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Race Counting in Frederick County, Maryland

Racial Preferences = Racial Discrimination
Commissioner wants to stop Frederick County from categorizing it's citizens by skin color!

Web Posted Nov. 14, 2003

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1. Overview

[Adversity.Net Report Nov. 14, 2003] -- In March of 2002 the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners became aware that the County's Department of Aging was engaging in the practice of categorizing, classifying, distinguishing or otherwise identifying consumers of the Department's services on the basis of race.

Frederick County, Maryland
Frederick County, Maryland is located about 40 miles north of Washington, DC.
"Lennie" Thompson, Commission President
John "Lennie" Thompson, Jr.
          Frederick County Commissioner  John "Lennie" Thompson didn't think that the county had any business classifying the county's senior citizens by skin color.  He proposed a resolution that would have directed the Department of Aging to cease and desist from the practice.  The Commission rejected his resolution.

          Then, earlier this year, Thompson discovered that officials at Walkersville High School in Frederick County had called only minority students out of class to a special assembly.  School officials called "Asian, African American, Pacific Islander and Hispanic" to the auditorium. 

          The purpose of the minority-only student assembly was to invite the students to join the school's multicultural club. 

          Mr. Thompson maintains that such a practice represents a departure from the holding in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954): "[I]n the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place." 347 U.S. at 495.

          As President of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, Mr. Thompson drafted the "Racial Equality Act" (see below) which, if adopted by the Commission, would get the County out of the business of classifying it's residents according to their skin color.

Frederick County Story Index:

Demographics:   Frederick County is one of the fastest growing suburbs of Washington, DC.  The past 10 years have seen a large influx of Washington, DC commuters to this once rural Maryland county.  According to the 2000 Census, Frederick County has a very small minority population.  90.2% of Frederick County residents categorized themselves as "white" in the census.

Frederick County, Maryland:
Total Population

Whites

Blacks

Native Americans and Alaskan Natives

Asians

Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

Mixed Race

209,125

188,659

13,344

464

3,870

90

2,698

100.0%

90.2%

6.4%

0.2%

1.9%

0.04%

1.3%

Source:   2000 Census


2. Thompson's Memo to Commissioners

In this memo, President Thompson explains his rationale for the "Racial Equality Act" to his fellow Frederick County commissioners.
(Reprinted verbatim with permission.)

SUBJECT: Proposed Frederick County Racial Equality Act

"Fellow Commissioners:

          "My proposed Frederick County Racial Equality Act (the "Act") is attached for your review and comment. If enacted, the Act would eventually require County Divisions and Departments to refrain from the practice of categorizing, classifying, distinguishing, or otherwise identifying citizens on the basis of race unless the BOCC [Board of County Commissioners] expressly determines that the practice is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest.

          "The Act allows County Divisions and Departments a certain period of time to present what I call a "Nuremberg defense" (i.e., a claim that the practice is required by higher ups). [See particularly "Definition of the Nuremberg Defense" -- opens a new window.] The BOCC [Board of County Commissioners] would evaluate a Department's claim that a federal or state statute, regulation, rule, grant condition or other authority purportedly requires the practice. If the BOCC expressly determines that a particular practice was narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest, then the practice could continue. Otherwise, the practice must cease.

Frederick County Story Index:

1. Overview (above)
2. Thompson's Memo to Commissioners (this section)
3. Text of the Frederick County "Racial Equality Act" (below)
4. News Articles (below)
5. Footnotes to the Racial Equality Act (below)
6. Contact Info (below)

          "The moral authority and legitimacy of governmental race-based distinctions are at their zenith when expressly required by an act of the United States Congress passed in accordance with its powers under the Civil War Amendments to eliminate the badges and incidents of slavery. On the other hand, the authority and legitimacy of race-based distinctions are at their nadir when performed on the basis of some bureaucratic grant writer's perverse obsession that all of society's benefits and burdens be allocated on the basis of a strict racial quota system. I believe we will find far more examples of the latter than of the former.

          "Over the years at least three members of the present U.S. Supreme Court have expressed concern about the specter of a government bureaucrat, clipboard and pencil in hand, attempting to pigeonhole consumers of government services into pre-determined racial categories:

          "[T]he very attempt to define with precision a beneficiary's qualifying racial characteristics is repugnant to our constitutional ideals. . . If the National Government is to make a serious effort to define racial classes by criteria that can be administered objectively, it must study precedents such a The First Regulation to the Reich's Citizenship Law of November 14, 1935, translated in 4 Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Document No. 1417-PS. pp. 8-9 (1946)." Fullilove v. Klutznick, 448 U.S. 448, 534, footnote 5 (1980) (Stevens, J., dissenting); Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. FCC, 497 U.S. 547, 633, footnote 1 (1990) (Kennedy, J. and Scalia, J., dissenting).

