Several departments in Trump's administration want to get rid of policies that require the government to assess the prejudicial effects of regulations.
Donald Trump began his career as a racist landlord who refused to rent to black people. He kicked off his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists. And he called African nations "shithole countries." So, it's no real surprise that he and his administration are interested in making it easier for people to discriminate.
The Justice Department is now asking its officials to consider how to get rid of what are called "disparate impact" regulations, according to the Washington Post. A disparate impact occurs when a regulation is written in a way that's theoretically neutral, but actually discriminatory in application.
One example of this is Trump's "travel ban." It doesn't, in its text, prohibit Muslims from traveling to the United States. Instead, it named several countries, most of which are majority-Muslim countries. That results in Muslims being barred from the U.S. far more than non-Muslims.
The Trump administration wants to make it far easier for certain departments — the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) among them — to ignore when their regulations disproportionately affect people of color, LGBTQ people, non-Christians, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.
The Department of Education has already recommended one course of action in this vein when the Federal Commission on School Safety, convened to look into school shootings after Parkland, issued a recommendation that Obama-era protections against over-disciplining students of color needed to be rolled back.
The Department of Education officially rolled those protections back a few days later, and in doing so it specifically attacked the concept of disparate impact, saying that the guidance issued by Obama's administration incorrectly relied upon the idea that you can prove discrimination by examining the actual effect of a policy rather than the intent of a policy.
This sort of thing is already moving forward at HUD as well, where they are explicitly reconsidering the Fair Housing Act's disparate impact standard.
Which brings us back to Donald Trump — the man that began his career engaging in a housing practice that explicitly discriminated against minorities. Perhaps it is tougher now to get away with something quite so blatant, but his administration is working to remove the roadblocks to the same sort of discrimination.
At root, Trump and his cronies want to make it easier for people to discriminate because Trump's a racist and a bully. His administration has already shown a remarkable commitment to letting those in power hurt those who are not, and this is just another way to achieve that goal.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.