Racism in the Name of Equity Isn't the Answer | Opinion

You may have seen the headlines this month about the NFL using something called "race norming" to make it more difficult for Black former players to qualify for any compensation from the $1 billion concussion settlement fund.

Make no mistake—using race to deny people what they are owed, as the NFL's legal team in charge of administering the settlement did in this case, is an unconscionable form of racism.

But what you may not have heard from woke media outlets is that the "race-norming" used by the NFL was actually created by the Left more than a generation ago as part of its racial equity agenda.

President Jimmy Carter's Labor Department claimed the General Aptitude Test Battery used by many state employment agencies unfairly measured Black applicants' cognitive abilities. The department began to adjust the test scores of Black applicants so that the average Black applicant's score matched the average white applicant's score.

Congress managed to ban the government use of "race norming" in 1991, but as a private entity, the NFL was allowed to keep the policy. In the concussion suit, the league used it to claim that lower cognitive scores of some Black former-NFL players are lower because the cognitive tests themselves were racist, not because the players had suffered cognitive impairment from playing football.

Labeling one race incapable of taking a test, in an attempt to combat racism, only came back to hurt the people it was intended to help. Race-norming was wrong when the Left pushed it a generation ago and it is still wrong when the NFL uses it today. Unfortunately, the Left's racial equity agenda has moved far beyond the Labor Department and the NFL. Now it is pushing critical race theory on our federal government agencies, our largest corporations and even our local schools.

NFL logo
The NFL logo is pictured before the first quarter between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Once confined to elite universities, critical race theory holds that the United States is a fundamentally racist country, and that racism has corrupted our entire legal system. Therefore, according to critical race theorists, any effort to treat people "equally" under the law only perpetuates past racist outcomes.

Instead of striving for equal treatment under the law, critical race theory seeks equitable outcomes delivered by an activist government. This is why Democrats ended the use of standardized tests in admissions at University of California schools, and it is why they are pushing for the end entrance exams for New York's best public high schools.

Some conservatives are pushing back against critical race theory. In Florida, for example, Governor Ron DeSantis has promised not to let CRT's "false history" be taught as fact in Florida's classrooms. DeSantis has promised to make sure that civics and the Constitution are portrayed accurately in the classroom.

This is a good start, but it is not enough. We should also teach the next generation about the legendary achievements of Black Americans. Astronaut Guion Bluford, Congressman Hiram Rhodes Revels, NASA scientist Mary Jackson, General Benjamin Davis and General Hazel Johnson-Brown are all examples of inspirational figures in American history whose accomplishments we should cherish. Each of them demonstrates to our nation's youth that Black people are more than victims.

None of us are blind to the facts that our nation's history isn't perfect and that racism still exists. The horrors of slavery should absolutely still be taught in our classrooms. We should have open and honest discussions about how we can learn the right lessons from our nation's history.

But we cannot continue to divide our nation by assigning roles of "victims" and "oppressors." We cannot advance together as a nation if our first step in analyzing any issue is to divide ourselves up by race and then tally up who is winning. It is that kind of thinking that has made policies like "race-norming" so common.

We are Americans first. It is high time that we start embracing our similarities as individuals under God, rather than promoting our differences for political and financial gains.

Jack Brewer is Chairman of the Center for Opportunity Now at the America First Policy Institute. Brewer was NFL team captain for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, and also serves as CEO and Portfolio Manager at the Brewer Group.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.