Martin Luther King yearned for a society in which people are judged by their character, not their skin color. Kristen Clarke, Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, begs to differ.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Clarke insisted that when employers hire people, skin color is highly relevant and should carry a “premium.” She even applied this rule to heart surgeons and airline pilots, jobs which have a direct impact on whether people live or die (see the video below at around the 2:30 mark). She called skin color “incredibly important” in making these hiring decisions.
In short, people should be judged by the color of their skin, after all — at least when it comes to employment decisions.
King’s statement about how people should be evaluated provides a good working definition of “racist.” If you evaluate people by the color of their skin, then you are a racist.
By that definition, Kristen Clarke is a racist.
During her interview with Carlson, Clarke kept casting her racial favoritism in terms of “diversity.” That concept has been blessed to some degree by the Supreme Court. However, this was in the context of college admissions. The notion was that by being Black, a student brings value to the university by exposing non-Black students to different viewpoints and perspectives.
Whatever merit this argument might have, it doesn’t transfer to most employment settings — and certainly not to heart surgeons and airline pilots. The cockpit and the operating table aren’t classrooms. No one gains from exposure to Black viewpoints and perspectives in these settings. Nor can it plausibly be argued that there is a Black perspective on heart surgery or flying an airplane.
When she was a college student, Clarke insisted that Blacks are superior to Whites. Maybe she still believes this, maybe she doesn’t.
Is there a difference between arguing in favor of Black Supremacy and arguing that there should be a “premium” on Blackness when it comes to making hiring decisions? Clearly.
But how big a difference? In both cases, one is rejecting King’s vision. In both cases, membership in a particular race is exalted.
And in both cases, the results are the same — racial discrimination and important judgments that, because they emphasize the irrelevant consideration of skin color, will too often be mistaken.