Viral Internet personalities Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, African-American sisters popularly known as “Diamond” and “Silk” praised the Trump administration’s decision to nix Obama-era guidance encouraging schools to consider race during the admissions process.
“When you tell people ‘You can accept people in your school based on race,’ you have to be cautious because that can go back, that can fall either way,” Diamond told Bold TV today. “It could discriminate against black people, it could discriminate against white people, Asians, Hispanics, and we don’t want racism. Listen, we are one race in this country, we have civil liberties and freedoms. No one should be discriminating, and you should go to school based on merit, not because of your skin color. Because somebody with a certain skin color may not have done nothing, you grant them admissions into college, but somebody that’s work hard, they get no admission because of skin color, I think that’s discrimination.”
The departments of Justice and Education this week recalled various guidance letters and memos advising schools on how to legally consider race in admissions and other decisions.
“I also think we should start basing this based on the content of people’s character and not the color of their skin,” Silk said. “Because whenever you do that, and you take and bring your skin color in it, you segregate yourself from the process of being an American first.”
During the conversation, Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy, disagreed with Diamond and Silk.
“Unfortunately, this is par for the course for this administration,” Seawright said “This is part of the President’s effort to take this country full steam backwards. When you look across boardrooms and classrooms across this country, what we do know is that African-Americans, or black and brown people period, have not necessarily had their seat at the table, but traditionally have been on the menu. This gives us an opportunity not just to be at the room, but be at the table … No one is saying ‘You have to accept them because of their skin color.’ What we’re saying is ‘At least give them an opportunity.”
Silk compared school admissions to the color-blind television competition show The View, in which judges turn their backs on contestants and make rankings based solely on a voice rather than looks or other criteria.
“When you’re dealing with education, it should be based on your academics,” Silk said. “What do you have to bring to the table on merit, not based on skin color? If you look at the show called ‘The Voice’ they’re turning around, and they’re listening to the person’s voice, not looking at the person and seeing what color their skin is. What can you bring, and what do you have to offer to this particular school? It shouldn’t be based on somebody’s skin color. That has kept a lot of people divided in this country for so long, I don’t care how you spin it.”‘
Seawright said too many corporations lack diverse leadership and that perpetuates past injustices.
“Again, we do not have laws or guidelines in place to have consideration, even in the NFL, they have I think it’s the ‘Romney [Rooney] Rule,’ that they have to interview, not guarantee someone a job, but they have to interview a certain number of minority coaches when there’s a coaching vacancy,” Seawright said. “Because if those things are not in place, they will never be considerations for people of color to get to the table.”
Yet Silk said that by encouraging race-based preferences, this ends up creating a new form of segregation.
“You have to remove skin color if you want that [equality], because we’re all one race and that’s the human race. We’ve got to all recognize ourselves as American first, so that we can all obtain the American Dream. If you start segregating yourself by skin color, you’re going to segregate yourselves from being part of the process.”
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for American Enterprise Institute scholar Edward Conard. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.