FAIR News: Defending Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
Dear Friends of FAIR,
Last week, FAIR’s legal team in partnership with FAIR in the Arts, sent a letter to the National Performance Network (NPN), which is described on their website as “a vibrant network of artists and organizations committed to advancing racial and cultural justice through the arts.”
An incident report submitted to our anonymous reporting site, FAIR Transparency, alerted us that the National Performance Network’s Artists for Social Change Program explicitly states that “Artists must identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC).” Additionally, the NPN website clearly demonstrates its receipt of federal grant funding via the National Endowment for the Arts.
As an organization committed to pro-human anti-racism, FAIR supports efforts to achieve greater fairness and assist those in need of financial assistance in the arts. We believe, however, that establishing a federally-funded program whereby applicants can be excluded based on skin color or ancestry violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Artists, educators, and administrators in the FAIR in the Arts network uphold that viewing each other based only on immutable characteristics such as skin color, gender, and sexual orientation misses an opportunity to see each other more fully as individual human beings.
In our letter, FAIR urged NPN to open the program to any deserving applicant without regard to their immutable traits, and gave them five days to respond. We have not yet heard back from NPN, but would welcome them to engage with FAIR in a constructive manner to right a wrong. Despite good intentions, federally funded organizations must adhere to federal civil rights protections. We are hopeful that NPN will promptly respond to us and open the program to any deserving applicant, regardless of racial categorization. We will continue following up in the coming weeks. You can read the full letter here.
The Team at The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism
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Regarding Title VI, the requirement seems to be that 'Artists must identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC)'. If a male who 'identifies as a woman' has to be accepted as a woman (in sports, the arts, universities, etc), does a white person who identifies as Black, Indigenous and/or BIPOC have to be accepted as Black, Indigenous and/or BIPOC?
One question I have about this is: 'What the heck is BIPOC?" - Follow up questions include: A) Who is included in the newspeak designator BIPOC and why?; B) Who decided who is included in the newspeak designator BIPOC and when was the vote taken about it? and C) When did BIPOC become a federally recognized racial or ethnic designator for anyone? I don't see it on the census or anywhere else on Federal Data sites. 🤷♀️