Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action in College Admissions Will Be on California's Ballot in November

A November ballot initiative would pit minority communities against each other.

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California voters will be asked in November whether they want to end a ban on affirmative action in college admissions, even though the state college system's own demographic data shows increasingly diverse campuses absent preferential treatment.

Proposition 209, passed in 1996, added to the state's constitution a ban on racial or sex preferences in education and hiring decisions in government institutions. This meant that on top of forbidding discrimination against somebody on the basis of sex, race, or ethnicity, the state couldn't give somebody an advantage in public college admissions or government jobs on the basis of these factors.

In June, Democratic lawmakers voted to put on the November ballot a measure that would strike down Proposition 209. It's on the ballot as Proposition 16, and the new proposition would simply strike out the text added to the state's constitution by Proposition 209.

The proposition is supported by the regents of the University of California, which is notable because former leaders of the college system led the campaign for Proposition 209 in the first place. Former regent Ward Connerly, a Republican, said at the time that affirmative action was intended to be a temporary measure to recover from decades of racist practices, but that "[t]hree decades later, affirmative action is permanent and firmly entrenched as a matter of public policy. … not because of any moral imperative but because it has become the battleground for a political and economic war that has racial self-interest as its centerpiece."

The arguments for eliminating Proposition 209 are odd and not terribly compelling (which would explain why Prop. 16 is currently doing poorly in polls). Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D–San Diego) authored the bill that would become Prop. 16 and explained in June that "The ongoing pandemic, as well as recent tragedies of police violence, is forcing Californians to acknowledge the deep-seated inequality and far-reaching institutional failures that show that your race and gender still matter." Affirmative action, notably, does nothing to solve either COVID-19 or police violence.

Coverage in The Los Angeles Times is giving a lot of attention to a study from U.C. Berkeley released in August claiming that in the immediate wake of Prop. 209, there was a drop in enrollment by black and Latino students in the University of California system, which drove down their future wages.

The study further argues that prior to Prop. 209, when affirmative action was permitted in California, white and Asian American students were not harmed because they just went to other high-quality schools and ended up with similar earnings.

Affirmative action proponents could argue that the market provided for those students who were negatively affected by affirmative action, which would appear to echo the libertarian argument that gay couples have access to a market for wedding cakes and thus Christian bakers should not be forced to act against their own beliefs under threat of government penalty.

But there is a significant difference here, and it is that gay couples can't be forced to pay a bakery if it won't make a cake for them. The same is not true for California's state-run college system and applicants who would be accepted on the merits but rejected under affirmative action. Because about 12 percent of the University of California's budget comes from state funding—a total of $3.69 billion for the 2018-2019 school year—and about 12 percent of California's general fund goes to higher education across the state, bringing back affirmative action would require some Californians to pay into an education system that would likely discriminate against them and their children on the basis of their race if they are white or Asian. As one might imagine, this does not play well with leaders of some Asian organizations in California who are tired of being pitted against other minorities.

"This is a troubling trend where our public university in the state is taking backwards steps in history to allow racial favoritism in college admissions," said Crystal Lu, president of the Silicon Valley Chinese Assn. Foundation, in June.

On Thursday, UC's board of regents banned the use of race quotas in admissions, hiring, and contracting, but race and gender would be used as a factor in admissions (along with more typical considerations like grades, talents, and coursework). Even without the quotas, though, it's part of the college system's stated goal to more closely match the demographics of California's school age population.

What's a bit strange about this effort is that the data showing drops in minority attendance at the University of California is from 20 years ago. The U.C. system responded to the drop after Prop. 209's passage by finding effective ways to increase minority representation at their colleges that don't depend on racial favoritism.

Here's what the Los Angeles Times noted in June at the same time as the U.C. regents were calling for repealing Prop. 209:

UC campuses increased outreach to underserved communities. UCLA, for instance, works with 20 Los Angeles Unified high schools and several Black churches in the Inland Empire to scout promising students and keep them on track. The strategy, spearheaded by Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, UCLA vice provost of enrollment management, has helped the campus increase the proportion of resident Black students admitted as freshmen from 3.7% in 2012 to 6.3% in 2019.

The measures have produced some progress. The share of admission offers to California freshmen who are Black increased from 4.3% in fall 2010 to 4.7% in 2019, while the Latino share grew from 22.9% to 34.3% during the same period. Asian Americans also increased from 33.9% to 35.72% while whites declined from 32.4% to 21.9%.

The share of students admitted to California colleges who are black is just one percentage point less than the estimated 5.8 percent of the state that is black, and the share of students admitted who are Latino is just five percentage points below the estimated 39 percent of the state that is Latino.

