News

The Fight Over Affirmative Action Arrives in Arcadia

UCLA (Arcadia affirmative action protest)
UCLA. – Courtesy photo by ACasualPenguin from Pixabay 

Arcadia city leaders to participate in protest against proposition

Arcadia Mayor Roger Chandler and Councilmember Paul Cheng will participate in a demonstration to protest Proposition 16 on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Arcadia County Park (405 S. Santa Anita Ave., Arcadia, CA 91006).  

The event will start with a press conference featuring keynote speakers like civil rights attorney Leo Terrell, UCLA law professor Dr. Richard Sander, and Assemblyman Phillip Chen, Chandler and Cheng. A peaceful demonstration and a subsequent car rally will follow. Organizers are expecting 400 cars and as many as 1,000 people attending the Arcadia event.

Proposition 16 is a constitutional amendment that would repeal Proposition 209, which banned the use of affirmative action involving race-based or sex-based preferences in California, from the state constitution. Without Proposition 209, the state government, local governments, public universities, and other entities would — within the limits of federal law — be allowed to develop and use affirmative action programs in public employment, public education, and public contracting. A vote in favor of Prop. 16 would lift the ban on affirmative action while a vote against it would ensure that the ban stays in place.

According to a study published by the Brookings Institution, states that have implemented affirmative action bans saw the share of underrepresented minority students admitted to public universities decrease. In California, for example, admission rates for Black and Latinx students have dropped since 1996, when Proposition 209 was passed. According to “California: A Case Study in the Loss of Affirmative Action” published by UCLA’s The Civil Rights Project, although “all groups have seen reductions in the percent of applicants offered admission, African American and Latino admittees have been reduced by 70 to 75 percent at UCLA and UC Berkeley, compared to just 35 and 40 percent for Asian and white applicants.”

University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White and California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley have expressed their support for Prop. 16.

Many opponents of Prop. 16 who want the affirmative action ban to remain in place argue that using race as a factor in college admissions could disadvantage Asian American students. According to reporting from The Guardian, “Janelle Wong, a professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland, said that much of the pushback to a repeal on affirmative action has been led by older, first-generation Chinese American groups that have campaigned against the repeal through misinformation – stating falsely that institutions will institute racial quotas that will slash representation of Asian American students.” However, survey results from the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote indicate that 52% of Asian Americans think affirmative action programs are a good thing.

In a press release issued by the organizers of Saturday’s event, Prop. 16 is characterized as an “attempt to legalize discrimination and restore government preferences.” According to organizers “Prop. 16 dismisses California’s significant gains in diversity, erodes our global competitiveness in all aspects, and will cost taxpayers billions in State procurement costs.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to allow some forms of affirmative action, though racial quotas are considered unconstitutional and the state would be prohibited from employing such measures.

The Court again upheld race-conscious admissions processes in 2016 in 4-5 ruling. “The Court’s affirmance of the [University of Texas’] admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the University may rely on that same policy without refinement. It is the University’s ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admissions policies,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

However, the court has upheld race-based affirmative action constitutional if it serves a state interest like educational diversity. In the 2003 case Grutter v. Bollinger, the court declared that the University of Michigan Law School has an interest in obtaining the benefits of a diverse school environment.

Since June 24, when the measure that would become Prop. 16 passed the state legislature, five car rallies statewide have taken place. On Saturday, Sacramento and San Diego will join with their own rallies. All three events are organized by local grassroots organizations.

August 6, 2020

About Author

Fabiola Diaz


45 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “The Fight Over Affirmative Action Arrives in Arcadia”

  1. White male class of 2014 says:

    Wow… Arcadia is against affirmative action? These intelligent voices will be silenced pretty quick…

    • Eric says:

      It’s important to understand Prop 209 did not ban AA. What Prop 209 forbids is racial discrimination by the state. Otherwise, UC admission this year wouldn’t have sat the record with the most Hispanic students. We don’t need Prop16, UC is the most diversified and successful public universities in the US.

    • Steve Miller says:

      It’s important to understand Prop 209 did not ban AA. What Prop 209 forbids is racial discrimination by the state. Otherwise, UC admission this year wouldn’t have sat the record with the most Hispanic students. We don’t need Prop16, UC is the most diversified and successful public university in the US.

