Apparently, there’s a group of white people in Wisconsin who are so racist they’re trying to do away with policy that theoretically might disproportionately help Black people.
According to the Washington Post, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayers Association claiming President Joe Biden’s student debt relief policy violates federal law by intentionally seeking to narrow the racial wealth gap. Apparently, it doesn’t matter that nothing in Biden’s plan specifies race, or that if it did close the racial wealth gap it would only happen by default because Black borrowers are statistically saddled with more debt than their white counterparts.
All that matters is white people heard Biden say his debt relief plan could close the racial wealth gap, and, to them, that translates to reverse racism.
From the Post:
In promoting the debt forgiveness plan, the White House has said it could help narrow the racial wealth gap and advance racial equity. But the lawsuit argues that those statements constitute an “improper racial motive” and violate the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws.
“The White House has indicated that one reason to do this is that they believe it would disproportionately benefit certain racial groups,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. “The racial motivation supports these taxpayers standing to challenge [the policy] and informs yet another constitutional difficulty with the program.”
First of all, I know this man isn’t talking this white and fragile nonsense in the same country where Republican legislators in virtually every red state are moving to ban critical race theory into oblivion for no other reason than because it makes white people uncomfortable. This man couldn’t be griping this old white man grip in a country where white officials are putting Black history through the white nationalist palatability test before it can be approved for the classroom. Of course, one wouldn’t expect people like Esenberg to acknowledge that for the vast majority of U.S. history, American laws and systems were designed to benefit white people and white people alone—and maybe that has something to do with Black people being disproportionately poor and thus disproportionately in debt.
Anyway, more from the Post:
There are no racial criteria for loan forgiveness. But because of the disparities in who holds student loans, the cancellation policy could have an outsize effect on Black borrowers, who shoulder a disproportionate share of the debt and frequently receive Pell Grants because of a lack of financial resources to attend college.
“Student loan policies have had a discriminatory impact and student debt cancellation helps to remedy some of that discriminatory impact, but this is a race-neutral policy,” said Abby Shafroth, director of the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project.
Genevieve Bonadies Torres of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said the lawsuit “turns the equal protection clause on its head,” as the mere awareness of race or a disproportionate impact does not amount to a violation of the law. She said conservative groups have unsuccessfully used similar arguments to challenge high school admissions policies that expand access for marginalized students.
In other words: Racist white people are attempting to latch onto civil rights protections that were meant to counteract systemic white racism by claiming a federal policy is racist against white people. The irony would be amusing if it weren’t so evil and dangerous.
“I can think of a host of policies and practices that disproportionately help White people that, again, are not being put under the legal microscope,” Bonadies Torres said, adding that the lawsuit “is indicative of the attacks that we’re seeing on any opportunities that try to get people relief that they’re due.”
She’s definitely right about that since Republicans have been hellbent on getting Biden to reverse his student loan forgiveness policy. Still, demanding that the plan be reversed on account of it aiding Black people in becoming more financially stable is a new one.
“It’s a shame that you have Republican groups, Republican states that are trying to stop Americans from getting a little bit of breathing room, a little bit of a break,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing. “It is shameful that they are siding with the special interests. It is shameful they are not siding with the American people. This is one of the ways the president is going to continue to work for the American people.”
Being a White House press secretary, Jean-Pierre isn’t in a position to come right out and call these people racists, but that’s OK.
I’m more than happy to do it for her.