety of other topics involving race and public policy, and discuss Mr. Riley’s excellent book, False Black Power?

Happy listening and Happy New Year!