    • Steve Miller says:

      It’s important to understand Prop 209 did not ban AA. What Prop 209 forbids is racial discrimination by the state. Otherwise, UC admission this year wouldn’t have sat the record with the most Hispanic students. Why we need Prop16? UC is already the most diversified and successful public university in the US.

    • Steve Miller says:

      It’s important to understand Prop 209 did not ban AA.

      What Prop 209 forbids is racial discrimination by the state.

    • Ew says:

      LA Times editorial board accurately described Prop16 as“allows race and gender preferences in public college admissions and government contracts,” and questioned AG Becerra’s credibility in providing voters with unbiased ballot info. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-08-04/editorial-ballot-measure-titles-becerra

  2. Jessica S says:

    The article is misleading people. Prop16 legalizes discriminations and people will be judged by their skin colors and race. Vote no on Prop16.

    • Eric says:

      Prop16 will legalize to unconstitutionally discriminate people and people will be judged by their skin colors and ethnicities. Vote no on Prop16!

  3. Emily H. says:

    I am very disappointed at this misleading article! Prop 16 is not about affirmative action! Prop16 proposes to remove a section of California constitution which bans discrimination and preferential treatments based on race/sex/country origin,etc. Once Prop16 passes, the government would have unchecked and unlimited power in dictating virtually every aspects of public affairs including school admission, jobs and contracting! This is so dangerous! Have we not seen enough government overreaching acts ? We need to stop this !

  4. Joe says:

    This article is so biased and misleading. Prop 209 did not ban Affirmative Action (AA). Otherwise, it wouldn’t have passed all the legal challenges in the last 2 decades. Prop 209 forbids racial discrimination by the state. Prop 209 text: “Section 31. Article I. (a) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” Prop 16 will remove these text from California Constitution. Prop 16 will repeal Prop 209 to allow racial discrimination by the state.

  5. Jerry Marks says:

    Prop 16 is driving a law to make racism legal ! No Prop 16!

    • Michele says:

      California colleges have become the most diverse colleges since 1989s through aggressive implementation of Common Sense Affirmative Action to build skilled work force from the ground up through many supportive programs. Prop 16 on the other hand, a “government preference” Affirmative Action that would allow state action “on the basis of race” in public education and employment, will only destroy the well established pipeline to provide upward mobility.

  6. Eric says:

    The article is misleading people and glorifying Prop16 to legalize discriminations. It will unconstitutionally allow the racists to judge people by skin colors and ethnicities. We help people in need, not to those who are lazy. Vote no on Prop16.

  7. AHS Class of 2011 says:

    Using race in college admissions consistently leads to hugely unfair outcomes, with admissions rates that are triple for some groups than other. Asian Americans are hurt the most – there is no “affirmative action” happening for this minority group.

    https://www.economist.com/sites/default/files/images/print-edition/20180623_USC932_0.png
    https://www.economist.com/united-states/2018/06/23/a-lawsuit-reveals-how-peculiar-harvards-definition-of-merit-is
    https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/med-1.png
    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/25/most-americans-say-colleges-should-not-consider-race-or-ethnicity-in-admissions/

    No matter how many times Janelle Wong tries to gaslight us with false statistics, we can see the numbers for ourselves.

    P.S. the false and xenophobic framing of race-based policies being opposed only by “older, first-generation Chinese Americans” needs to stop. Idaho just passed a similar law this year, and it was absolutely not let by “older, first-generation Chinese Americans” . Neither am I, nor Leo Terrell, nor Richard Sander “older, first generation Chinese Americans”. The base is broad.

    https://www.idahopress.com/eyeonboise/house-votes-55-15-in-favor-of-rep-scotts-bill-forbidding-preferences-for-women-minorities/article_864879af-103d-52e8-b531-e5d1d36e827c.html

    • White male says:

      You should see how it affects white people. Wow then you’ll really be upset… unless you’re only worried about “your ethnicity” which is racist….

      • Stephen V says:

        Yes, it goes without saying that it harms white people the most. They’ve been against white people since the beginning. However, what’s new is that in 2020 they’ve decided to not only go against white people but added Asians to the list of groups they go against. Furthermore, without Prop16, the number of Latinos in the UC system has already grown dramatically, so in a few years Senator Bradford & Assemblywoman Weber will start placing quotas on Latinos also. The sytem that initially helps you, will eventually start hurting you once the numbers shift. The best policy is to be fair to everybody and don’t judge by race at all.