Most importantly, even without affirmative action, white college admissions are dropping as a percentage of the total enrolled population right now! The most recent data about college admissions in California actually shows that affirmative action is not needed to create a college campus that better reflects the state's population.

The one big outlier in these stats is the percentage of the freshman that identifies as Asian, which is more than twice the 14 percent of the California population that is Asian. That would explain why Asian community leaders are so angry: The people trying to sell Californians on bringing back affirmative action want voters to think it's those privileged white folks who are hogging all the seats in the lecture hall. But white enrollment is actually declining, which means returning affirmative action to California colleges will ultimately pit minority groups against each other.

NEXT: Trump Wants More Stimulus Spending. Biden Wants a National Mask Mandate. Both Are Wrong.

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  1. Racism is so hot right now.

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    2. All the cool kids are doing it. The President of Princeton and that horsefaced Madonna impersonator just gushed to the press about how racist they were.

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  2. Time is NOW for preferential treatment of Asians and Whites, because the others have put them at a racially-biased disadvantage for SOOOO long!

    1. So color blind admissions give preferential treatment to Asians and Whites? I don’t think so. But I am not a racist piece of shit who thinks Hispanics and Blacks are inferior and forever in need of help from the benevolent white man like you are.

      1. “So color blind admissions…” How prevalent ARE “color blind admissions” really? The voters have approved of this, but college bureaucrats and democrats have thwarted and defeated what the voters have SUPPOSEDLY implemented!

        https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2020/05/25/another-scheme-to-justify-racial-preferences/

        From there, import below…

        As I noted in, “A Duplicitous Attempt to Rescue Affirmative Action,” what the Democrats hoped to accomplish “would actually prohibit no known affirmative action policy anywhere at any time since there are and have been no such policies that rely ‘solely’ on race” to select a less qualified over a more qualified candidate. Even preferentially admitted college applicants, for example, generally must be high school graduates and literate.

        The Democrats’ duplicity, by the way, did not stop with the defeat of their ballot measure. Ignoring that vote, the legislature passed, and the governor signed a bill creating an office to monitor and correct “underrepresentation” that had been included in the defeated ballot measure.

    2. Nah. Asians and whites can read above a fifth-grade level.

  3. Prop 16 to repeal prop 209 says absolutely nothing about affirmative action. Literally all it does is make state racisl discrimination legal because it is repealing civil rights law.

    1. I’m not even sure it does that, since the SCOTUS actually found race-based admissions unconstitutional, but allowed race to be considered as “one factor among many.”

      I’m far from sure that one state saying “no – it’s okay for us to use race as an exclusive factor” is going to fly.

    2. “Proposition 209, passed in 1996, added to the state’s constitution a ban on racial or sex preferences in education”

      Apparently the UC campuses’ outreach to minorities reported this June, wasn’t outlawed by Prop 209, but looks just like a racial preference in education. Scott also points out their “goal” to match racial demographics, which is a racial preference they refused to let go.

      I ascribe to MKL’s desire to not judge people by the color of their skin, and will hold government hiring and preferences to that standard. It’s very libertarian, and anti-racist. The worst racism, is government enshrined racism.

      1. In 1996 the UC administration openly said they were going to ignore Prop 209 and continue affirmative action anyway.

  4. Striking down a ban on affirmative action? That’s a funny way of saying legalizing discrimination in a way that’s antithetical to the American values of equal treatment under the law.

  5. Every scientific study has shown that a CRITICAL MASS of Black and Brown students is absolutely essential for a healthy learning environment. So even if they think they’re acting in their own self-interest, white and Asian American opponents of affirmative action are in fact only hurting themselves.

    #LibertariansForRacialPreferences
    #DiversityAboveAll

    1. a CRITICAL MASS of Black and Brown students is absolutely essential

      #NoMoreHiroshimas

      1. a CRITICAL MASS

        Do they still publish the Catholic Review?

      2. So, a few dozen really obese blacks and Hispanics will do the trick. Not hard to find.

        1. Yeah, but they read at a fifth-grade level. Good luck in college!

    2. “Every scientific study has shown that a CRITICAL MASS of Black and Brown students is absolutely essential for a healthy learning environment.”

      Liar.

  6. My granddaughter is white-Chinese. Doubly bad for her.

    1. Well, most students are female, so she has that going for her, because muh sexism.

  7. But see this time it’s for the right reasons, not like the racists against this in 60’s.

    1. Yeah – this seems so incredibly short-sighted. Supporters seem to be invoking the notion that some forms of racism are good, because intentions, and this will only legalize those forms of racism, not the icky kind.

  8. Former regent Ward Connerly, a Republican, said at the time that affirmative action was intended to be a temporary measure to recover from decades of racist practices

    Connerly also (correctly) pointed out that affirmative action admissions to CA’s more competitive state schools correlated with a higher minority dropout rate.

