What’s up with affirmative action in a liberal state like California? With nearly two-thirds of California voters saying they backed the Black Lives Matter movement after a summer of protests over racial justice and George Floyd’s murder, Proposition 16, which would have stricken the state’s constitutional ban on affirmative action, lost by a hefty 12 percentage points on November 3rd. Nearly 65 percent of voters, however, backed Joe Biden.
This is the second time in 25 years that Californians decisively rejected affirmative action. Proposition 16 would have repealed Proposition 209, which banned so-called “preferential treatment” in public education, employment, and contracting due to race, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.
That framing is, of course, a big part of the problem. Baked into our system is the preferential treatment for whites, a reality that is excruciatingly well documented and persistent, that affirmative action is designed to address. That ballot initiative passed in 1996 with 54.5 percent of the vote. Last week’s decision to maintain the status quo was approved with 56.2 percent of the vote. California remains one of only nine states that don’t allow race or gender to play a role in hiring, awarding contracts, or accepting students into its higher education system.
Proponents for the reinstatement of affirmative action included everyone from Governor Gavin Newsom to unions, university leaders, sports teams, and the conservative California Chamber of Commerce.Read Debby’s Full Article at Nonprofit Quarterly