I have learned so much about the development of feminism at this point that the big picture is coming into sharper focus even as I’m starting to turn my attention to other matters.
For example, I can say with certainty that modern feminism as a mass movement (as opposed to a fringe of disaffected misfits) was born the day that women were included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which put all women – even white ones – in the same “disadvantaged” category as minorities. This was the work of a segregationist white, Southern senator who was obviously trying to dilute the impact of affirmative action.
The Civil Rights Act thereby gave companies and feminist activists a financial incentive to promote women of any race. Incentives matter, and quite a lot. Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem just hopped on the bandwagon — they were merely hucksters who made little – if any – difference.
Now, we are getting to the point where white women are no longer seen as deserving beneficiaries of affirmative action.
In Seattle, of all places, white women’s disadvantaged status has been called into question in a major construction project:
A group of white women is threatening to sue if the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) removes them from a program that helps women and minority-owned businesses get work on highway projects.
WSDOT hired a consultant to conduct a disparity study last year to determine if women and specific minority groups are continuing to experience discrimination when it comes to being awarded contracts on public works projects.
Colorado-based BBC Research and Consulting issued a 678-page report last May that found firms owned by white women are winning enough jobs and don’t need the extra help afforded them in the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. Federal rules give DBEs a leg up on winning contracts on highway projects, as general contractors must hire disadvantaged firms to perform a set percentage of a project.
Many white women who own DBE-certified firms are opposed to the change. A newly formed group, Women in Highway Construction, is threatening a lawsuit, arguing that discrimination is alive and well in Washington state.
“Oh my gosh yes. They (men in the industry) don’t want to talk to you, they don’t want to deal with you, they’re very uncomfortable dealing with you,” said Colleen Hallett, who owns Mobile Electrical Distributors in Seattle. “I have salesmen come in here and bypass me and go straight to my male employees even though I’m the boss.”
The disparity study found that other minority groups continue to suffer “substantial disparities,” including businesses owned by African American, Asian-Pacific Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and South Asians.
“While the other firms (minority groups) got little to no work, white women-owned firms continued to get work for that time (considered in the study). That was good for that group, but the other firms didn’t get much work,” said Brenda Nnambi, WSDOT’s Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity.
Based on the results of the study, WSDOT is seeking a waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation to remove white women-owned firms from being counted toward project DBE goals. The waiver is being sought after white women have been included in the program for 31 years.
“The study revealed that Caucasian women-owned firms actually received more contract dollars than expected,” wrote WSDOT Assistant Communications Director Kris Rietmann in a December 16 press release. “Lacking evidence of discrimination against Caucasian women-owned business in the local marketplace, WSDOT cannot include them in contract-specific DBE goals.”
This inclusion of women-owned firms under affirmative action has been a great boon to a number of white men who happen to have good wives. Just keep the company in your wife’s name, and it qualifies as a “disadvantaged” business. Affirmative action for white women has not done much for singlemoms, but it’s made a lot of rich white folks’ lives easier (their daughters could take advantage of affirmative action), and it has raised some others into the middle class or above. Those who can keep their marriages together despite having working wives have probably fared best. Overall, due to the negative effects on family formation, it’s probably a wash, but possibly somewhat better for whites than if they were entirely denied affirmative action.
But now the jig is up. It had to end eventually. This grand coalition has too many takers today, and something must give. Apparently, that will be white women’s privileges under affirmative action.
White women are not taking this graciously:
“This is a war on white women, and we’re not going to take it sitting down,” said Mary Guthmiller, who owns DBE Electric. “It’s going to cost the state of Washington a lot more grief and trouble to fight an injunctive action which we are willing to take if necessary to protect our right to be able to exist as businesses and participate in the program that we fought hard alongside our other minority businesses to even have any little bit of this construction dollar.”
At a public meeting Thursday in Shoreline, women told WSDOT officials the study which showed white women are not discriminated against is flawed. They cited several examples including that not enough women were interviewed for the report. Many also complained that the study counted inflated contract dollar amounts won by white women-owned businesses. The consultant counted the contract amounts promised to white women, not what was actually paid.
I’m afraid the white women are going to lose this battle. Today, white women are outnumbered by nonwhites in the Democrat coalition, and the numbers count. I’ve predicted for years now that ethnic concerns would eventually trump sexual politics, but I think a lot of people will be surprised by how quickly white women abandon feminism when it no longer provides them with any material benefits. This hasn’t quite come to pass yet, but the writing is on the wall.