California has had a ban on considering race and gender for admission to public colleges and universities for over a decade, thanks to Proposition 209 approved by voters in 1996 (this proposition also bans affirmative action policies in employment and contracting). Since then, the enrollment of students of color at the state’s schools has plummeted, and opponents of the ban are challenging the ban this week in court.

Although Prop 209 has faced numerous challenges that have all failed, its opponents now have the support of recent court decisions  as well as that of Governor Jerry Brown, and are optimistic about bringing race and gender considerations back to the admissions process.

The attorneys for the plaintiff argued that the current system violates minority students’ civil rights and “is a new form of separate and unequal going on right before our eyes.” Those in favor of upholding the ban say it “guarantees everyone’s right to be treated fairly and not be discriminated against based on skin color or gender.” Each argument sounds like a different way of saying the same thing, but a look at the discrepancy between California’s population demographics and that of the state’s more elite schools does show that black and brown people are considerably underrepresented; while half of the state’s population is black, Latino, or Native American, UC Berkley is 48% Asian, 3.5% black, and 15% Latino.

It’s clear that historically oppressed groups won’t be represented in higher education without some form of intervention, but is affirmative action the answer?

Read more at The Huffington Post.

 

 

  • pink

    We definitely STILL need affirmative action on all fronts. Back in the 70s and 80s the only reason a lot of companies/corporations hired blacks was because of affirmative action. And once they started hiring black folks they found out that black people can do just as good a job (if not better) as everyone else.

  • edub

    If you are not competitive, you do. I applied for my PhD as a blinded candidate. Harvard did not know I was black until I showed up for student orientation. I got in on my merits. The thing is, I can feel that most people think that I got in because of affirmative action and I view that as a slap in the face.

    AA benefits and then it takes. It’s hard to shake the label even if it does not apply to you.

  • edub

    If you are not competitive, you do. I applied for my PhD as a blinded candidate. Harvard did not know I was black until I showed up for student orientation. I got in on my merits. The thing is, I can feel that most people think that I got in because of affirmative action and I view that as a slap in the face.

    AA has its benefits but it also has serious limitations. It produces a cloak that many able bodied African Americans have to shake.

  • Jonston

    You don’t get it edub if you really believe they think you’re less than because of affrimative action (AA). So things must have been great prior to the Nixon era, right? Of course not. They think you’re less than becuase they *want* to think that. AA doesn’t force that conclusion it just provides a convienient excuse. You can see this when every critique of AA becomes about AA for Blacks. Rarely is the criticism about AA for women because those women are mostly white and hence white families benefit. That’s the truth about AA: white people don’t mind it as long as white are the beneficiaries as they were in this country for the whole time prior to Nixon’s implementation of the practice.

  • http://clutch mikki

    Until we realize that race is about creating equality in structures blacks will never get an opportunity. As long as blacks live in working class and low income neighborhoods with substandard schools we will never get into competitive colleges and the cycle will continue. I think the issue is that affirmative action is needed by quite frankly it cannot be the only approach.

  • Greg

    All women should be kicked out of Affirmative actions programs. The men are the ones who aren’t doing so well in comparison and it has been that way for about the last 3 decades or so. As far as I’m concerned, once an oppressed group gets to the point where they are bragging about their accomplishments and putting down the other group who doesn’t have the same level of government or state funding/scholarships ava. to it (yet their paying for womans resources via their taxes-sexism) then your pretty much done with preferential treatment.

    They’ve been talking about black boys being at the bottom for 2-3 decades now in school and the workforce. Yet they’ve done absolutely nothing to address the problem. They even have an Office for Women and Girls founded by the White House. Talk about not recognizing privilege. It’s time that minority males and males in general were slotted above women in general.

    This is blatant sexism on the part of women and the government.

  • real

    Judged by the content of their character………

  • Stop That!

    Harvard? Really? “Blinded?” Then I guess you were admitted on a disability.

  • edub

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