It is very difficult to be surprised by appointments in President Donald Trump's administration at this point. He selected a fast-food chain CEO for Labor Secretary, a man who wanted to eliminate the Energy Department to head the EPA, and a man with no governmental experience to oversee Housing and Urban Development. So it almost makes sense that one of Trump's appointees, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, would pull a similar move. DeVos' team picked Candice Jackson to head the Department of Civil Rights, abet temporarily, and not everyone is thrilled given her track record on civil rights.
It turns out that Jackson once complained that she was being discriminated against because she is white. As ProPublica reported, Jackson wrote a piece in the Stanford Review as an undergrad in the '90s detailing her experience in a calculus class where she "gravitated" to a part of the class where students were given additional help. However, she found that it was reserved for minority students, and she couldn't participate.
In the Review, she wrote that she was "especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs."
NBC News also reported that she wrote an op-ed declaring Affirmative Action as promoting racial discrimination. Jackson has also written about her support of economist Murray N. Rothbard, who called the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "monstrous."
Betsy DeVos still hasn't met with student survivors of sexual assault or their allies, despite multiple requests. https://t.co/UISr9XFWlK— NWLC (@nwlc) April 18, 2017
Jackson also wrote in the Review about feminism. Specifically, that, "In today’s society, women have the same opportunities as men to advance their careers, raise families, and pursue their personal goals. College women who insist on banding together by gender to fight for their rights are moving backwards, not forwards."
It is important to note that these college op-ed pieces of Jackson's were written and published in the '90s, and there is totally a chance her life experiences since then have shaped and changed her views, but it's certainly troubling to hear that someone who once published these opinions is now making decisions in a high-level government department as the deputy assistant secretary of the Office For Civil Rights, acting as the secretary until the position is filled.
ProPublica notes that the position does not require Senate confirmation and oversees 550 department staffers. Another part of her job will oversee Title IX as well as sexual assault on campus.
Unfortunately, Jackson also has a troublesome track record when it comes to sexual assault victims. Jackson's 2005 book, Their Lives: The Women Targeted By The Clinton Machine, told the stories of the women who accused President Bill Clinton of alleged sexual assault, who has denied their claims. According to The Washington Post, Jackson also helped Trump arrange for Clinton's accusers to attend the second presidential debate in October, soon after Trump's infamous "Access Hollywood" tape leaked. In the audio, Trump brags about grabbing women.
However, when confronted with allegations against Trump of sexual assault and harassment, which he has also denied, Jackson called his accusers "fake victims."
With all of these past actions and opinions, it's very difficult to see why anyone thought her appointment was a good idea. There will certainly be push back from the left, and we'll need to keep an eye out for any attempts to push back civil rights during her tenure and fight to uphold them.