DeVos’s Pick for Key Civil Rights Post Has Deeply Checkered Past on Race Issues
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos strikes again. Her pick for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is a woman who’s claimed she was discriminated against for being white.
Civil Rights May Face A Setback
Candice Jackson, an undergraduate student studying calculus at Stanford in the mid-1990s, said she “gravitated” toward a section of the class that assisted students who were struggling with challenging problems, she wrote in a student publication. Then she discovered that section was reserved for minority students, Pro Publica reports.
Of course she was upset about that. She’s a Libertarian and a fan of Ayn Rand, who promoted self-indulgence and selfishness. That means there ain’t no room for helping poor folks…unless, of course, they’re white.
“I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” Jackson wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming competence or incompetence based on race.”
It’s not easy to tell what her position is going to be because her background regarding civil rights issues is pretty limited, but her writings during and after college suggest she’s likely to steer the Office for Civil Rights in a different direction than her predecessors.
A number of Republicans have publicly said they would like to cut back the office or eliminate it entirely, Indy/Ed reports. But this office makes up a very large part of the Department of Education, and doing away with it could be very expensive politically for Republicans and be a huge time-consuming effort.
So why not appoint someone like Jackson, who doesn’t believe in civil rights? That’s just what DeVos did.
If the goal is to negate the importance of this office, then Jackson’s the perfect choice. Here’s why:
- She considers herself a victim of reverse racism. Jackson also believes affirmative action “promotes racial discrimination.”
- She has characterized the work of historian Murray Rothbard, an opponent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and compulsory education, as a “monumental achievement.”
- Jackson also dislikes “feminist culture,” something that she believes is “moving backwards, not forwards.”
- Weirdly, she has both supported and denounced victims of sexual harassment, writing about President Bill Clinton’s accusers, but labeling the women who accused Trump as “fake victims.”
When you consider that the DeVos family tends to support groups that undermine LGBTQ rights and protections, it then becomes clear that everything that’s been achieved in the Office for Civil Rights under the Obama administration may face drastic change. Especially with this woman who gives more credence to reverse racism.
And there are concerns that along with Jackson’s inexperience, DeVos will roll back civil rights enforcement, leading some people to wonder if, like so many other Trump appointees, Jackson will lack the sympathy that is necessary to the traditional office she’s been selected to lead, Pro Publica reports.
Related: GOP Lawmaker Called Civil Rights Hero John Lewis A ‘Racist Pig’ And Immediately Got DESTROYED
Theodore Shaw, director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina, led President Barack Obama’s transition team for civil rights at the Department of Justice, doesn’t have a good feeling about this. Jackson’s appointment “doesn’t leave me with a feeling of confidence with where the administration might be going,” he said.
“I hope she’s not going to be an adversary to the civil rights community and I hope that the administration is going to enforce civil rights laws and represent the best interests of those who are affected by civil rights issues,” he said.
DeVos formally announced Jackson’s position as deputy assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights because it’s a position that doesn’t require Senate confirmation. She will serve in that position until it’s filled. DeVos hasn’t selected a nominee, but when she does, that nominee will have to receive Senate confirmation. While in the position of acting head, Jackson will be in charge 550 full-time department staffers.
The Office for Civil Rights has protected students from racial, gender, disability and age discrimination for decades. During the Obama administration, casework for the office swelled. Colleges were encouraged to give preferences to minorities and women in order to increase diversity. Colleges were also advised to be more aggressive in investigating rape and sexual harassment allegations on campus. It’s thought that Trump and others in his administration may scale back protections for Title IX, which covers rape and sexual harassment issues.
Jackson, 39, grew up in the Pacific Northwest. In 2009, she wrote a Christian Country Song with her father and brother. Titled “Freedom, Family And Faith, one lyric from this little anti-government ditty goes like this:
“Some politician wants our liberty/They say just trust me, we’re all family/I’ve got a family and hey, it’s not you/Don’t need Big Brother to see us through.”
Jackson is a poor choice for fostering better understanding and acceptance among whites and blacks. Instead, she’s a great choice for setting civil rights back to the 1950s.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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