UPI, September 11, 2006
Lansing, Mich. — A U.S. appeals court declined Monday to remove an anti-affirmative action initiative from the ballot in Michigan.
A pro-affirmative action group, By Any Means Necessary, argued that supporters of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative used illegal means to get it on the ballot, including collecting invalid signatures, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“It’s time to let the voters decide,” said Jennifer Gratz, campaign director for the initiative. “I hope the opposition will now focus on the issue . . . and stop the scare tactics.”
The appeals court denied an injunction that would have removed the initiative from the ballot, finding that the anti-initiative forces have little chance of succeeding in their lawsuit.
The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, now Proposal 2, will appear on this November’s ballot. If passed, Proposal 2 would amend the Michigan Constitution to prohibit state and local government discrimination and preferential treatment in the areas of public employment, contracting and education to any individual or group based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.
Our current system gives preferential treatment based on race. If any preference is to be given, it should be based on something more sensible, such as socioeconomic status, which would not neglect the thousands of non-black and non-Hispanic students who grew up with various disadvantages.
For example, under our current system of granting college admissions due to racial preferences, the grandchildren of Jesse Jackson are given preference over the poor non-black/non-Hispanic child whose father was killed fighting in Iraq. Similarly, the black/Hispanic student at an elite private high school is given preference over the non-black/non-Hispanic student from public high schools.
Opponents of Proposal 2 claim race is only one of many factors taken into account when students apply to colleges. However, if two students have nearly identical credentials but are of different races, then race becomes the determining factor in admission. A comprehensive admissions policy that includes race as one of many factors is discriminatory in nature.
Opponents of Proposal 2 erroneously claim that if it is passed, scientific research into gender-specific diseases may be affected, domestic violence shelters may be eliminated, and breast cancer screening centers may be eradicated. The truth is Proposal 2 affects only public employment, public education and public contracting. Breast cancer screening and domestic violence shelters still exist in California, where a similar ballot measure was adopted.
Contrary to what opponents of Proposal 2 claim, it would not prohibit females and minorities from taking math and science classes, nor will it deny any civil rights to minorities.
If Proposal 2 is passed, it would not turn back the clock on Title IX or any other federal statue. Sadly, many Proposal 2 opponents have also resorted to ad hominem character attacks in addition to their litany of unsubstantiated claims.
Voting yes on Proposal 2 this fall will advance our society by making it one in which merit and achievement, not the color of a person’s skin, are the ultimate indicators of success. By voting yes on Proposal 2, we can end the bizarre, racist and antiquated practice of treating people differently because of the color of their skin.