Believers in the dream of Martin Luther King; in a society that judges individuals based on their merit and not their skin color (or gender) should be aware that this state actively promotes skin color and gender as a consideration when contracting with private companies. Governor Perdue issued Executive Order 13 in 2009, a contradictory document declaring that government agencies should strive to ensure that 10% of the states’ contracted goods and services be contracted with what are called Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs).
The term, historically underutilized business, is a code word for businesses owned by ethnic minorities, women, the disabled and “economically underprivileged individuals.” Consider that the term “economically underprivileged” likely defines those who are poor. Business owners who are poor are likely poor because their business has failed to produce a quality product at a competitive price. Furthermore, those who are able to run businesses should scoff at the notion of being “disabled” for obvious reasons.
Governor Perdue’s Executive Order says that “citizens of the State will be given equal opportunities to participate…without regard to race, gender or disabling condition.” However, later in the document the Governor encourages “state agencies to provide contracting opportunities for small and historically underutilized businesses…which includes businesses owned by minorities, women and the disabled.”
Executive Order 13 explicitly sets as a goal that minority-owned business should constitute 10% of goods and services contracted by state agencies after claiming that “citizens of the State will be given equal opportunity.” Essentially, the order asks that state agencies take race into consideration when contracting services without regard to race. This sort of doublespeak is to be expected in the political arena but this particularly disturbing example asks that the state not award contracts based solely on merit but consider superficial factors such as the color of one’s skin. Dr. King would certainly be disappointed.
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