‘Flagrantly illegal’: Pfizer college fellowship program excludes white, Asian students from participating

The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is facing backlash for launching a fellowship program that bars whites and Asians from participating.

Known as the Breakthrough Fellowship Program (BFP), the initiative only caters to those of “Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic [or] Native American descent.”

According to Aaron Sibarium of the Washington Free Beacon, the program specifically offers those of these particular racial categories access to “multiple internships, a fully funded master’s degree, and several years of employment at the pharmaceutical giant.”

The goal of the program is to enhance so-called “diversity.”

“This program is designed to enhance our pipeline of diverse talent of leaders. The BFP, first of its kind will work to advance students and early career colleagues of black/African American, Latino/Hispanic and Native American descent with a goal of developing 100 fellows by 2025,” a BFP FAQ sheet notes.

“One of Pfizer’s Bold Moves is to make Pfizer an amazing workplace for all and we are committed to increasing diversity by fostering a more inclusive workplace. Every Pfizer ‘Breakthrough’ program is designed to cultivate a pipeline of diverse talent. Everything we do is driven by our purpose.”

Apparently, so-called “inclusion” and “diversity” revolve around empowering some races at the expense of others. There’s a word for this:

Pfizer has tried to preemptively absolve itself of guilt by proclaiming in its FAQ that those of the wrong racial makeup can still take part in other “opportunities.”

“Pfizer is an equal opportunity employer. We have multiple programs and opportunities throughout the year for undergraduate and graduate students and for Pfizer colleagues generally. For example, any colleague can pursue an MBA or MPH through Pfizer Benefits’ Education Assistance Program. We also host MBA students each summer,” the FAQ reads.

“Undergraduates and graduate students who are not eligible or interested in the Breakthrough Fellows Program but would like to pursue a career at Pfizer can apply to the Summer Growth Experience Program and/or create a job alert on our Pfizer.com/Careers page to receive email or text notifications when positions are opened.”

But this attempt is unlikely to succeed.

Gail Heriot, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, told the Beacon that the racial requirement is a clear-cut violation of both the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which reportedly bans racial discrimination in contracting, and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which reportedly bans racial discrimination in employment.

The lawyers the Beacon spoke to said the same thing.

“David Bernstein, an expert on civil rights law at George Mason University School of Law, said the Breakthrough Fellowship was ‘obviously illegal.’ Dan Morenoff, the executive director of the American Civil Rights Project, called it a ‘very facial violation’ of Title VII. Jonathan Berry, a partner at Boyden Gray & Associates, said it was ‘hard to see any way’ the program was legal,” Sibarium reported.

All that remains now is for someone to just sue Pfizer into compliance. It’s happened before with numerous other companies.

“Some companies have scrapped race-conscious programs in the wake of discrimination lawsuits, which — when they involve overt racial quotas — typically succeed,” Sibarium notes.

“Even the threat of a lawsuit can pay dividends: Last year, for example, the American Civil Rights Project sent Coca-Cola a letter demanding that it drop a requirement that law firms working with the company staff at least 30 percent of their teams with ‘diverse lawyers.’ In a memo to shareholders in February, Coca-Cola announced it was backing away from the policy.”

News of Pfizer’s capitulation to racial essentialism comes only days after Sibarium broke a related story about how Google “is setting hard caps on how many white and Asian students universities can nominate for” its Google Ph.D. Fellowship program.

“The Google Ph.D. Fellowship, which gives promising computer scientists nearly $100,000, allows each participating university—a group that includes most elite schools—to nominate four Ph.D. students annually,” according to Sibarium.

Except that Google now says that if a university nominates more than two students, the third and fourth must be “a woman, Black / African descent, Hispanic / Latino / Latinx, Indigenous, and/or a person with a disability.”

While this policy isn’t as racist as the BFP, it’s still racist nonetheless. And illegal.

But apparently, neither the law nor basic morality matter much to the likes of Google, Pfizer, and the countless other corporations that have gone “woke” in Joe Biden’s America …

Vivek Saxena


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