Press Releases

Summerville Pushes Initiative to End ‘Preferential Treatment Based on Race, Gender’

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; January 10, 2013:

(NASHVILLE), January 10, 2013 – State Senator Jim Summerville (R-Dickson) said today he plans to move forward with legislation filed in the State Senate to ban preferential treatment based on race, gender or ethnicity. Summerville has filed several bills which he said makes up the “Civil Rights Initiative of 2013” for consideration in the Tennessee General Assembly.

“Certainly we all need to strive towards the goal of protecting citizens from discrimination,” said Senator Summerville. “But, at the same time that goal is hard to achieve if preferential treatment is part of our state’s public policy. If we hire, promote or give preferential treatment by race, gender or ethnicity, we will continue to divide by race, gender or ethnicity. In the coming months, I will ask my good colleagues of both houses and both parties to fight and win the last battle of the civil rights movement.”

The bills filed would:

  • provide that state government will not give preferential treatment based on gender, race, or ethnicity, except where required by federal law;
  • abolish such group preferences from Tennessee’s public colleges and universities; abolish the job categories of “diversity officers;”
  • eliminate race, gender, or ethnicity as considerations for hiring K-12 teachers;
  • prohibit any and all entities of State government from compiling and keeping statistics, or other data by race, gender, and ethnicity.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. hoped to live to see an America where his children would be judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” Summerville added. “I think he’d be sad if he were among us today to see that this generation has failed in that hope. We can honor his memory by taking steps like California and Michigan have done. Tennessee, where Dr. King died, can become the first state in the South to realize his vision into law.”

“Although it took longer than it should have, our nation has opened the door of opportunity for all. Only character, intelligence, and hard work matter now,” he concluded.