The Corner

Just-What-We-Needed Department

The Department of Commerce announced yesterday in a Federal Register notice “the establishment of the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise,” which will advise the Secretary of Commerce “on key issues pertaining to the growth and competitiveness of the nation’s Minority Business Enterprises.” One might wonder why, in 2010 and after untold millions of government contract dollars have been awarded on the basis of skin color and national origin, we need yet another government body in this area. The wonder deepens since the issues that are listed in yesterday’s notice do not seem to be any different for MBEs than they would be for non-MBE companies. Indeed, the words “discriminate” and “discrimination” do not appear in the notice, except in this self-contradictory pair of sentences: “The Secretary seeks to appoint members [to the new council] who represent a diversity of . . . ethnic backgrounds. . . . All appointments shall be made without discrimination on the basis of . . . ethnicity.” Color-conscious but color-blind appointments, in other words. 

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