California Dems slate voter referendum on repeal of prop 209 ban on official racial discrimination

Capitalizing on the moral panic over “systemic racism,” the California State Senate yesterday surpassed the 2/3 majority required to submit a constitutional amendment to voters in November repealing the state’s landmark Proposition 209, which banned racial preferences by the state. It reads:

“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.”

That is no longer woke enough for the party that completely controls the state government. They WANT the ability to discriminate on the basis of race.

The AP reports:

California voters will decide in November whether governments and public colleges and universities can consider race in their hiring, contracting and admissions decisions. (snip)

The state Senate voted 30-10 on Wednesday to repeal that amendment, which still requires the approval of voters in November. Sen. Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita was the only Republican to vote for the repeal. (snip)

The vote comes one day before the deadline to put Constitutional amendments on the ballot for November. The repeal will face strong, organized opposition from some in the state’s Asian community, who have said they fear it will be used against them at some of the state’s elite public universities where Asian Americans make up a higher percentage of the enrollment than they do of the state as a whole.

The Regents of the University of California have voted support for the return of racial discrimination:

“It makes little sense to exclude any consideration of race in admissions when the aim of the university’s holistic process is to fully understand and evaluate each applicant through multiple dimensions,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement released by the university.

“Proposition 209 has forced California public institutions to try to address racial inequality without factoring in race, even where allowed by federal law. The diversity of our university and higher education institutions across California, should — and must — represent the rich diversity of our state.”

Statistically, that “rich diversity” shows”:

No race or ethnic group constitutes a majority of California’s population: 39% of state residents are Latino, 37% are white, 15% are Asian American, 6% are African American, 3% are multiracial, and fewer than 1% are American Indian or Pacific Islander, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. Latinos surpassed whites as the state’s single largest ethnic group in 2014.

Student enrollment at the flagship, highly selective Berkeley campus by race is:

The enrolled student population at University of California-Berkeley is 29% Asian, 28.6% White, 13.5% Hispanic or Latino, 5.33% Two or More Races, 1.98% Black or African American, 0.153% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.0931% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders.

Obviously, if student enrollment is going to reflect population share, half of the Asian students are going to have to sacrifice their prized slots (that help determine life outcomes) because they are the wrong race. Never mind that in California, Asians have been severely officially discriminated against, historically, while blacks have not.

Stand by to be discriminated aganst

UC Berkeley students at an Asian American Students Associaion gathering (YouTube screen grab)

Asian American groups are expected to lead the opposition. The SF Chronicle reports:

Opposition to ACA5 has been led by several primarily Chinese American groups, which worry it would lead to quotas on Asian American students at elite UC campuses. Similar pushback by Asian American groups ultimately persuaded lawmakers to kill a 2014 effort to repeal the affirmative action ban in university admissions.

Sen. Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar (Los Angeles County), echoed those sentiments Wednesday, arguing the bill could legalize race-based quotas. She urged legislators to look for other ways to increase university admissions and contracting for people of color.

But there are some Asian American groups that put intersectional solidarity above the interest of their constituents in being treated “on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin”:

The Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus endorsed ACA5 on Monday, after initially not taking a position.

If cast experience is any guide, Asian American voters will be energized to turn out and vte against the measure, while the racial groups presumptively benefitted by discrimination in the favor (putting aside the severe problem of “mismatch” that admits students to campuses too competitive for their level of skills) may not be as highly motivated. Education is a very high priority among most Asians, while the appeal of formal schooling traditionally is less among groups that (not coincidentally) are “underrepresented”).

 But that probably doesn’t matter because ballots are distributed to every voter by mail and ballot harvesting is legal in California, meaning that the election can be stolen.

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