You know what’s ruining this country? Talking about racism.

Maxine Waters has been getting praise the last couple of days for her actions in standing against a bill designed to erode consumer protections. The protections in question are designed to make it harder for auto-loan companies to discriminate against people of color in lending terms.

The auto-loan business is unlike, say, the mortgage business where it’s relatively rare for the seller of a home to negotiate the terms of a mortgage taken out by the buyer. In the car business, negotiating the terms of a potential loan is part of the wheeling and dealing that goes into the process of selling the car. It turns out that there’s a lot of data that discrimination in loan terms has been happening even very recently. (This, unfortunately, is actually quite like mortgages where we know from the information that came out after the 2008 housing crash that people of color had been systematically pressed into taking unfavorable loan terms.) Because of this, these regulations have a direct impact on car dealerships themselves who are implicated in creating unfair terms – indeed the closely-connected, but frequently legally-separate loan companies don’t always know anything about the race of the buyer, but the car seller interacting with a buyer face-to-face certainly does. And it’s that seller negotiating the terms. So, of course, car sellers were a primary target of the regulations.

This has not gone down well with car sellers who take great exception to the idea that people of color being routinely charged more interest than white folks should in any way reflect badly on them … or justify intrusive government regulations. Trump, of course, is here to help out those beleaguered racists who desperately want the freedom to change people different interest rates based on race. Thus entered Maxine Waters and her praiseworthy defense of reasonable regulations on the floor of the House.

Not everyone found Waters’ defense praiseworthy, however. Mike Kelly, coincidentally the owner of several car dealerships, did not like Waters’ floor speech one bit. Not that he wanted to disagree with her, of course. He hated being put in a position where he was forced to disagree with her. The truly terrible thing about repealing anti-discrimination protections is that when repealing law whose entire purpose is to prevent discrimination based on race, the repeal’s opponents mention race at all!

“We have seen the economy take off,” Kelly, who also owns three auto dealerships, exclaimed. “I just think that if you come to the floor and there are 60 minutes to debate. 30 minutes on each side. But as I was sitting there, I had 30 minutes of Democrats coming down and talking about how bad automobile people are because they discriminate against nonwhite buyers. I said that’s not America. We don’t talk about those things.”

There’s so much to address. I’d love to leave the Jordan Peterson post up longer. I need to follow up on what happened in Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank yesterday. And yet, here I am quoting some asshat white man who thinks the biggest tragedy in repealing a requirement that we not discriminate based on race is that we violate the sacred dictum that in REAL AMERIKKKA we shouldn’t ever talk about race.

Fuck Trump’s America.



  1. fledanow says

    I know I’m naive, but what on earth did the opponents of the bill use as arguments against regs preventing discrimination on the basis of race when providing loans? My mind boggles.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The only pro-argument I read about them making (there may have been others that weren’t reported in what I read) boiled down to this:

    1. The data which regulators used to determine that discrimination had occurred was imperfect data.
    2. Therefore, the conclusion that discrimination occurred couldn’t have been perfect.
    3. When limiting someone’s freedom, as these regulations limit the freedom of auto dealers by requiring them to submit data and documents for regulators to review, you can justify that loss of freedom only when your conclusion that discrimination has occurred with absolute certainty.
    4. Given that in this case absolute certainty hasn’t been reached, requiring auto dealers to file paperwork is an unjust encroachment on auto-dealer freedom.

    They didn’t argue the freedom to discriminate, just the freedom to not have to file paperwork that proves they aren’t discriminating. Because that’s a truly important freedom. Never mind, of course, that the data upon which the conclusions are based couldn’t possibly have been 100% comprehensive without universal reporting. Never mind that preventing paperwork from being turned in undermines the possibility of universal reporting. Never mind that if there is discrimination and they want it proved by perfect data, we’re doing exactly what we should be doing to reach that level of proof.

    Nope. Paperwork = slavery. Freedom for the auto dealer is all-important. USA. USA. USA.

    That was the whole argument.

    Of course, you can have imperfect data and still prove that some discrimination is happening, even if you’re not 100% sure that the discrimination is universal throughout all car dealerships (which it probably isn’t). They were acting like some undiscovered data might show that some car dealerships were discriminating against white car buyers, and that all the discrimination might balance out so that somehow we can treat it as if there’s no discrimination at all or something.

    I swear their perspective is just weird.

  3. fledanow says

    As a Canadian, I tend to put that kind of perspective down to worship of the “individual” stemming from a too great emphasis on individual rights and pursuit of happiness (as opposed to responsibility to the community) coming from a dogmatic reading of your constitution and Bill of Rights. Our constitutional mantra is “peace, order, and good government” and so far our legislators have tended to go for a balance between community and individual interests. However, we are seeing the rise of American style right wing weirdness (see the Ford brothers) and I find this worrisome.

    Also, authoritarians are very odd.

  4. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    your constitution and Bill of Rights.

    Actually, I’m a permanent resident of Canada, though still a birth citizen of the USA, so while the USA constitution is not not my constitution, the Canadian constitution is much more relevant to both my daily life and my law degree.

    None of this renders your statement on authoritarianism any less authoritative, however. They are odd. Especially the Authoritarians for Freedom Brigade.

  5. fledanow says

    You get better and better the more I get to know you (she said, with undisguised Canadian delight).

    And now I have to take time away from packing up my house to find out what the Authoritarian for Freedom Brigade might possibly be. Oh, darn.

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