NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 21, 1996

Critics of affirmative action programs in California have succeeded in gaining enough signatures to have a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot this fall.

Entitled The California Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), it provides that 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." It would not prohibit the state's use of nondiscriminatory affirmative action programs -- such as those used in job recruitment and training that are open to all.

Advocates of the measure contend that:

  • For more than two decades, large majorities have consistently opposed affirmative action and preferential treatment which -- by giving special advantages to some -- disadvantage others.
  • Most racial preferences have been installed by courts or executive action.
  • Whatever sense affirmative action may have made 20 or 30 years ago, it makes less sense now as California becomes even more racially and ethnically diverse.

Surveys show that two-thirds of Californians favor CCRI, with only a slight difference between men and women. Forty percent to 50 percent of blacks and Latinos also back the measure.

Source: Terry Eastland (Forbes Media Critic), "End Affirmative Action -- Starting in California," USA Today, March 21, 1996.


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