  8. AHS Class of 2011 says:

    Pew Research shows that a majority of Americans of all ethnic groups, including Asian Americans, agree that we shouldn’t use race in college admissions. Many of us still believe in affirmative action that is race-blind – helping the disadvantaged based on their need and not giving different treatment based on skin color. Please talk to some AHS students too

  9. Stephen V says:

    Keep in mind that the person who wrote this article is biased. She stands to gain advantage over all other applicants in future job applications if we allow Prop16 to go into law. Prop16 would classify people by race, then lower the bar for certain applicants based on people’s perceptions of how much lowering of the bar that group supposedly needs.

    • Terry Miller says:

      The article was well researched and certainly NOT bias. It is a balanced look at a difficult issue.

      • Ew says:

        It seems very one-sided to a regular viewer like me. Wondering if this is your opinion or your boss’ opinion.

        • Terry Miller says:

          It is not the opinion of anyone in the newspaper. This was a news story based on the multiple calls we received from the organizers who wanted publicity. The author simply announced the event. We firmly stand by the fair and accurate reporting of the author. What appears one-sided, as you say,is the reaction. Once again appears to be politically motivated.

      • Stephen Miller says:

        The article gets basic facts wrong. You should look at the UC data website and then issue a correction.

        The article says states that have banned race-based admissions have seen “the share of under-represented minority students in public universities decrease” when in fact the share of black and Latino students at CA public universities had *increased* since Prop 209. In fact, Latino students are this year the largest ethnic group among admitted freshman at the UC for the first time, ad was widely reported.

  10. Jen Garcia says:

    The article is quite misleading.
    There are 2 types of Affirmative Action:
    1. color-neutral holistic Affirmative Action.
    2. Racial preference based Affirmative Action.
    Prop209 bans the 2nd one.
    After Prop. 209 was adopted in 1996, UC has been implementing color-neutral holistic admission policies. The number of degrees earned by Black UC students grew —
    1.79 times for Bachelors
    2.2 times for Masters
    2.02 times for Doctorates
    — from 1999 to 2018.

    California’s AMAZING PROGRESS (under Prop 209). Prop16 is promoting racism, not helping anyone, period.

  11. Sophie Harman says:

    Prop16 sets race preferential on some races by sacrificing others. Prop16 against the original spirit of affirmative action. Don’t let this article fool you.

    No on Prop16!

  12. John Chang says:

    The use of affirmative action involving race-based or sex-based preferences in California college admissions will make California college rating worse. Can college sports and musical use of affirmative action instead of abilities and talents? Can Olympic games, science competition use of affirmative action to decide the championship?

  13. Gerry says:

    Prop 16 would have some negative impact for the young generations, who believe that “you work hard, you will succeed in your beloved country”, regardless of colors or genders etc; education system is merit based in nature: the science & technology needed to explore the outer space, for example, needs more bright and hardworking Americans, regardless of their genders or colors; and if we do not put whole efforts to advance in the field, others will do it ahead of us. The education system is to enable those brightest minds to lead our country advancing in the fast possible pace: in the front of those challenges and opportunities, all of brightest minds are equal! If prop 16 would be passed, the system would work against our common goal, self-defeat the purpose of “equal rights for all to contribute to the country”. Additionally, some study about Prop 209 does actually prove its expected positive and encouraging results: https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/the-effects-of-proposition-209-on-california-higher-education-public-employment-and-contracting-2020-update

