Hurricane Ian caused untold damage to Floridians. It destroyed virtually everything in its path after coming ashore in the Fort Meyers area as a Category 4 hurricane. Lives were lost. Homes were destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people are still without electricity. The hurricane did not discriminate by race, ethnicity, or gender. Everyone in its path was affected.
Nevertheless, Vice President Kamala Harris proclaimed, in the name of “equity,” that “communities of color” and low-income communities should be given priority in receiving hurricane relief.
“I know we are all thinking about the families in Florida and Puerto Rico with [Hurricane] Fiona and what we need to do to help them in terms of an immediate response and aid,” Vice President Harris said at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum on September 30th. “We have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity. Understanding not everyone starts out at the same place, and if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities.”
Sadanand Dhume, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, delivered this derisive retort: “If a hurricane hits a state, we should expect the government to help all those affected: black, brown white, purple, green. And there’s no such thing as ‘communities of color.’ Real people don’t talk like this.”
The Biden administration talks just like this. Indeed, Vice President Harris’s referral to “equity” as the guiding policy directing hurricane relief assistance follows President Biden’s Executive Order 13985 that he issued on his first day in office, entitled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”
In keeping with this executive order, the first stated goal of the Biden administration’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is supposed to dispense federal aid equally to anyone in need because of a natural disaster, is all about instilling equity as its foundation. This requires, according to FEMA’s website, concentrating on “underserved communities” and “specific identity groups.”
In short, the Biden administration concept of “equity” means giving priority to people collectively based on group identity over individuals who are in desperate need of assistance but have the wrong skin color or are considered too rich.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell sought to assure the anchor of “Face the Nation” Margaret Brennan, during her October 2nd interview, that “our programs support everybody.” She tried to explain away the vice president’s remarks as referring to “long-term recovery and rebuilding these communities to be able to withstand disasters.” But that is not what Kamala Harris said when she spoke of “immediate response and aid” and “giving resources based on equity.”
Equal protection under the law and equal opportunity, not equity, are America’s guiding values. The ideal of individual equality is embedded in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. America’s history is a story of moving towards achieving this ideal, even if this story remains a work in progress.
However, “equity,” as it has come to be defined by the left-wing social justice progressives, means something entirely different. It means compulsory assurance of equal outcomes for groups that are said to have been historically oppressed, whether such groups are identified by class, race, or gender. To achieve equal outcomes, equity-based policies require the taking away of rights, liberties, and benefits from those groups considered the “oppressors” to recompense those groups considered the “oppressed” as a form of reparations.
This notion of equity runs counter to America’s core values, which is why left-wing social justice progressives want to rewrite American history to suit their oppressor vs. oppressed narrative, indoctrinate America’s children, and tear down America’s institutions. Karl Marx would be proud.
Indeed, Marx has been quoted as saying that “the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In reality, it is the ensemble of the social relations.” From this premise, it is not much of a leap to exalt group-based rights of the “oppressed” over individual rights.
Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has written extensively about the dangers of equity-driven policies, based on such dogmas as Critical Race Theory. “An equity-based form of government would mean the end not only of private property but also of individual rights, equality under the law, federalism and freedom of speech,” Mr. Rufo wrote. “These would be replaced by race-based redistribution of wealth, group-based rights, active discrimination and omnipotent bureaucratic authority.”
The Biden administration has instituted an equity-based form of government that even believes in distributing federal hurricane relief based on race and economic class.