Conservative America will never admit that the right-wing war against affirmative action and DEI is simply a war for more of the same white supremacy. They’ll never admit that systemic racism and sexism, not merit, is the reason white people historically and currently dominate the most well-resourced educational systems in the nation, along with its political arena and every one of its major industries. And this is a demonstrable truth. One could easily point to a time in America—all of its history until just a handful of decades ago—when non-white male citizens were legally and systematically kept out of these industries and institutions with the full support of a white supremacist society and its governing bodies.
But those on the right can’t acknowledge this truth, because if they did, then suddenly their campaign to thwart every institutional effort to counteract the effects of a nation’s white male-exclusive power structure would look like exactly what it is—a bunch of childish Caucasian crybabies with the biggest toy boxes on the playground throwing temper tantrums because the other kids are also getting toys now.
This brings us to Sen. Ted Cruz.
While many of us were honoring the start of Black History Month, Cruz was kicking it off by whining about a non-profit TV service’s initiative to give opportunities to filmmakers of color in an industry that is as historically white and currently white-dominated as every other pillar of popular culture, from TV to broadcasting to advertising. (Yes, these mediums are more racially diverse now, but they’re still run by predominantly white gatekeepers, and none of the racial progress has come without angry white people kicking and screaming the entire way.)
“Because white filmmakers are facially ineligible for this seed money, the fund runs afoul of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. I’m urging the taxpayer funded Independent Television Service to remove race as an eligibility criterion for the Diversity Development Fund. ITVS can surely pursue its mandate to ‘expand the diversity and innovativeness’ of public programming without violating the law,” Cruz wrote in a tweet regarding ITVS’s Diversity Development Fund, which was established to help filmmakers of color obtain funding.
Here’s a question: Where were all of these so-called warriors for race-neutral equality during all the decades when one would be hard-pressed to find a non-white face on the big or small screen? Where were they when the Blaxploitation era was representing the only Hollywood arena where Black actors and creatives could find any work in the industry at all? The truth is, there is no racial group that has been pandered to in the entertainment industry as much as white people, and now that the pendulum has swung even an inch in the other direction, the “go woke, go broke” crowd is shedding white and fragile tears over the pro-POC “race pandering” they perceive as running rampant.
In Cruz’s case, he even thinks it’s unfair and discriminatory for white people to be excluded from speaking for non-white people.
He went on to say “programming need not be produced exclusively by minorities to address the needs and interests of minorities.” Cruz also claimed that ITVS appears to be biased against conservatives, citing as evidence the fact that the organization has helped fund a documentary about systemic racism and another about climate change.
“Yet ITVS funds hardly any documentaries from a conservative perspective,” Cruz complained. (Note how he doesn’t say that the organization fails to fund any such documentaries. It’s also pretty revealing to suggest that documentaries highlighting the impacts of climate change and racism are inherently anti-conservative.)
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down affirmative action, conservatives have been using the decision to threaten any company that still practices AA or DEI policies. They won’t even let Black people create funds for other Black people.
It’s almost as if white supremacy was always the point, and the anti-DEI war is really just the newest effort to, well, make America great again.
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