    • Terry Miller says:

      here’s a list of those who support Prop 16:
      Dianne Feinstein (D) – U.S. Senator [Source] Kamala D. Harris (D) – U.S. Senator [Source]
      Nanette Barragán (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Karen Bass (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Ami Bera (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Julia Brownley (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      TJ Cox (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Mark DeSaulnier (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Anna Eshoo (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Anna Eshoo (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Jimmy Gomez (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Jared Huffman (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Ro Khanna (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Barbara Lee (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Ted Lieu (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Alan Lowenthal (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Doris Matsui (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Jerry McNerney (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Grace Napolitano (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Katie Porter (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Lucille Roybal-Allard (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Raul Ruiz (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Brad Sherman (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Jackie Speier (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Eric Swalwell (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Linda Sánchez (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Mark Takano (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Juan Vargas (D) – U.S. Representative [Source]
      Maxine Waters (D) – U.S. Representative [Source] Gavin Newsom (D) – Governor [Source]
      Steven Bradford (D) – State Senator [Source] Richard Pan (D) – State Senator [Source]
      Scott Wiener (D) – State Senator [Source] Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D) – Assemblymember [Source]
      Miguel Santiago (D) – Assemblymember [Source] Shirley Weber (D) – Assemblymember [Source]
      Buffy Wicks (D) – Assemblymember [Source] London Breed (Nonpartisan) – San Francisco Mayor [Source]
      Eric Garcetti (D) – Los Angeles Mayor [Source] Libby Schaaf – Oakland Mayor [Source]
      Michael Tubbs (Nonpartisan) – Stockton Mayor [Source] Eleni Kounalakis (D) – Lieutenant Governor [Source]
      Alex Padilla (D) – Secretary of State [Source] Tony Thurmond (Nonpartisan) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction [Source]

      • Gerry says:

        It is about whether it is correct, rather than who are supporting it: it is kind of obvious that Prop 16 is “using another racism to replace the original racism”, which is inappropriate for our country; if this trend continues, next time would be that another race-dependent proposition comes on top of Prop 16… where this leads us to, when this will stop? CA, and the country, need go for the correction solution and fix the problem at the root: merit based, regardless of genders, colors etc., with which we leave a clean state behind us. Lists for pro and cons do not matter, the correctness matters, creating an encouraging society matters; the former changes, the latter stays regardless of when and who.

      • Jen Garcia says:

        Did you see the pattern of supporters? All Democratic Party. Apparently they are taking position with “the party line”. How sad and irresponsible.

      • Stephen V says:

        Notice your list is only of POLITICIANS, not the everyday common folk. Plus You forgot to include Evan Low, who voted to go against his own constituents and instigate Prop16 on them even though overwhelmingly the everyday CITIZENS in his district were 3,700 to 900 AGAINST Prop16.

        Btw, thank you for making a great list of politicians who showed their true colors of being anti-Asian, anti-hardwork, anti-merit. If Prop16 passes, a child who happens to be Hindu-American or Asian-American straight off the bat will have a much more difficult time getting to the UC school they deserve to get into. That’s straight out discriminating against them. They work hard their entire life only to have these politicians you listed put up road blocks for them.

  14. Sel says:

    It’s important to understand Prop 209 did not ban Affirmative Action, only race-based affirmative action. California has been implementing race-blind AA very successfully. (See race-blind AA explained here: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-case-for-race-blind-affirmative-action)
    Prop 209, adopted by voters in 1996, forbids racial discrimination (or preferential selection) by the state. As a result, race-based AA is not allowed.
    Prop 209 text: “Section 31. Article I. (a) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
    Prop 16 will remove the above text from California Constitution.
    Prop 16 will repeal Prop 209 to allow racial discrimination by the state.
    Prop 16 will permit race-based AA, plus much more. If you support Prop16, you are simply supporting racism.

  15. Stephen Miller says:

    The article is incorrect about facts. Enrollment of African Americans at the University of California has increased more than double since 1994, the year before UC stopped using race-based admissions. Enrollment of Latinos has more than quadrupled, and enrollment of Asian Americans has increased a little. In contrast, Asian Americans must score 140 points higher than white students to gain admission to top universities outside California that use race-based admissions according to a 2009 Princeton study.

    Your reporter would know true UC data if they bothered to look at the University of California website on admissions data.

  16. ric shar says:

    What Yes Prop16(Yes16) says vs What Lie Doctor (Fact)says

    Yes16: We fight for equal opportunity for POC, for all
    Fact: They demand equal OUTCOMES in the name of equal OPPORTUNITY. Under Prop209, everyone is treated equally regardless of age, gender, race, national origin. Why is this not equal opportunity?

    Yes16: Since Prop209 is passed in 1996, POC enrolled in UC declined by 12pct
    Fact: This is completely bogus claim. A simple click from UC official website shows Latino enrolled doubled while black enrolled remain same.

