The Biden Administration made its latest move in its racial equity program with the creation of a new position at the Department of Commerce, sparking significant pushback from conservative critics.
The White House announced the creation of an equity czar at the Department of Commerce.
The “counselor for equity” is the first at the federal level. The counselor, Ines Hernandez, was a counselor at Florida International University and will work within the wider Department of Commerce Equity Council that will “support bureaus in creating a positive internal culture and raise program officials’ consciousness of systemic barriers.”
Hernandez has more than two decades of experience “navigating intersecting issues,” saying in a statement that she will work for “economic mobility at the national level.”
The Biden Administration’s move is another of its stated goals of racial equity. It also comes as the White House is pushing a number of major racial programs.
First-ever ‘counselor for equity’ appointed at Biden’s Department of Commerce https://t.co/IVoWtZ2U4s
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The Biden White House programs contrast with those of the former Trump Administration.
The focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs (D.E.I.) has been a significant push since the 2020 death of George Floyd. Various government agencies and corporations hired thousands of counselors and administrators on the topic.
Conservative critics believe that D.E.I. programs are not solving racial issues but instead reinforce left-wing politics.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-TX), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, introduced an act that would bar federal funds from going toward such equity administrators.
Republicans criticized a number of related Biden Administration efforts. In 2022, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) released a statement opposing using racial data in mortgages.
The senators opposed the Biden Administration’s Equitable Housing Finance Plans, which included using the Federal Housing Finance Agency to subsidize loans from black, Latino, and American Indian borrowers.
This is similar to the actions mandated by the federal government that caused the 2008 housing crash, as cited by the senators.
They described the programs as “affirmative action housing subsidy plans.” The Republicans wrote that the plans were “manifestly unfair” and that “discrimination on the basis of skin color is simply wrong.”