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Ted Cruz kicks off Black History Month whining about anti-white discrimination

The Texas Republican claimed that the government-funded ITVS has a diversity program that discriminates against white people and conservatives. And he wants answers.


Sen. Ted Cruz kicked off Black History Month by whining about purported anti-white racism.

Ever since the Supreme Court effectively banned race-conscious admissions policies on college campuses last summer, Republicans have ramped up their efforts to ban diversity initiatives — which were devised to stem historic inequality — in other fields.

On Thursday, Cruz sent a letter to the president of the Independent Television Service, a nonprofit partially funded by taxpayers that develops programming for public broadcasters, such as PBS. According to the Texas Republican, ITVS is engaging in anti-white discrimination through a program called the Diversity Development Fund, which was established to help filmmakers of color obtain funding.

In the letter, Cruz wrote:

Because white filmmakers are facially ineligible for this seed money, the fund runs afoul of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. I therefore urge you to remove race as an eligibility criterion for the Diversity Development Fund.

He went on to say “programming need not be produced exclusively by minorities to address the needs and interests of minorities.” Cruz also claimed that ITVS appears to be biased against conservatives, citing as evidence the fact that the organization has helped fund a documentary about systemic racism and another about climate change.

“Yet ITVS funds hardly any documentaries from a conservative perspective,” Cruz complained. (Note how he doesn’t say that the organization fails to fund any such documentaries. It’s also pretty revealing to suggest that documentaries highlighting the impacts of climate change and racism are inherently anti-conservative.)

I think one of the gravest injustices of our time is that this warped logic when it comes to diversity efforts aligns with the thinking of powerful archconservative judges — in particular, those on the Supreme Court — who have already restricted affirmative action policies and may want to ultimately obliterate them.

That potential seems to be animating conservatives like Cruz, as they target affirmative action wherever they see it: from the military to venture capitalism to mass media.

A 2021 study by McKinsey & Company found that projects led by Black filmmakers are consistently underfunded and undervalued, and that the management ranks of the film and TV industries are disproportionately white. The study also found that the industries were losing out on billions of dollars a year because of racial inequities.

This points to a clear need for programs — like the Diversity Development Fund — that seek out and invest in nonwhite filmmakers. But if Cruz has his way, the Independent Television Service would be barred from doing so.