California’s Comprehensive New System of Racial Discrimination: Jimenez Crow?

“The future happens first” in California, it’s long been said, and, as it tries to actualize that axiom, the Golden State has been laboring mightily of late to pioneer new ways to discriminate in favor of protected classes like women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people in the LGBT community. Granted, all such discrimination is illegal and unconstitutional in California and nationally, but that’s never stopped the state’s Democratic overlords before, and it isn’t going to stop them now. 

It’s official, therefore: in our nation’s most populous state, discrimination is back in fashion!

Anyone who pays attention to the news knows all about this. California’s legislature has created a web of new laws designed to uplift the marginalized and punish the privileged. Recently, a Los Angeles County court struck down the state’s historic corporate diversity law, which created quotas for the representation of racial minorities and members of the LGBT community on corporate boards. Now that the legislature failed in its bid to institutionalize “Jimenez Crow,” the state-supported University of California is stepping up to the plate.

On April 22, the president of the prestigious University of California system announced a program to cover all costs, including tuition and fees, for Native Americans who matriculate. Why would this blatant display of racism be allowed when so many others have been slapped down by the courts? The UC system is hoping that aid, which is provided to students from federally recognized tribes (and possibly state-recognized tribes as well), will not technically be considered racial or ethnic discrimination. 

Good luck with that! 

It will be a hard case to make, since the UC president’s own announcement of the program made it clear that racial and ethnic grievances are at its heart: 

The University of California is committed to recognizing and acknowledging historical wrongs endured by Native Americans. I am proud of the efforts the university has made to support the Native American community . . . 

Likewise, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, which is funding part of the scholarship program, asserts: “In the spirit of our ancestors, we are driven to take care of our environment and our people.” And who are “our people”? Anyone who is Native American, naturally. Does anyone suppose a scholarship program established on such a basis could be described as “race-neutral”? Hardly!

Let’s hope the state and federal courts do their jobs and remind California’s leaders—again—that every American has a moral and legal right to be judged based on his or her individual merits. Are many potential Native American students in the UC system deserving of aid, based on academic merit or financial need? No doubt they are. Then let them apply for such aid and be granted or refused it according to the same fair, unbiased, and universal standards that apply, or should apply, to everyone else. That, after all, is the American way. 

Incidentally, it’s also what the people of California want. In 2020, they voted overwhelmingly against Proposition 16, which would have legalized race preferences. 

But is California’s woke elite listening? Please! Do they ever?

About Nicholas L. Waddy

Nicholas L. Waddy, an associate professor of history at SUNY Alfred, blogs at www.waddyisright.com.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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