Biden Administration Advances ‘Racial Equity’ Agenda Across Federal Agencies

Biden Administration Advances ‘Racial Equity’ Agenda Across Federal Agencies
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Sept. 20, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Lorenzo Puertas
News Analysis

Nonprofit organizations are already training federal government staffers to implement the Biden administration’s push for racial equity, as detailed in recently published documents.

According to “Partnering with Federal Agencies to Advance Racial Equity,” a document (pdf) published by nonprofit Race Forward, the Biden administration’s new race agenda is well underway. Trainings, meetings, and new policies pushing racial equity—including potentially linking federal salaries to racial goals—have already taken place in many federal agencies.
In January 2021, one of President Biden’s first executive orders, “On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities”, directed the Federal Government to “pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”

While racism has been part of American history since Columbus, racial discrimination has been illegal under federal law for 58 years.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, prohibiting unequal treatment in hiring, education, and public accommodations. Countless state and local laws also prohibit racial discrimination.

So what does Biden’s executive order mean by the pursuit of “racial equity”?

According to Race Forward, the New York nonprofit training federal employees, “Racial equity is a process of eliminating racial disparities and improving outcomes for everyone.” The goal of racial equity, says Race Forward’s website, is to create “measurable change in the lives of people of color.”
According to a Kamala Harris campaign video posted on Twitter on Nov. 1, 2020: “It’s about giving people the resources and support they need so that everyone can be on equal footing, and then compete on equal footing. Equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.”

“Sounds just like Karl Marx,” wrote Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney on Twitter at the time, responding to Harris’s video. “A century of history has shown where that path leads. We all embrace equal opportunity, but government-enforced equality of outcomes is Marxism.”

In a White House press conference following the signing of Biden’s executive order, Susan Rice, director of the United States Domestic Policy Council, emphasized the broad scope of this push for racial equity, calling it “an unprecedented whole-of-government initiative to embed racial equity across federal policies, programs, and institutions.”

“Every agency,” said Rice, “will place equity at the core of their public engagement, their policy design, and program delivery.”

“An equity agenda at this scale has never been attempted to date,” said Chiraag Bains, deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council for Racial Justice and Equity.

According to Race Forward, Biden’s executive order “has resulted in the development of racial equity actions plans across 90 federal agencies,” with the pilot project “focused on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the implementation phase.”

Programs have included “racial equity learning labs,” designed to “support staff in exploring … the role of the federal government in advancing racial equity,” and the creation of “racial equity action plans.”

It’s all part of Race Forward’s “Federal Initiative to Govern for Racial Equity”, “to provide strategic support, learning opportunities, frameworks, and tools for change through ongoing dialogue with federal agencies. The goal of the program is to create sustainable change for racial equity in federal government structure, policy and practice.”

In their resource guide (pdf), “Organizing for Racial Equity Within the Federal Government”, Race Forward details some of its strategies to advance this agenda.

“Some effective techniques are: establishing new equity-focused codes of conduct; including racial equity competencies in job descriptions; and integrating racial equity criteria into work plan expectations, and performance evaluations that are tied to promotions and merit pay increases or additional paid time off,” it read.

In short, Race Forward proposes connecting federal worker pay to the achievement of racial equity goals.

Race Forward is not a small organization. According to its IRS filings, Race Forward had a $21 million budget in 2020, funded by several million-dollar grants from large foundations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. These revenues place Race Forward in the top 2 percent of all charitable nonprofits in America, according to financial data from the National Council of Nonprofits.
Race Forward isn’t alone in receiving the support of wealthy donors. Racial justice nonprofits have benefited from a tremendous upsurge in interest from foundations. For example, in 2019 and 2020, MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, donated more than $12 billion to 1,257 organizations, including many anti-racism organizations.

With its hefty budget and close working relationship with the Biden administration, Race Forward now seems poised to advance its “long-term journey to transform agencies and the whole federal government.”

As stated in their publication “Organizing for Racial Equity”, this as a unique moment in American history. “President Biden’s Executive Order presents a generational opportunity to bring the full force of the federal government to the work of racial equity and justice. To realize its potential, racial equity practitioners will need to organize from within the government.”

Lorenzo Puertas is a freelance writer in San Francisco covering China and U.S. topics for The Epoch Times. He loves liberty and personal responsibility.
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