Just days after Vice President Kamala Harris suggested “giving resources based on equity” in providing hurricane relief, the Biden administration doubled down on its woke obsession with “equity.” The Biden Treasury Department announced the establishment of a new Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity. Its mission will be to “identify, monitor and review aspects of the domestic economy that have directly and indirectly resulted in unfavorable conditions for Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color.”
It is no surprise that the committee is stacked with left-wing social justice progressives.
Michael Nutter, the David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs at Columbia University and former mayor of Philadelphia, is the committee’s Chair. In June 2020, shortly after the killing of George Floyd, Mr. Nutter castigated the entire nation as racist. Mr. Nutter posed a whole series of accusations in the form of loaded questions, which were based on the premise that America is systemically racist and has never stopped trying to keep the black population down. Here are some samples.
“When, America, will you get tired of kneeling on the necks of the Black people you captured and brought here for your slave labor?”
“When will you tire of the daily effort to hold Black people back from ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’?”
“When will be the right time to talk about what you have done to Black people, how you made our lives hell, why you did what you did, and what you think can be done to fix what you have done?
“Aren’t you tired yet from holding your knee or foot on our collective necks for 400 years?”
At the end of his harangue, Mr. Nutter warned America that “we will…make you uncomfortable until you not only listen, but actually start hearing us and changing your behavior and systems.” (Emphasis in the original) Now he will have the chance to pose these questions and demand radical solutions as Chair of the Treasury Department’s new equity committee.
The Vice Chair of the new racial equity committee, Felicia Wong, is more radical than Michael Nutter, who at least at times has shown some support for the police and has acknowledged the severe problem of black-on-black crime plaguing major urban centers.
Vice Chair Felicia Wong sees the police as the enemy. She advocated for defunding the police in a report she co-authored for the Roosevelt Institute back in 2016, which charged that racial bias leads to “police brutality.” The report recommended that police budgets should be “reduced.”
Ms. Wong is the president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, a far-left organization that wants to “reimagine” capitalism. The Roosevelt Institute rejects what it calls “neoliberalism” and “racial liberalism” because supposedly they have “upheld a racial capitalism that subjugated people of color with racist rules while ignoring and revising history—promoting race-neutrality while exacerbating existing inequalities.”
In November 2021, Ms. Wong co-authored a report for the Roosevelt Institute entitled “A New Paradigm For Justice And Democracy.” Its subtitle is “Moving beyond the Twin Failures of Neoliberalism and Racial Liberalism.”
The report stated that “the demands of today’s racial justice movement stem from several core values,” which it listed:
“freedom and liberation: a vision for individual and collective self- determination, free from systemic oppression; repair and redress: an honest reckoning of America’s legacy of white supremacy and violence, followed by concrete, reparative action to redress those harms; and material equity: an equitable distribution of resources, decision-making power, and material outcomes.”
The report co-authored by Ms. Wong used the term “equity” forty times and defined it.
“True equity means equity of outcome,” the report stated, “and not accepting the promise of ‘opportunity’ within a system that continues to systematically exclude.” (Emphasis added)
Elaborating on this theme, Ms. Wong and her co-author wrote: “Equity goes beyond equal access and opportunity. It means equitable material outcomes, closing gaps—in wealth, income, health, criminal justice, education, and more—that have persisted for generations and worsened over the last half-century. It is about a distribution of resources and of decision-making power, with an emphasis not only on individual equity but on equity for communities that have historically been excluded.”
This is the old wine of socialism in a new bottle branded as “racial equity.”
Others among the twenty-five committee members are not much better. Here are six examples who have displayed racial equity wokeness in action.
One of the members, Nicole Armand, described policing as “a profession that is built on a set of values, training programmes, reward systems that incentivise and motivate…racist actions.”
Another committee member, Georgetown Law Professor Dorothy Brown, has embraced critical race theory. Her 2021 book is entitled “The Whiteness of Wealth : How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans – and how we can fix it.” She also has written “Critical Race Theory: Cases, Materials and Problems.” One of her current projects is a book on reparations.
Lorella Praeli is the Co-President of Community Change and Community Change Action, whose “strategy is to create the conditions for transformational change that moves us in the direction of justice, equity, and an inclusive democracy and economy.” She was formerly ACLU’s deputy national political director and director of immigration policy and campaigns, which focused on expanding immigrants’ rights, including illegal immigrants.
Ms. Praeli has also supported the defund the police movement. “#DefundThePolice isn’t just a hashtag. It’s a mandate to divest from racist policing, which disproportionately kills Black people and Latinos and feeds the deportation pipeline, and instead invest in a #caringeconomy that prioritizes working families and serves us all,” she tweeted in 2021.
Amanda Renteria is the CEO of Code for America, which emphasizes the need to “address deep inequities threaded into our country’s history and work toward more equitable outcomes for the people we serve.” (Emphasis added)
Darrick Hamilton is a university professor and founding director of the Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy at The New School. He served as a national surrogate in Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign and played a key role in advising Senator Sanders on some of his more left-wing “economic justice” policies, including housing, student debt, and education. Professor Hamilton is a proponent of what is known as stratification economics, which a 2022 article that he co-authored said was aligned “with the critical race theory concept of ‘the property rights in Whiteness.’”
The Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity will waste taxpayers’ money producing predictable woke pronouncements by its ideologues on how America needs to be fundamentally transformed to remedy the so-called continuing evils of systemic racism. It is another pitiful example of the Biden administration’s deference to the left-wing progressive base of the Democrat Party.