The Outstater

January 8, 2021

“There is nothing that will give power to the (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) to require hiring, firing and promotion to meet a racial ‘quota.”’ — Sen. Hubert Humphrey in promising that the 1964 Civil Rights Act would lead only to nondiscrimination and not to social engineering. 

INDIANA COMPANIES that want to be listed on at least one of the New York stock exchanges will want to check the chromosome arrangements and melanin levels in their board rooms. East Coast lunacy is headed our way.

NASDAQ filed a proposal this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that would require companies on its exchange to have at least one board member who self-identifies as an underrepresented minority, woman or a member of the LGBTQ community. The exchange defined “underrepresented” as an individual who self-identifies as black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Native American (including Native Alaskan or Hawaiian), Pacific Islander or someone who is two or more races. If you happen to be a trans Eskimo with Latino roots living on the south side, you can write your own ticket.

The saddest aspect of this story is that a large number of Indiana corporations, including the Indy Chamber of Commerce, is not bothered by it. Indeed, this week the Indianapolis Star listed the city’s many socially hip corporations and their various umbrella organizations in a congratulatory article, “Indiana Businesses Vowed Action After George Floyd’s Death. Here’s What They’re Doing.”

The article lauds a trend that the political theorist James Burnham predicted 70 years ago. He said there would be a gradual shift away from private owners and toward corporate and government managers.

Well, the shift has shuft. We are there. And this corporate elite justifies its newly realized power by subscribing to an ideology of self-professed altruism that requires the rest of us to confess and reform. Edward Welsch, writing in this month’s Chronicles magazine, explains:

“The therapeutic managerial ideology is based on the idea that the American people, especially the Middle Americans of red states, need to have their mentality reformed. The therapists must root out any last vestige of ethnic preference or resistance to foreign immigration, which, in the case of those of European ancestry, is to be considered racism.” 

These companies believe along with the Star that urban unrest can be lessened if we accept a certain premise, that is, racial diversity should be set proportionally across all social and economic fields regardless of other factors. The general discussion is called Diversity-Inclusion-Equity or DIE.

Because certain races turn out to be favored for one reason or another, all of that is little more than racism itself, a fashionable kind. It also is a formula for societal as well as economic disaster, complicating such basic functions as effective law enforcement. 

Last weekend, Indianapolis nudged Chicago in per capita incidents classified as “violent.” That is according to Rick Snyder of the Fraternal Order of Police. Snyder, who has been warning that crime in the city is rampant, notes that last year saw a record 245 Indianapolis homicides, a 45 percent increase over 2019.

Nationally, the typical increase year over year since 1960 has been less than 13 percent. Indianapolis now has more murders per 100,000 than Chicago (28.5 to 28.4) and way more than New York City (5.4).

The Star, though, has its own expert, Ihotep Adisa, executive director of something called the Kheprw Institute. Kheprw’s mission is “wealth-building” in the black community.

Make of him what you will, activists like Mr. Adisa get things done these days. He is cautiously optimistic that shaming companies over George Floyd’s death will improve something somehow, and he won’t be fooled by any Uncle Toms.

“We should be taking a really critical look at everybody that says Black Lives Matter. What are you doing within your institutions, what are you doing at a personal level to demonstrate that black lives do matter?” Mr. Adisa told the Star, adding: “If the folks we put in those spaces have the same philosophical orientations as the previous folks, all you’ve done was just added some color to the room. You haven’t really addressed authentic and real change.”

At best, it is problematic how the crime statistics will be changed by pressuring companies into hiring diversity officers, capitalizing the name of certain ethnic groups, rewriting personnel manuals, caging donations to inner-city nonprofits, virtue-signaling in press releases, applying de facto race quotas to management positions or jumping through any of the Kheprw Institute’s philosophical hoops. 

At worst, it is just riot protection money. Tom Wolfe indulged in a bit of impolitic after the urban turmoil of the 1960s by describing such demands as “Mau-Mauing the flak catchers.”

What is certain is that to the degree Indiana companies link hiring and promotion, not to mention board positions, to factors other than productivity it will reduce profitability and competitiveness — and without saving or even improving any black lives outside the small circle of DIE apparatchiks.

For be reminded that productivity is what corporations do — and ultimately, in a free market at least, it is all they do. They cannot “care” in the same way an individual proprietor might. In 1967, when the fire bombs began to fly in Newark, Detroit and New Jersey, the big corporations stepped on each other getting out of town. Some of them, interestingly, relocated to relatively calm Indianapolis.

So if the Chamber of Commerce and the other groups applauded by the Star want to do something to attract investment in the Indianapolis economy, a large and important part of which is the black community, they should join the objections to the NASDAQ filing. They might include a caveat that Indiana won’t be muscling anyone’s business into wasting resources pretending to solve intractable social-justice problems, ones defined by activists without any practical knowledge of how the world works. — tcl


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