Ralph Taylor, a Washington State business owner, is challenging the policies that determine eligibility for disadvantaged and minority status in state and federal incentive programs.
After a DNA test showed that Taylor was 90 percent Caucasian, six percent American Indian and four percent sub-Saharan African decent, he submitted the results to Washington’s Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises. Taylor believed that these results allowed him to certify as black and qualify his business as a Minority Owned Enterprise. Taylor also applied for the federally funded Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program through the US. Department of Transportation.
The US. Department of Transportation immediately questioned the validity of Taylor’s DNA test, and demanded proof of a direct ancestor. They also found no persuasive evidence that showed Taylor had suffered social and economic disadvantage by virtue of being a Black American. Taylor’s MBE certification with the Washington OMWBE was later reversed upon the bureau reviewing his eligibility.
Taylor then took his case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, who dismissed his suit in February 2019. He is now hoping that his case will get picked up by the United States Supreme Court, believing that it will prove to be a landmark decision on the standards that the government uses to determine racial identity.
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