NAS Affiliate Head Appointed to Civil Rights Commission's Illinois Committee

Ashley Thorne

Congratulations to Jonathan Bean on his recent appointment to the United States Civil Rights Commission’s Illinois State Advisory Committee. He is the president of the Illinois affiliate of the National Association of Scholars, a professor of history at Southern Illinois University, and a research fellow of the Independent Institute.

Professor Bean described his history in civil rights efforts and scholarship:

My work on civil rights includes two years on our university's Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, testimony before the state board of higher education and the U.S. Senate, and work with minority business owners who suffered from the corruption of government contracting or lending programs. Currently I am working for a black venture capitalist who sued the U.S. Small Business Administration for racial discrimination and won a $200 million out-of-court settlement. I filed an expert witness report on his behalf and am now identifying prospective clients for him.

This is all related to my scholarship: my second book (Big Government and Affirmative Action: The Scandalous History of the Small Business Administration, 2001) unearthed the corruption in minority contracting and highlighted how "affirmative discrimination" simply divided minority against minority against majority businessmen and women. The book advocates a race-neutral approach to issues that affect all small business owners, regardless of race, color, or national origin. That book found an audience with honest business owners of all races who had been used as "fronts" for fraudulent schemes that fill the government quotas. More recently, I wrote Race and Liberty in America: The Essential Reader (2009) to capture the classical liberal tradition on race and immigration. It can be summed up in the notion that civil rights belong to all Americans and not just government-identified minorities whose classifications are ever-changing.

He welcomes his new post: “I look forward to the work of the committee and am honored that the federal commission selected me for this prestigious and responsible position.”

We wish Professor Bean well as he begins his duties on this important committee.

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