    1. And saying “there was a drop in enrollment by black and Latino students in the University of California system” after Prop 209 ignores that there was a drop in applications from black and Latino students (especially black students) after Prop 209.

      1. Right. Because you need to be able to read and write and do math to be able to apply. Blacks in California have the highest high school drop out rate, even higher than Hispanics. Only 20% of blacks meet math standards, and only 33% of blacks meet English standards in California. Not exactly ready for college, are they? Meanwhile, Asians are killing it. Has everything to do with culture and having two parents in the home.

  9. Let us put it more succinctly. California Democrats want the State to be able to discriminate on the basis of race. They do not believe in equal protection under law. This is because they think the discrimination they want to implement is good, 8nlike the discriminationofrhe past. It is an entirely hubristic argument to “Trust us, because we are righteous”.

    1. This is because they think the discrimination they want to implement is good
      I am sure the Democrats that pushed discrimination in the past also thought it was good.

      1. Jim Crow becomes Jamaal Ki’rouw!

  10. I always wonder how California is going to get itself out of its situation. The Republican Party was inept and thought their “Old White People” shtick would keep them in office forever. Nope. The party will come back to California if it changes. But I’m not seeing it change.

    Now I think the Democrats are going to face the same thing. Just as the Republicans ignored the Hispanic demographic, the Democrats are ignoring the “Asian” democraphic. I but that in quotes because it covers a lot, from Indians and Pakastanis and Japanese and Koreans and Chinese and Vietnamese and everyone in between. What they have in common is a work and family ethic that is at odds with progressive principles. And they are frequently seen as White allies in an era when White is the enemy. If that’s sounds like racist phrasing, it’s because the Woke Culture is inherently racist. And the Democrats are pandering to them.

    But “Asians” is a significant voting bloc in California. That may distress the alt-right racetard, but it also goes against Democrats playbook which has decided to side with the radical Woke and SJW elements that can only see the world in terms of monochromatic absolutes.

    If the Republicans haven’t permanently damaged their brand with Trump, I can see the state party start to pick up a significant portion of Asian vote once the old geezers in the party start kicking off.

    1. Trump is getting more support from blacks and Hispanics than any Republican President since Eisenhower. So, it is hard to see how he permanently damaged the Republican brand, unless you think bringing Hispanics and blacks into the party damages the brand. Sorry you find that prospect so undesirable.

      1. He permanently damaged it by tossing out any notion of ideology or conservatism, and made the party solely one of personality. What happens when that personality is gone? Or do you think he will live forever? Maybe that’s why all you guys are talking about a third term.

        1. W gave up on small government.

          How is this Really any different?

          1. People hate Trump more. I think that’s pretty much it.

            The Republicans were also trying harder to pretend to be principled conservatives during the Obama administration. So maybe being in or out of power is really the bigger factor.

            It will be interesting to see what happens after Trump. Can we just skip the next 4 years? It’s going to be very annoying whoever wins.

    2. But “Asians” is a significant voting bloc in California.
      Isn’t it racist to assume everyone in a group votes the same way?

      1. No, but on a specific proposal, whose whole point is to set up a racial spoils system, it is not unreasonable to expect each demographic group to vote its self interest.

      2. I’m not assuming that. I’m saying there is a voting bloc there. Every voting bloc is comprised of individuals, but as a group it does exist. And this Democrat sponsored initiative is going to explicitly set that demographic against other demographics.

        The racism is the Democrat Party assuming everyone of color is going to permanently vote for them.

        1. Race war! Charlie Manson is dancing in hell.

      3. Isn’t it racist to assume everyone in a group votes the same way?

        Yes, but this is where the wokesters have something of a point, even if they themselves don’t fully get it, viz, once you’ve designated a group of people as a group and have decided that “They” are a problem, that has a way of creating cohesion in that group in unity against you.

    3. Let’s see…you go after the “alt right” for being “racist” and then get all ageist. What was that you were saying about “monocromatic absolutes,” ageist?

  11. “The people trying to sell Californians on bringing back affirmative action want voters to think it’s those privileged white folks who are hogging all the seats in the lecture hall. But white enrollment is actually declining, which means returning affirmative action to California colleges will ultimately pit minority groups against each other.”

    Yeah, if whites were the only people getting screwed it wouldn’t be a problem.

    1. This is why whites have to feel guilty and Asiana have to adhere to intersectionality. If they do not, and each demographic group votes its self interest, these race based policies have no chance of passing.

  12. Fine the niggers can stay
    (and the mexicans?
    Yes the mexicans too… But not the irish

    1. >>But not the irish

      Dime cuando cuando cuando?