    Yes16: Women earn 80c for every 100c men earns. The gap for POC is even worse
    Fact: Prop16 supporters have never provided peer reviewed research data to prove their claim. I work for a company with 13k employees. Women earn 99c for every 100c men earn for same job.

    Yes16:Prop209 is racism. We need to correct the wrong
    Fact: Prop209 treats everyone same while Prop16 is nothing but race – race for UC, CSU, civil jobs, gov contracting. Which one is really racist?

    Yes16:Prop16 closes gap across races, gender
    Fact: Why is OK to legally discriminate against group A for the benefits of group B if Prop16 supporters hate “discrimination” against B so much?

    Yes16:We fight for equal opportunity for all
    Fact: They fight for socialism & Marxism by averaging all down

    Yes16:Prop16 helps POC
    Fact: Yes, Prop16 does help some POC by being picked as winner at the cost of others. However more kids will be produced to fill vacancies in underserved communities. The loop never ends without improving K12.

    Yes16:Prop16 will NOT cut Asians in UC drastically due to federal law which only allows race to be narrowly tailored.
    Fact: With prop16, UC is determined to increase shares for Black, Latino and others? Then who is to give? It takes forever for CA gov to build a new UC campus or extend existing ones physically even if they decide to do it.

    Yes16:41 other States in US do not have Prop209 clauses
    Fact: All fake claims by Prop16 supporters also exist in those 41 states in worse reality. CA is the most diversified state.

    Yes16:Prop16 reduces social disparity
    Fact: Many factors lead to social disparity which universally exist on planet. Per Prop16, Gov has more power to pick up winners by color but that will NOT reduce social disparity because more kids will be filled in. Forming gov-private alliance to improve K-12 is the root solution. Prop16 is a face-value, fake, wrong solution.

    Yes16:Prop209 bans Affirmative Action(AA) in CA
    Fact: Prop209 does not ban AA and AA is always there. Haven’t you heard SAT and GPA scores for UC are different across groups? UC proudly reports ever increasing enrollment from economically disadvantaged group. Prop209 allows AA to the point of not systemically discriminating a particular group.

    Yes16:Colleges and universities CANNOT and WILL NOT use racial quotas to fill their classes and achieve diversity
    Fact: True. Racial quota is unconstitutional. Does that imply UC can do anything below racial quota with Prop16? Eg: cutting Asians in UC Berkeley from 40pct to 15pct is illegal, what about to 20pct?

    Yes16:A few wealthy donor are trying to use race to divide us
    Fact: Public campaign finance data shows two big donors behind Prop16 – Wife of Netflix CEO donated 1m. A real estate tycoon in Oakland donated 1.5m. No million dollar donor is reported from No-on-Prop16 side yet. Who is really using race to divide us?

    Yes16:California is not taking part in a nationwide boom among women business owners.
    Fact: Amex reports shows during 2014-2019, woman-owned business increases 21pct nationwide while woman owned business in LA county increases by 22pct.

  17. Jason says:

    52% of Asians do not support racial preferences if you read the survey; 52% support “programs designed to increase the number of black and minority students on campus”. The existing socio-economic status affirmative action UC uses qualifies under that definition.

    No group of people (other than perhaps the Democrat Party) actually supports actual racial considerations in higher education or jobs. Only 39% of Black Democrats even support this (https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/white-democrats-are-wary-of-big-ideas-to-address-racial-inequality/).

    The only way this measure will win is because voters aren’t thinking about what it really entails.

  18. Grace Chin says:

    Real equilty here. Prop 209 allows affirmative action to social-economic disadvantaged persons in public universities, public employment, and public contracting. Each race has rich/poor people. It only bans preferential treatment based on race and gender. 44 % low-income students are admitted in UC this year. (Low Income students: Applicants reporting household income (weighted) at or below the 30th percentile $55,214 or less for 2019, and $58,004 for 2020.)

  19. Jonathan Lucas says:

    Dear the article author:

    Please read this NAS research paper first before u spread wrong info again. No#Prop16, no#Racism!

    https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/the-effects-of-proposition-209-on-california-higher-education-public-employment-and-contracting-2020-update

  20. Justina Woods says:

    Supporters of Prop 16 are Extremist Marxists and Special Interests
    The Opposition to Prop 16 is Made up of Nonpartisan Support and has Thousands of Grassroots Volunteers.

