“They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, 1857 Dred Scott Decision
There are differences between supplier diversity and affirmative action. Supplier diversity is an effort by large corporations to be more inclusive in their supply chains. Affirmative action has been applied to increasing diversity in higher education and employment.
The recent Supreme Court decision that makes the affirmative action admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina illegal while not addressing supplier diversity directly represents an attack on Black and brown communities and their businesses. The same forces that were successful in overturning Harvard’s and UNC ‘s programs are the same forces that would see value in overturning the benefits of corporate supplier diversity.
These attacks share a legal philosophy and more importantly, a vision of American society that is ahistorical and fundamentally a reflection of white supremacy beliefs and attitudes. And that is why supplier diversity professionals and corporate leaders cannot and should not assume we can continue with business as usual. They are coming for supplier diversity.