Last September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 979, requiring that publicly traded California companies have members of “underrepresented communities” on their boards. Just last week, NASDAQ announced that it plans to require that companies listed on its exchange have on their board at least one woman, minority, or LGBTQ member. How will NASDAQ check this requirement? In today’s multiracial society, how much African ancestry is required to qualify as black? How much South American heritage defines a Latino? What are the requirements for other ethnicities? In this world of gender fluidity, when is a person deemed to be female? And perhaps most importantly, what privacy rights will people need to abandon in order to get a job?
Growing up, one of my most indelible lessons was to never judge a person by their innate traits. I learned that at home, in school, at synagogue, on the news. Pretty much everywhere. Of course, not everyone practiced this, but I tried. When the first black family moved into our mostly Jewish, all-white neighborhood, I befriended their boy who was my age. When black kids were bused into our neighborhood, I developed a crush on a young black girl.
I was one of the few white kids at my junior high school. I got picked on for being white, for being short and skinny, for being Jewish, and for getting good grades. I never demanded special treatment, I only asked for equal treatment.
So I’ve never understood or agreed with affirmative action. Throughout my life I’ve been turned down for opportunities because my skin was the wrong color. Sometimes, I believe, it was because of my religion. My wife qualified for special treatment in various government programs and for extra education and employment opportunities because of her gender and ethnic heritage. She never took advantage of these perks; she finds them demeaning. She wants to compete on an even playing field, not wanting her accomplishments to be diminished by some undeserved and unnecessary head start. We both grew up without connections or resources or much money, but we were taught that hard work would overcome obstacles and lead to a better life. And it has, despite losing opportunities to affirmative action.
Since the horrific death of George Floyd, the other publicized and politicized killing of black men by police, the ensuing protests and riots, and the subsequent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, nearly every corporation and organization in America has been acquiescing to pressure to give advantages to minorities in all aspects of life. I’ve been on the opposite end of these “virtuous” actions all my life, but I fear it’s getting worse. I’ve worked hard and so I have the means to wait it out, but others don’t. It worries me.
But what worries me more, is a new kind of preference given to people based on their behavior. And more specifically, what used to be considered private behavior. The ever-growing acronym for nontraditional sexual behavior is confusing enough. LGBTQ+. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer or questioning, and others. Many others. Lesbians are gay, aren’t they? What defines queer? Is it different than the other labels? Is it the same as questioning? Different than bisexual? And is there a limit to the others? Are all sexual activities included or just certain ones? Bestiality? Pedophilia? To conservatives, these seem like stupid questions. To progressives, these seem like judgmental or prejudicial questions. But really, any group that demands special rights based on a person’s behavior needs to define that behavior. The LGBTQ+ community doesn’t define it, and not by accident. By not defining the behavior, they can continue to demand special treatment and continue to cry discrimination.
In today’s world where politicians, business leaders, and the public capitulate to the demands of any “underrepresented” group, the LGBTQ+ group has gone from the shadows 100 or more years ago, to acceptance 50 years ago, to pride about 30 years ago to demanding special treatment today. But when did personal, private behaviors become a badge of public pride, and worse, a criteria for giving people opportunities to which they are otherwise undeserving?
There are many private activities of mine of which I’m proud. There are some private activities of mine of which I’m not proud. But in no case do I talk openly about my sexual activities. I won’t judge a person based on their sexual activity, but society is requiring me to do so. Very few things bother me more in today’s “progressive” society.
California is home to most high-tech companies and media companies and generally wields a lot of influence on national corporations. NASDAQ is the second largest American stock exchange when ranked by market capitalization of shares traded. You wouldn’t know that from their about page, though, which only mentions things like diversity, community support, and environmental sustainability. You wouldn’t know that they are actually a capitalist, free-market, stock trading company. They either want to hide that from the public or deny it to themselves, because capitalism is not in favor in our newly progressive culture. And now they’re using their enormous influence to promote preferential treatment to people based on skin color, ethnic makeup, self-identified gender, and self-proclaimed sexual behavior.
So are privacy rights gone in today’s brave new progressive world? How much of your heritage, ethnic background, or DNA will you need to reveal to prospective employers? How much of your personal sexual activities will need to be disclosed in a job interview, and how will they verify it? And will it continue to be illegal to actually ask such questions? Or has Big Brother, or the Fairness for EveryBody Society, crossed that final line to gain absolute control over our lives?