Two wrongs never make a right. Just because American laws singled out minority races in the past—for example, Jim Crow laws, red lining, and school segregation—does not now excuse targeting white people as retribution.
Racial discrimination using taxpayer money is illegal and in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee for equal protection. But the government in Marin County, California, disagrees that taxpayer support should be equally applied to all. They want to exclude white mothers from receiving up to an unconditional $1,000 per month.
There’s no doubt we have much to do to help heal racial divides and strengthen all families, especially families of color. But in a disturbing movement backwards on race, Marin County, near San Francisco, is engaging in a new form of segregation by carving out taxpayer money for non-whites only.
Over and over, we’ve witnessed the problems of expanding the welfare state and its negative impact on families, especially families of color. Yet under a fancy new name “universal basic income,” or UBI, Marin County wants to not only grow the welfare state, it wants to do so through payments of $1,000 a month, starting in May.
In The Wall Street Journal, Devon Westhill reports this program will be paid for with private money from the Marin Community Foundation at $3 million to the effort, but also the Marin County Board of Supervisors has set aside $400,000 in public money for this UBI program. The exclusive beneficiaries must be “mothers of color.”
Westhill says, “If I had grown up in Marin County under its proposed UBI regime, my family would have been ineligible to participate. I grew up poor and at times homeless or living in public housing projects. But my mother, who is white, was raising her three black children on her own … To exclude someone like her from a public-assistance program on account of her skin color is the very definition of racial injustice.”
Sadly, Marin County isn’t alone. Last year, an Oregon county in the Portland area said it was creating a safe “grounding space” for minority staff to escape a predominant “whiteness.” Statewide, a lawsuit I wrote about in December from a Latina business owner alleging the Oregon Legislature Emergency Board acted unconstitutionally when it declared that $62 million of a $200 million government fund to help small businesses hit by COVID-19 could only go to black-owned businesses or black families. The public-funded University of Nevada is walking back its original public statement to Young America’s Foundation that whites and straight people were not allowed to live in certain dorms. Nationwide, universities have faced allegations of discrimination against bright Asian-Americans in the name of “social justice” for other races.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education banned school segregation—but that ruling was sadly ignored by racist, white bigots—mainly led by Democrats like George Wallace. Programs like what Marin County is doing is perpetuating this legacy of race-based ignorance of America’s Constitution in a new and ugly form. It creates a never-ending cycle of race-based grievances and tribalism.
America has never lived up to its call for “liberty and justice for all,” yet slipping backwards through steps like those in Marin County is a surefire way to keep us from forging ahead toward Dr. Martin Luther’s King Jr.’s Dream of beloved community based on character, not skin color. America deserves better.