Imagine … Just Imagine This!

Lafe Tolliver

By Lafe Tolliver, Esq
Guest Column

There you are. Almost mentally and emotionally maxed out at trying to get ahead in corporate America.

You were second in your class of 138 students at Columbia School of Business. The 3M Company pulled your resume for a possible slot in management.

Your credentials are impeccable. Oberlin undergraduate in strategic organizations and an MBA from The University of Chicago in crisis management and supply chains. You also speak Yoruba, Spanish and Farsi.

You were born in Budpointe, Mississippi. Population: 873… on a good day. Father: postal worker. Mother: retail clerk.

The headhunter who is scoping you out for potential corporate hires, indicates to you on the third interview that companies want “diversity and inclusion and equal opportunity” in their now younger workforce.

You are all in! You get the acceptance letter that says you are wanted, golden and your start date and entry level pay grade. All is good. Life is sweet!

But…three days before the start date of joining the corporate team at the 3M Company, you get a call from Human Relations (HR) indicating that there will be a temporary hiring delay due to unspecified litigation just filed against the company.

You are flummoxed. What litigation and for what reason? Corporate is mum on the specifics and so you call around to the other “minority hires” and find out that they too got the same call from HR basically stating, “Don’t call us, we will call you.”

Not one to sit and wait for the phone to ring, you jump on Google and start searching around for litigation and the 3M Company.

Bingo! Doesn’t take too many searches before you hit paydirt.

You discover to your amazement that 3M is being sued for being too progressive in its new hiring practices regarding diversity and inclusion.

You read further to understand that a right-wing legal group called America First Legal founded by former Trump advisor Stephen Miller, has filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging that the corporate practices of the 3M Company, amongst other corporate entities, is in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

A casual reading of that landmark legislation passed during the Johnson administration provides no legal cover or justification for so call aggrieved non minorities to successfully protest that they are the new “Negroes” being discriminated against!

If you know any history of the discriminatory Trump administration and its draconian policies and the nefarious influences that Stephen Miller had on Trump, you would quickly discern that such a lawsuit is a farce.

It is a media stunt to try to force public attention to attack and reject the authority of that civil rights legislation by declaring that is now, “woke” legislation and ergo…bad rule.

The same right wing legal battering ram also filed similar grievances against Bud Light for using divisive and illegal employment practices for offering leadership development courses for those historically underrepresented groups in corporate America.

You read further on and find out that the same white grievance legal group filed a complaint against diversity efforts by the mega private equity group, BlackRock, due to it offering scholarships to provide internships to members of underrepresented minority groups.

Yep. Hear it is. In black and white. Some right-wing GOP disgruntled white politicos want the courts to step in and invalidate civil rights legislation because they contend for all practicable purposes that too many minorities are gaining employment access to corporate America at the exclusion of their white sons and daughters.

Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, with his paper-thin sensitivity to criticism and being a champion of throttling all things, “woke”, pulled billions of dollars of state monies from BlackRock over its policies that took into account the environmental, social and governance impact of its investments.

It is as if a certain vocal but well-funded arm of the far-right GOP party has found a position in America’s now seemingly hostile and racialized culture to attack issues of fairness as being the new “woke” issue to excoriate and demonize.

People of the ilk of Stephen Miller who have both open and latent hostility to all things of color, want to gin up White America’s racial grievances so they will impugn the goodwill and integrity of corporate America who wants to do the right thing.

Open antagonisms against people of color by bitter and grieved White Americans will welcome these legal complaints as a means by which they wish to stop the slow drift of White America becoming a minority demographic in the next two decades.

If America First Legal can place a chilling effect on corporate America’s campaign to employ more of those “others”, then America First Legal will be seen as the vanguard to make further assaults on “woke” attempts to integrate America.

When the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the historic civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965, he commented to then Republican Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, “Well, we just lost the South!”

Prophetic and true. These new assaults on equal employment are trending in a line of other recent attempts to silence and thwart people of color from accessing full American citizenship, It reminds me of what my mother used to say: “If it is not one thing, it’s another!”


Contact Lafe Tolliver at