    The Preferential Treatment Proposition – Yes on 16, shows us again that it is not supported by the people of California but by extremists. Self-proclaimed Marxist, Patrisse Cullors, was a featured speaker at the Yes on 16 kick-off campaign rally. This speaker continues to demonstrate the true colors of the Yes on 16 campaign. Time and again, Prop. 16 proponents have been proven to be out of touch with the people of California. The NO on 16 team is nonpartisan, receiving endorsements from Democrats, independents, and Republicans. The No on 16 is more focused on what is right for California than partisanship.

    Patrisse Cullors is on record stating, “we actually do have an ideological frame…we are trained Marxists”. Cullors is a co-founder of the Black Lives Matters movement and is front and center on Yes on 16 flyers. To read the shocking interview of Cullors, the featured speaker for Prop. 16, please click here.

    Big money and entrenched partisan interests are behind Prop. 16. 1.5 Million dollars of their funds come from one single donor, Quinn Delaney, a prominent leftist multi-millionaire that runs a slush fund – a special interest.

    The opposition to Prop. 16 has thousands of donors and the vast majority of our supporters are ordinary, concerned citizens who give small contributions. NOT from special interests nor from extremists trying to change our Constitution, as in the case of the extremists and special interests behind Prop. 16.
    More than ever, we need you to sign up and support No on Proposition 16, to engage your family, relatives, friends, colleagues at work. We need your support, your offer to volunteer and, frankly, we need funds as soon as possible, because we will be outspent tremendously by the special interests on the other side.
    Please go to https://californiansforequalrights.org/ and click on DONATE!

    https://www.change.org/p/vote-no-on-proposition-16-aca-5/u/27461859?cs_tk=Asxz8lsAGtnzBDWQL18AAXicyyvNyQEABF8BvPUUQjF4dEJLaWO8XksZVx8%3D&utm_campaign=2f00616b702543db887801230f276c0f&utm_content=initial_v0_4_0&utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_update&utm_term=cs

  21. Sophia says:

    Hi Fabiola and Terry, Thank you for your coverage! For more information about the car rallies, please go to http://www.StopProp16.org. Hope to see you on Sat.

  22. Sophia says:

    Hi Fabiola and Terry, Thank you for your coverage! For more information, please log onto http://Www.noProp16.org and http://www.StopProp16.org.

  23. Robert c Harbicht says:

    Discriminating in favor of one race cannot be done without discriminating against another race! Racism is racism. Like Martin Luther King, I want people to be judged by the “Content of their character, not the color of their skin.” The people supporting Prop 16 are the racists.

  24. Stephen Licata says:

    A word of caution that retaining Proposition 209 or embracing Proposition 16 might somehow allow us to leave on “autopilot” the process of ensuring a merit-based diversity of perspectives in key decision-making institutions. Consider that the U.S. Supreme Court, from its inception in 1789 until the 1960s, consisted almost entirely of White male Protestants of Northern European background, who deliberated over arguments on every aspect of American political, social and economic life, as presented by attorneys who also likely came from a similar background. The consequences of those decisions, enlightened or not, remain with us even today.

    The considerably more diverse Court of the past 50 years features more expansive and interesting interplay between justices and attorneys and subsequent deliberations (behind closed doors); yet, the justices generally seem to get along in their private lives. One scholarly article [see Wikipedia: Demographics of the Supreme Court] confirms that the justices vote their conscious filtered through life experience: there is no “female block” or “Catholic block”. Yet, the Court lacks diversity in one key area: they all graduated from the same few Ivy League law schools (Harvard or Yale, with Ginsberg being from Columbia).

    These “gatekeeper to power” schools aggressively and proactively seek out qualified and diverse applicants because they understand the pitfalls of a nominal color-blind approach. Rather than turning to government incentives or personal “gut feelings”, each of us – whether employer, educator, co-worker, community volunteer, even the art director of a TV ad – should ask ourselves as we still down at the decision-making table, ”Thank you all for coming, but, most importantly, whom (or which perspective) is missing from our discussion?”

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