          "My interest in this topic came about in March, 2002 when the prior BOCC learned that the County's Department of Aging was engaging in the practice of categorizing, classifying, distinguishing or otherwise identifying consumers of the Department's services on the basis of race. I proposed a resolution that would have directed the Department of Aging to cease and desist from the practice. On September 24, 2002 Commissioner Rhoderick moved to reject the proposed resolution, seconded by Commissioner Gardner. Commissioners Gardner, Rhoderick & Weldon voted in favor of the motion to reject the resolution, with Commissioners Gray & Thompson opposed to the motion.

          "The recent revelation that officials at Walkersville High School called students to an assembly on the basis of race has brought the topic to the fore once again. The practice represents a departure from the holding in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954): "[I]n the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place." 347 U.S. at 495. [See Gazette story 9/25/03.]

          "If there is to be a movement away from the cavalier use of governmental race-based classifications and toward racial equality, it is quite appropriate (and ironic) that it begin here in Frederick County. We tread over the same ground as did Roger Brooke Taney, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and author of Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), perhaps the most irresponsible and racist decision ever rendered by the Supreme Court.

          "Your opinions and commentary are welcome."

-- (Signed) "Lennie" [John "Lennie" Thompson, Jr., President, Frederick County Board of County Commissioners]


3. Text of the "Racial Equality Act"

Below is the exact text of the proposed "Racial Equality Act" which Frederick County commission president Thompson is proposing.

TEXT OF THE ACT

RESOLUTION #03- ________________

          A RESOLUTION BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND ("BOCC") DIRECTING ALL DIVISIONS AND DEPARTMENTS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE BOCC TO CEASE, DESIST AND REFRAIN FROM THE PRACTICE OF CATEGORIZING, CLASSIFYING, DISTINGUISHING OR IDENTIFYING CITIZENS ON THE BASIS OF RACE UNLESS THE BOCC EXPRESSLY DETERMINES THAT THE PRACTICE IS NARROWLY TAILORED TO SERVE A COMPELLING GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST.

RECITALS

WHEREAS, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character;"1 and

WHEREAS, "Distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are by their very nature odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality;"2 and

WHEREAS, "Classifying persons according to their race is more likely to reflect racial prejudice than legitimate public concerns; the race, not the person, dictates the category;"3 and

WHEREAS, "At the heart of the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection lies the simple command that the Government must treat citizens as individuals, not as simply components of a racial, religious, sexual or national class;"4 and

Frederick County Story Index:

1. Overview (above)
2. Thompson's Memo to Commissioners (above)
3. Text of the Frederick County "Racial Equality Act" (this section)
4. News Articles (below)
5. Footnotes to the Racial Equality Act (below)
6. Contact Info (below)

WHEREAS, "Of all the criteria by which men and women can be judged, the most pernicious is that of race;"5 and

WHEREAS, "an explicit policy of assignment by race may serve to stimulate our society's latent race consciousness, suggesting the utility and propriety of basing decisions on a factor that ideally bear no relationship to an individual's worth or needs...;"6 and

WHEREAS, "One of the principal reasons race is treated as a forbidden classification is that it demeans the dignity and worth of a person to be judged by ancestry instead of his or her own merit and essential qualities;"7 and

WHEREAS, racial classifications "…threaten to stigmatize individuals by reason of their membership in a racial group and to incite racial hostility;"8 and

WHEREAS, "...race is an impermissible arbiter of human fortunes...;"9 and

WHEREAS, "Racial and ethnic distinctions of any sort are inherently suspect...;"10 and

WHEREAS, "Racial classifications of any sort pose the risk of lasting harm to our society…;"11 and

WHEREAS, "[T]he individual is important, not his race, his creed, or his color";12 and

WHEREAS, Racial classifications ". . . reinforce the belief, held by too many for too much of our history, that individuals should be judged by the color of their skin;"13 and

WHEREAS, "Race-based assignments embody stereotypes that treat individuals as the product of their race, evaluating their thoughts and efforts-their very worth as citizens-according to a criterion barred to the Government by history and the Constitution;"14 and

WHEREAS, "A racial classification, regardless of purported motivation, is presumptively invalid and can be upheld only upon extraordinary justification;"15 and

WHEREAS, "[R]acial classifications. . .must serve a compelling governmental interest, and must be narrowly tailored to further that interest";16 and

WHEREAS, "[R]acial classifications are simply too pernicious to permit any but the most exacting connection between justification and classification";17 and

WHEREAS, "It would be a sad day indeed, were America to become a quota-ridden society, with each identifiable minority group assigned proportional representation in every desirable walk of life",18

          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS FOR FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND

1. Identification of Authorities that Purportedly Require Racial Classifications. - Each Division and Department within the jurisdiction of the BOCC shall, not later than January 15, 2004, provide the County Manager with specific citations to any federal or state statute, regulation, rule, policy, grant condition, or other authority that purports to require the Division or Department to categorize, classify, distinguish or identify citizens on the basis of race.

