For months now, I have written about “disparate impact”. The idea of “disparate impact” holds that “a defendant can be held liable for discrimination for a race-neutral policy that statistically disadvantages a specific minority group even if that negative “impact” was neither foreseen nor intended. Loretta Lynch, the new Attorney General, recently signaled a strong interest in making “disparate impact” a priority of her term.
Disparate impact is rapidly being expanded into other sectors such as housing and labor, beyond the business world where it originated. In disparate impact cases, defendants can be forced to pay for harm caused not by their own actions, but by economic and statistical realities, even if beyond their control.
The Obama Administration is particularly interested in this tactic. They first put forth Thomas Perez, the current Labor Secretary, as the preferred nominee for Attorney General. Thomas Perez has arguably been one of the biggest proponents of disparate impact in the workplace; his confirmation would have thrust “disparate impact” firmly into the spotlight.
Ultimately, Loretta Lynch became the next Attorney General . Lynch is a tough woman, known for her penchant for civil asset forfeiture cases. As such, it became apparent she would be a great choice for advocating and implementing disparate impact policies as well. After two cases before the Supreme Court that were unsuccessful putting forth disparate impact, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the policy on June 25th with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. Lynch put out a press release praising the outcome and the policy of disparate impact; you can read that here.
Now it has subsequently been revealed by The New York Post a few days ago that the Obama Administration has created a secret database. It is apparent now that “a key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”
The purpose of this endeavor is to help expand disparate impact claims. “This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.”
Besides the enormous invasion of privacy that such databases represent, just as alarming is the fact that race will now be analyzed and micromanaged in every aspect of modern society. With that, disparate impact claims, led by Lynch and the Department of Justice are certain to grow, impact, and cripple many industries in the years to come.
Below is the New York Post article in its entirety, for those who are interested:
A key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”
Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.
This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.
Big Brother Barack wants the databases operational before he leaves office, and much of the data in them will be posted online.
So civil-rights attorneys and urban activist groups will be able to exploit them to show patterns of “racial disparities” and “segregation,” even if no other evidence of discrimination exists.
The granddaddy of them all is the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing database, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development rolled out earlier this month to racially balance the nation, ZIP code by ZIP code. It will map every US neighborhood by four racial groups — white, Asian, black or African-American, and Hispanic/Latino — and publish “geospatial data” pinpointing racial imbalances.
The agency proposes using nonwhite populations of 50% or higher as the threshold for classifying segregated areas.
Federally funded cities deemed overly segregated will be pressured to change their zoning laws to allow construction of more subsidized housing in affluent areas in the suburbs, and relocate inner-city minorities to those predominantly white areas. HUD’s maps, which use dots to show the racial distribution or density in residential areas, will be used to select affordable-housing sites.
HUD plans to drill down to an even more granular level, detailing the proximity of black residents to transportation sites, good schools, parks and even supermarkets. If the agency’s social engineers rule the distance between blacks and these suburban “amenities” is too far, municipalities must find ways to close the gap or forfeit federal grant money and face possible lawsuits for housing discrimination.
Civil-rights groups will have access to the agency’s sophisticated mapping software, and will participate in city plans to re-engineer neighborhoods under new community outreach requirements.
“By opening this data to everybody, everyone in a community can weigh in,” Obama said. “If you want affordable housing nearby, now you’ll have the data you need to make your case.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, headed by former Congressional Black Caucus leader Mel Watt, is building its own database for racially balancing home loans. The so-called National Mortgage Database Project will compile 16 years of lending data, broken down by race, and hold everything from individual credit scores and employment records.
Mortgage contracts won’t be the only financial records vacuumed up by the database. According to federal documents, the repository will include “all credit lines,” from credit cards to student loans to car loans — anything reported to credit bureaus. This is even more information than the IRS collects.
The FHFA will also pry into your personal assets and debts and whether you have any bankruptcies. The agency even wants to know the square footage and lot size of your home, as well as your interest rate.
FHFA will share the info with Obama’s brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which acts more like a civil-rights agency, aggressively investigating lenders for racial bias.
The FHFA has offered no clear explanation as to why the government wants to sweep up so much sensitive information on Americans, other than stating it’s for “research” and “policymaking.”
However, CFPB Director Richard Cordray was more forthcoming, explaining in a recent talk to the radical California-based Greenlining Institute: “We will be better able to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.”
CFPB is separately amassing a database to monitor ordinary citizens’ credit-card transactions. It hopes to vacuum up some 900 million credit-card accounts — all sorted by race — representing roughly 85% of the US credit-card market. Why? To sniff out “disparities” in interest rates, charge-offs and collections.
CFPB also just finalized a rule requiring all regulated banks to report data on minority hiring to an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. It will collect reams of employment data, broken down by race, to police diversity on Wall Street as part of yet another fishing expedition.
Through its mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection project, the Education Department is gathering information on student suspensions and expulsions, by race, from every public school district in the country. Districts that show disparities in discipline will be targeted for reform.
Those that don’t comply will be punished. Several already have been forced to revise their discipline policies, which has led to violent disruptions in classrooms.
Obama’s educrats want to know how many blacks versus whites are enrolled in gifted-and-talented and advanced placement classes.
Schools that show blacks and Latinos under-enrolled in such curricula, to an undefined “statistically significant degree,” could open themselves up to investigation and lawsuits by the department’s Civil Rights Office.
Count on a flood of private lawsuits to piggyback federal discrimination claims, as civil-rights lawyers use the new federal discipline data in their legal strategies against the supposedly racist US school system.
Even if no one has complained about discrimination, even if there is no other evidence of racism, the numbers themselves will “prove” that things are unfair.
Such databases have never before existed. Obama is presiding over the largest consolidation of personal data in US history. He is creating a diversity police state where government race cops and civil-rights lawyers will micromanage demographic outcomes in virtually every aspect of society.
The first black president, quite brilliantly, has built a quasi-reparations infrastructure perpetually fed by racial data that will outlast his administration.
Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “The Great American Bank Robbery,” which exposes the racial politics behind the mortgage bust.