The Corner

Civil Rights for Me, But Not for Thee

The Washington Times reports on yet another frontier where the Obama Justice Department thinks civil-rights laws apply only to minorities of color. This time it’s bullies. As the Times reports, if you’re a white punk, you’ll get their attention. If you’re a white victim of bullying, though, then you’re on your own. The view on the left that civil-rights protections are meant only for minorities goes back quite a ways; it is only in the Obama administration that civil-rights color-consciousness has been turned up to 11 (though it might have been this bad under Clinton had his first choice for the DOJ civil-rights division, Lani Guinier, been confirmed in 1993).

The view that civil-rights laws should not be color blind was perhaps most explicitly asserted way back in 1985, when Mary Frances Berry and Blandina Ramirez, two longtime leftist stalwarts on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, issued an official statement in their roles as commissioners that said, “Civil rights laws were not passed to give civil rights protections to all Americans, as a majority of this Commission seems to believe. Instead, they were passed out of a recognition that some Americans already had protection because they belonged to a favored group; and others, including blacks, Hispanics, and women of all races, did not because they belonged to disfavored groups.”

Draw deeply on that first sentence: “Civil rights laws were not passed to give civil rights protections to all Americans . . .” That would come as news to the folks who wrote the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Someone ought to reads that sentence, or the whole statement, in an oversight hearing to Eric Holder, or in a press briefing to Jay Carney, and ask them whether they agree or disagree, and why. And then watch the rhetorical two-step begin.

Steven F. Hayward — Stephen F. Hayward is a senior resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of a two-volume political history, The Age of Reagan.

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