2. Cease and Desist. - Beginning May 17, 2004 each Division and Department within the jurisdiction of the BOCC shall cease, desist and refrain from the practice of categorizing, classifying, distinguishing, or identifying citizens on the basis of race, unless the BOCC expressly determines that the practice is required by a federal or state statute, regulation, rule, policy, grant condition, or other authority that is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest.

3. Delivery of Resolution to Directors of County Divisions and Departments. - The County Manager and the County Attorney are authorized and directed to send a copy of this Resolution to the Directors of all Divisions and Departments within the jurisdiction of the BOCC.

4. Short Title. - This Resolution may be cited as the "Frederick County Racial Equality Act."

          The undersigned hereby certify that the Board of County Commissioners of Frederick County, Maryland approved and adopted the foregoing Resolution on the ___ day of ___, 2003.

ATTEST: BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND

By:

_________________
Douglas D. Browning,
County Manager
_________________________
John L. Thompson, Jr., President
_________________________
Michael L. Cady, Vice President
_________________________
John R. Lovell, Jr.
_________________________
Jan H. Gardner
_________________________
Bruce L. Reeder

Download the Racial Equality Act as an Adobe PDF file.


4. News Stories about the "Racial Equality Act"

Below are excerpts from article in the Frederick County Gazette (Gazette.Net) regarding racial classification in Frederick County.

Thompson questions Walkersville High minority policies 9/25/03

          "Walkersville High School Principal Kristi Mitchell makes no apologies for trying to give children of minority families a leg up in school. She says it's the mandate of the state, after all.

          "Vehemently opposed to that position, Frederick County Commissioner John L. "Lennie" Thompson Jr. (R) of Walkersville is worried about what's going on at Walkersville High. He says the school appears to be giving only minorities the benefit of special programs, classifying students by race and assuming minority races need special treatment.

          "The source of Thompson's ire is a multicultural club at the school, which Mitchell says has been around for about 10 years.

          "Thompson said he first heard about the club recently, when some students told him about a mysterious morning announcement made at the school. The announcement called for "Asian, African American, Pacific Islander and Hispanic females" to attend a meeting in the auditorium. A few days later, the same announcement was made to males of those ethnic groups, Thompson said.

Frederick County Story Index:

1. Overview (above)
2. Thompson's Memo to Commissioners (above)
3. Text of the Frederick County "Racial Equality Act" (above)
4. News Articles (this section)
5. Footnotes to the Racial Equality Act (below)
6. Contact Info (below)

          "Thompson has long opposed race-based governmental actions. ... He objects to special classes for minorities, such as special Scholastic Achievement Test preparation classes, because they focus on race, he said.

          "After hearing concerns about the announcements, [Ms.] Cosley [faculty advisor for the Multicultural Club] and [Walkersville High School Principal] Mitchell acknowledged that some might be concerned that the club excludes white students. But both repeatedly emphasized that all students are welcome in the club.

          "Cosley said the club is intended to teach children about diversity. ... And yes, Scholastic Achievement Test preparation classes, with a special focus on helping minority children, are available at Walkersville High, Mitchell said, but students of any ethnic background are welcome to attend, she said.

          "[Frederick County Commissioner] Thompson doesn't buy it.  "This is racism in its most flagrant example," Thompson said. "Schoolchildren...were told to go to a particular place in the school on the basis of race."

          "As a parent, Thompson said he is discouraged that a school would single out students by race. ... From his perspective, disadvantaged children should get help, but no one should be presumed disadvantaged just because of his or her race.  "You don't divvy up things on the basis of race," he said. "If you do it on the basis of race, then race equals a disadvantage."

Excerpted from the 9/25/03 Gazette story written by Chris Patterson, Staff Member

Last known link (opens new window):
http://www.gazette.net/200339/walkersville/news/179904-1.html


Little Support for Racial Equality Act 11/6/03

          "A proposed bill that would force Frederick County government departments and divisions to stop classifying residents by race may struggle to find support among county commissioners.

          "If passed, the Racial Equality Act, being introduced by Commission President John "Lennie" Thompson Jr. (R), could mean the county would lose out on state and federal grant money.  