    2. Greatest movie about racism ever.

      1. we’ve got to do something to help keep our phoney-baloney jobs!

        1. Harrumph, harrumph, harrumph!

          1. Now do the French Mistake!

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      2. Yup, and it’s “cancelled.”

  13. The important thing is we’re focusing on the content of an applicant’s character, which, as critical race theory tells us, is largely informed by the color of their skin.

    1. Unless they’re Indian. Then they count as Asians. Even if their skin tone doesn’t match.

      1. In all fairness, people from India are annoying as fuck.

        1. Oh, so you’ve heard of kshama sawant?

          Nails on a chalkboard.

  14. Racist Democrats propose racist public policy. In the name of fighting racism. Okay. It’s just another day ending in “y” for them.

  15. Asians are over represented by 100% and blacks are underrepresented by 20%.

    Asians have more educational opportunities than Blacks outside the state system.

    If so, That seems like a regressive policy.

    1. Most blacks can’t read, write, or do math at grade level because of the culture’s lack of emphasis on schooling and the lack of two parents in the household. “Asian” culture emphasizes education, hard work, and has a higher percentage of families with both parents. Of course they are “over represented.”

  16. OT, but it seems some details about the EO banning tikok have emerged: https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2020/09/commerce-department-prohibits-wechat-and-tiktok-transactions-protect

    No matter what you think about China and TikTok, I think this sets a really disturbing precedent. Among the prohibited transactions:

    Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S.

    Does anyone really think this will be restricted to Chinese apps?

    1. “Does anyone really think this will be restricted to Chinese apps?”

      Sure. Just like gun-control laws are only directed at those folks who misuse firearms.

    2. I’ve been ensured that if you like your American app, you can keep your American app.

    3. Goodbye dim sum.

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  18. This meant that on top of forbidding discrimination against somebody on the basis of sex, race, or ethnicity, the state couldn’t give somebody an advantage in public college admissions or government jobs on the basis of these factors.
    six in one, half dozen in the other

  19. This is obviously one of those propositions that was put on there by a small, vocal group who mistakenly think that the silent majority supports them.

    1. I believe it was only 90 people – 60 in the Assembly, 30 in the Senate.

    2. Yeah – from the debates I’m seeing in my NextDoor feed, the older Boomer race-crusaders haven’t gotten the memo on the new definitions of “racism” and “white supremacy” and they and the woke Millenials are getting into some pretty ugly rows.

      1. Good old tribalism and generational politics.

        Reminds me of that Bloom County strip where they were talking about protests in the 60s and how they changed on campus in the 80s – the kids were carrying signs like “Nukes? SURE!”

  20. No state government agency or state funded educational system should even be allowed to ask an applicant what their race is on the application form. Anyone doing so should be brought up on federal civil rights charges, for attempting to discriminate.

    1. Unfortunately, SCOTUS in Bakke decided otherwise.

  21. Discrimination on the basis of BOTH race and sex against white males is on the ballot.

    What shithole nation is this?

  22. Universities teaching to dummies become universities of dummies.

  23. “has helped the campus increase the proportion of resident Black students admitted as freshmen from 3.7% in 2012 to 6.3% in 2019.

    The measures have produced some progress. The share of admission offers to California freshmen who are Black increased from 4.3% in fall 2010 to 4.7% in 2019, while the Latino share grew from 22.9% to 34.3% during the same period. Asian Americans also increased from 33.9% to 35.72% while whites declined from 32.4% to 21.9%.”

    Like so.

    Graduation is what matters. You could let in more people with IQs under 60 or more people in Junior High School into college and your acceptance numbers increase but that is meaningless.

    Certain groups, due to K-12 education being terrible on average in government schools, do much worse than other groups. Cultural reasons cause some groups to focus on education and others not. Lowering standards only increased the number of students getting easier to get but useless degrees which saddles them with debt and also increases drop out rates from cultures that don’t emphasize education and discipline as important.

    Letting more people in by changing standards simple makes that one number look good.

    How about we talk about the percentage of those that graduate college based on those that entered college over the years as standards have reduced.

    K-12 failures – um….most colleges and universities have quite a number of 0 credit hour classes in maths, english, and even some sciences (or they give you bone head science classes for “liberal arts” type fields) just so you can get up to speed in order to take college level courses….at the 100 level (freshman).

    Everyone give government a standing golf clap!

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  25. Govt can discriminate or pass laws forcing people to discriminate..what done’ these marxists understand? You don’t like social outcomes? Then do something about it…study harder…

    Equal outcomes is not freedom..

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  29. “even though the state college system’s own demographic data shows increasingly diverse campuses absent preferential treatment.”

    Increasingly diverse methods of hiding preferential treatment, you mean?

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