Trump Appointee at Agency That Protects Against Financial Discrimination Wrote Racist Blog - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

The Washington Post is reporting that Eric Blankenstein, appointed policy director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by President Trump, wrote a blog expressing racist views.

From The Washington Post:

In a 2004 post, Blankenstein wrote that a proposal at the University of Virginia to impose harsher academic penalties for acts of intolerance was “racial idiocy.” He questioned how authorities could know the motivation of someone using a racial slur.

“Fine . . . let’s say they called him n—–,” he wrote, spelling out the slur. “. . . would that make them racists, or just a——-?”

Blankenstein also wrote that “hate-crime hoaxes are about three times as prevalent as actual hate crimes.” 

Consumer advocacy organization Allied Progress is calling for Blankenstein’s dismissal. From a statement released by Allied Progress:

Among other things, Blankenstein wrote that calling someone “n—-r” (he actually used the word) didn’t make them a racist, asked “does it matter that someone got beat up because they were black,” claimed that hate crime “hoaxes” are “three times as prevalent as actual hate crimes,” blamed a woman’s right to choose as the reason a pregnant woman was murdered, and lamented that women can “‘f— someone [they] shouldn’t have’” and use abortion to “‘get rid of the problem’” but men can’t. He also likened stem cell research to the Holocaust.

Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress is imploring CFPB acting director Mick Mulvaney to fire Blankenstein.

“Before Mick Mulvaney took over the CFPB, the Bureau was an aggressive enforcer of laws protecting consumers from discriminatory lending practices, securing more than $400 million in fines and remediation for victims of redlining and other unfair behavior,” said Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, a consumer advocacy organization that has been critical of Mulvaney’s leadership at the CFPB.

He continued, “At Mulvaney’s direction, the vigorous pursuit of bad financial actors participating in discriminatory lending has ceased to exist. He has gutted the fair lending division’s ability to enforce the law and left it in the hands of a man whose views on race and gender have no place in any position of public trust.”

“With such abhorrent views, Eric Blankenstein shouldn’t be let anywhere near the CFPB’s fair lending division let alone running it. Mulvaney must fire him immediately,” he concluded.

In a statement to The Washington Post Blankenstein addressed his blog. “The insight to be gained about how I perform my job today—by reading snippets of 14-year old blog posts that have nothing to do with consumer protection law—is exactly zero,” he said.

“Any attempt to do so is a naked exercise in bad faith, and represents another nail in the coffin of civil discourse and the ability to reasonably disagree over questions of law and policy,” he said. “The need to dig up statements I wrote as a 25-year-old shows that in the eyes of my critics I am not guilty of a legal infraction or neglect of my duties, but rather just governing while conservative.”

 

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Samara Lynn

Samara Lynn is a technology journalist, covering the industry for a decade. Her work appears in The Wirecutter, Tom's Hardware, PC Mag, and other online outlets. She's the author of "Windows Server 2012: Up and Running" and previously worked in the IT industry. She's currently the digital manager at Black Enterprise.


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