          "While that's a risk Thompson is willing to take, at least two of the other four commissioners are not thrilled at the thought of losing much-needed funds to other counties.

Commentary:

It is inaccurate to state that the "Act" might result in loss of funding.  Thompson's resolution includes ample exemptions for federal programs and other funding sources which require collection of racial data.  --Editor 

          "But [Frederick County Commissioner] Thompson is willing to forego state and federal money if necessary.

"I'm willing to assume the risk," he said. "This is an unlawful condition that serves no governmental purpose whatsoever. Nobody has the guts to do anything about it so it's still going on. People are afraid to do anything."

          "Thompson's efforts for racial equality sparked in September 2002, when he attempted to eliminate what he considers racial profiling by the Department of Aging.

          "He unsuccessfully tried to remove a question from the department's registration form asking for an applicant's race.

Frederick County Story Index:

1. Overview (above)
2. Thompson's Memo to Commissioners (above)
3. Text of the Frederick County "Racial Equality Act" (above)
4. News Articles (this section)
5. Footnotes to the Racial Equality Act (below)
6. Contact Info (below)

          "More recently, Thompson spoke out against officials at Walkersville High School who called for "Asian, African American, Pacific Islander and Hispanic" students to attend at meeting in the auditorium. The students were called out of class and asked to join the school's multicultural club.

          "Thompson's Racial Equality Act is designed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal and violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

Excerpted from the 11/6/03 Gazette story written by Sherry Greenfield, Staff Writer

Last known link (opens new window):
http://www.gazette.net/200345/frederickcty/county/186593-1.html


5. Footnotes to the "Racial Equality Act"

Below are the supporting footnotes to Frederick County's "Racial Equality Act".

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1 Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963. Return to text
2 Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81, 100 (1943); Oyama v. California, 332 U.S. 633, 646 (1948); Hernandez v. Texas, 347 U.S. 475, 478 n. 4 (1954); University of California Regents v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 290-291 (1978); Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, 223-224 (1995); Rice v. Cayetano, Governor of Hawaii, 528 U.S. 495, 517 (2000). Return to text
3 Palmore v. Sidote, 466 U.S. 429, 432 (1984); Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900, 912 (1995). Return to text
4 Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900, 911 (1995). Return to text
5 Maryland Troopers Association v. Evans, 993 F.2d 1072, 1076 (4th Cir. 1993); Podberskey v. Kirwan, 38 F.3rd 147, 152 (4th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1128 (1995). Return to text
6 Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630, 643 (1993). Return to text
7 Rice v. Cayetano, Governor of Hawaii, 528 U.S. 495, 517 (2000). Return to text
8 Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630, 643 (1993); United States v. Hays, 515 U.S. 737, 744 (1995). Return to text
9 Maryland Troopers Association v. Evans, 993 F.2d 1072, 1076 (4th Cir. 1993); Podberskey v. Kirwan, 38 F.3rd 147, 152 (4th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1128 (1995); Eisenberg v. Montgomery County Public Schools, 197 F.3rd 123, 128 (1999), cert. denied, 529 U.S. 1019 (2000). Return to text
10 University of California Regents v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 291 (1978); Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education, 476 U.S. 267, 273 (1986); Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, 218 (1995); Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900, 904 (1995). Return to text
11 Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630, 657 (1993). Return to text
12 Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630, 648 (1993). Return to text
13 Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630, 657 (1993). Return to text
14 Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900, 912 (1995). Return to text
15 Personnel Administrator of Massachusetts v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256, 279 (1979); Crawford v. Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles, 458 U.S. 527, 536-537 (1982); Washington v. Seattle School District No. 1, 458 U.S. 457, 485 (1982); Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630, 643-644 (1993). Return to text
16 Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, 235 (1995). Return to text
17 Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, 229 (1995); Gratz v. Bollinger, ___ U.S. ___, (2003). Return to text
18 Grutter v. Bollinger, ___ U.S. ___, (2003). Return to text

6. Contact Info

Frederick County Board of County Commissioners

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Winchester Hall
12 E. Church Street
Frederick, MD 21701

301-694-1100 or TDD 301-694-1672
Fax 301-694-1849

Commissioners' E-Mail Addresses:

John L. Thompson, Jr., President lthompson@fredco-md.net
Michael L. Cady, Vice President mcady@fredco-md.net
John R. Lovell, Jr. jlovell@fredco-md.net
Jan H. Gardner jgardner@fredco-md.net
Bruce L. Reeder breeder@fredco-md.net

Download the Racial Equality Act as an Adobe PDF file.


END Race Counting in Frederick County, Maryland

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.