Court sides with white male restaurant owner who wasn’t ‘disadvantaged’ enough for Biden’s coronavirus aid
The Biden administration came into power promising to deliver “racial equity.” The term is a loaded one and is understood by critics to mean favorable treatment for some demographic groups over others. Restaurant owner Antonio Vitolo found this out first hand when he applied for a restaurant-specific grant from the Small Business Administration, which had set aside a $29 billion pool of funding to bail out struggling eateries.
Unfortunately for Vitolo, he is white, and co-owns the restaurant with his Hispanic wife. As the business is not 51% owned by a woman or a veteran, Vitolo had to prove that he was otherwise “subjected to racial and ethnic prejudice” or “cultural bias” to be prioritized for assistance. Aid is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so securing priority status is of critical importance for applicants.Also on rt.com War is peace, segregation is ‘diversity’? A Chicago mayor banning white reporters proves the US has entered dangerous territory
Had Vitolo been a member of certain “disadvantaged” groups – “black Americans,” “Hispanic Americans,” “Asian Pacific Americans,” “Native Americans,” and “subcontinent Asian Americans,” he would have qualified. He wasn’t, and he sued the Small Business Administration.
An appeals judge in Ohio ruled in his favor on Thursday. Amul Thapar, the first-ever federal judge of South Asian descent, ruled that the Biden administration’s allocation of aid by race and gender violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. The law creating the fund – and its discriminatory provisions – was passed by Congress in March in a party-line vote.
“The stark realities of the Small Business Administration’s racial gerrymandering are inescapable,” Thapar wrote, slamming the “scattershot” manner in which the Biden administration decided which races to prioritize. For example, “black, Hispanic, or Native American” applicants are considered disadvantaged. “Subcontinent Asian Americans” are only presumed disadvantaged if they “have origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands, or Nepal.”Also on rt.com Texas lawsuit targets Biden aid to ‘socially disadvantaged’ farmers as RACIST
“Imagine two childhood friends – one Indian, one Afghan,” he explained. “Both own restaurants, and both have suffered devastating losses during the pandemic. If both apply to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the Indian applicant will presumptively receive priority consideration over his Afghan friend. Why? Because of his ethnic heritage.”
Judge Bernice Donald, an Obama appointee, dissented, arguing that selective preferences are the best way “to remediate past discrimination.” Donald also called the relief fund a “carefully targeted measure,” and argued that “minority-owned businesses were more vulnerable to economic distress than businesses owned by white entrepreneurs.”
However, Thapar’s ruling concluded bluntly: the “way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
Thapar’s ruling grants Vitolo a temporary injunction, and can be appealed by the Small Business Administration. However, it paves the way for future challenges to any policy that selectively discriminates for the purposes of “equity.”Also on rt.com ‘Extreme and outrageous conduct’: Trump sued by civil rights org for calling Covid-19 the ‘China virus’
The Small Business Association isn’t the only government department opening its purse wider for certain races. Biden’s American Rescue Plan provides billions of dollars of debt relief to “socially disadvantaged” farmers and ranchers, in the name of remedying “systemic racism.” A group of white farmers has already sued the Farm Service Agency and secretary of agriculture over this, setting up another constitutional showdown that, based on Thursday’s ruling in Ohio, they will likely win.
One of the farmers, a disabled man with two prosthetic legs, called the American Rescue Plan “out-and-out racist.”
“Everything that we have all learned growing up is racism is wrong, and now, all of a sudden, the federal government seems to think that racism is acceptable in certain ways. And it should never be acceptable,” he stated.
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