Talk about playing to your base. The Trump Department of Justice, the New York Times reported Tuesday, is preparing to take on affirmative action programs at America’s universities that it believes might be unlawfully discriminating against, wait for it, white applicants. Attorney General Jeff Sessions may or may not be around much longer, but by God he’s going to make sure that little white boys and girls with B-averages get what they believe they deserve. The new legal project is recruiting lawyers in the DOJ, according to an internal department memo, for “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
“The announcement suggests that the project will be run out of the division’s front office, where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which is run by career civil servants and normally handles work involving schools and universities,” according to the Times. “Supporters and critics of the project said it was clearly targeting admissions programs that can give members of generally disadvantaged groups, like black and Latino students, an edge over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores.”
The forthcoming legal battle seems like the natural culmination of white conservative America’s growing sense of aggrievement and Fox News–fueled belief that they are somehow the victims of reverse racism, particularly under the Obama administration. Donald Trump flirted with and appealed to white nationalists throughout his campaign, and stuck one of their heroes in the big chair at the Justice Department, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the Trump administration is out to fight for civil rights … for white people. Conservative groups have been trying to chip away at affirmative action policies for years, but the Supreme Court has largely protected race-conscious admissions policies in order to create diverse student bodies as a legitimate interest of American colleges and universities, as long as the affirmative action programs stop short of racial quotas or race-based point systems.