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Judge Rules Minority Business Agency Must Help White People

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

A judge in Texas has ruled that a federal agency created to help minority-owned businesses must open up its services to all races and ethnicities, including white people.

The Minority Business Development Agency was created in 1969 under the Nixon administration to assist racially and ethnically marginalized groups of people, “including Hispanic and Latino American, Asian Pacific American, African American, and Native American businesses.”

“By establishing a federal agency dedicated exclusively to minority business enterprise, President Nixon recognized the impact of minority businesses on the nation’s economy and on the general welfare of the country,” according to the agency’s website.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Mark T. Pittman in Fort Worth ruled on Tuesday that the agency, while trying to reverse discrimination against people of color, in turn discriminates against white people, according to The Washington Post.

Pittman issued a 93-page opinion, that claims three business owners were unable to utilize the agency due to their race.

“Plaintiffs hail from different states and have different circumstances, backgrounds, and businesses. But they have much in common: they all worked hard to get where they are, they all overcame obstacles in pursuit of the American Dream, they all care deeply for their businesses, and they all wanted—but couldn’t obtain—assistance from the same federal program,” read the ruling. “They’re also all white, a salient detail in this case.”

Pittman argued that three business owners from Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin checked the boxes when it came to seeking services for their companies, but they just couldn’t satisfy ”the race-based barrier.”

The federal judge also claimed there was an issue of semantics, that the agency’s language serves “socially or economically disadvantaged individual[s].”

“While that seems race-neutral, the Statute defines it in racial terms,” Pittman wrote.

Near the end of the ruling, Pittman compares Irish immigrants in the 19th century seeking employment as being equivalent to Black Americans seeking employment during the Jim Crow era.

“The [Minority Business Development Agency] advertises services exclusively for some races but not others,” read the ruling. “That racial presumption fails strict scrutiny and thus violates the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection guarantees. While the Agency’s work may help alleviate opportunity gaps faced by [minority business enterprises], two wrongs do not make a right.”

The Minority Business Development Agency did not immediately return The Daily Beast’s request for comment Wednesday.

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