Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sonoran News: Jen Gratz on affirmative action and Prop. 107

Yes on 107: Ending “Affirmative Action” guarantees fair treatment for all

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Over ten years ago I filed a lawsuit against the University of Michigan for racial discrimination because their admissions policy gave an unfair twenty percent boost to black and Hispanic applicants. I know firsthand how horrible it is to be discriminated against when “affirmative action” and “diversity quota” policies employ different admissions standards based on race. Although I personally won my lawsuit after it was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, many universities and government agencies all over the country - including in Arizona – continue their policies that grant preferential treatment based on race to some, while discriminating against others.

Affirmative action job quotas, “minority” contract set-asides and extra points in college admissions are wrong and it’s time to get rid of them. Achieving “diversity goals”, however well-intentioned, often amounts to the functional equivalent of a quota. Achieving “diversity” should never be an excuse to discriminate against anyone.

Voters should vote Yes on Prop 107 to tell the government to stop picking winners and losers based on race or sex. Prop 107 is simple – it will ban “affirmative action” programs that give preference based on race or sex in three specific areas:  public contracting, public employment, and public education. After all, it is everyone’s, and unlike Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, I really mean everyone’s right, to be treated equally by their government without regard to race or sex.

Radical opponents of Prop 107 like ACORN and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) falsely claim that health programs, domestic violence shelters, and social support programs that assist women would be banned if Prop 107 passes. But Prop 107 only affects public hiring, contracting and public education - not health programs or domestic violence shelters. Opponents know these facts, but try to deceive the public because they have a lot to lose given the massive industry set up to maintain and advance preferential treatment for the few rather than equal rights for all.

The operative language of Prop 107, which has already passed in four other states and has been in place for as many as 14 years, is simple and clear: “The state shall not grant preferential treatment to or discriminate against 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.”

The language of Prop 107 mirrors the language of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act and advances civil rights by prohibiting discrimination and preferential treatment based on race, sex, and skin color. Prop 107 reinforces the fact that everyone is entitled to civil rights and should have an equal chance to compete for good paying jobs, government contracts, and college admissions – based on individual merit, not skin color or sex.

Vote YES on Prop 107!
Jennifer Gratz was the victorious plaintiff if the 2003 US Supreme Court case Gratz v. Bollinger (University of Michigan) and is Director of State and Local Initiatives with the American Civil Rights Coalition.

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