Will California Repeal Equal Protection?

It’s happening on the left coast, where weird things happen with sufficient frequency to suggest that it’s not worthy of being taken seriously, but it reflects a shift in perspective that could soon come to a state near you. Proposition 16 will be on the ballot in California.

“yes” vote supports this constitutional amendment to repeal Proposition 209 (1996), which stated that the government and public institutions cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.

Amending the state Constitution isn’t unusual in California, since legal stability is for squares. The point of Prop 16 is to repeal Prop 209, which prohibits discrimination.

Proposition 209 stated that discrimination and preferential treatment were prohibited in public employment, public education, and public contracting on account of a person’s or group’s race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.

In a calmer time, being against discrimination was fundamental liberal tenet. The California Supreme Court held that this prohibited making “distinctions in treatment; show partiality (in favor of) or prejudice (against)” people on the basis of the specified criteria such as race. But these aren’t calm times,

While it was once considered the height of liberalism to eradicate discrimination, the tides have shifted back toward institutionalizing discrimination, just in the opposite direction. Where once racial discrimination was wrong because it favored white people and harmed black people, the concept of racial discrimination has been redefined, as have so many other basic concepts, to limit it to discrimination against the powerless and oppressed. After all, the powerless and oppressed are incapable of discrimination under this redefinition, no matter how overt.

What California seeks to do is make discrimination great again, only this time in favor of black and brown people and against white people. They went from ending discrimination against black people to equality, and now want to go from equality to discrimination in favor of black people. Their argument is that only racists like the KKK would oppose changing their Constitution to favor discrimination.

Scarcely more than a week from Election Day, the champions of California’s Proposition 16—a ballot initiative that would repeal the ban on racial preferences in the state constitution—are desperate to push the measure over the top. So they are falling back on a scare tactic: accusations of white supremacy.

One recent ad urging a vote for Prop. 16 says the Yes on 16 campaign is supported by leaders like Sen. Kamala Harris. By contrast, it says, the measure is “opposed by those who have always opposed equality.” In case you miss the point, the ad features men carrying tiki torches at the infamous white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

The setup is one of fringes, akin to the Kendi argument that anyone who isn’t in favor of discrimination in favor of black people is a racist. And no doubt that racists will oppose Prop 16, but then, so too will anyone who believes in equality. So many like to style themselves as being against racism, but they’re not. One cannot believe that racial discrimination is wrong while simultaneously believing that it’s right as long as you’re okay with the people enjoying the benefit of discrimination. The argument is the same, with only the color of skin changed.

But what about the new definition, the distinction between the powerful and powerless? Putting aside the stereotypes that race tells all, that all white people are oppressors and all black people oppressed, Prop 16 neither draws this distinction nor could it. This constitutional shift would serve just as well to exclude black people from opportunity as white. That’s how racism works, no matter how large the bowl of critical race theory word salad.

And contrary to the gross exaggeration that’s become pervasive across the nation to suggest that black people are being murdered in the streets by cops by the thousands and routinely denied educational and employment opportunity, equal opportunity works.

Prop. 16’s supporters also claim that racial minorities have been devastated since the state was prohibited from using race as a factor in decisions, especially at California’s public universities. In fact, the number of blacks admitted to the University of California has more than doubled since the year before Prop. 209 went into effect.

The number of Chicano/Latino students admitted has increased nearly five times. Contrary to what Prop. 16 supporters would have you believe, 41% of the 2020 class of admitted freshmen students are black or Chicano/Latino across the University of California system. Chicanos and Latinos represent a plurality at 36%, which is more than the 35% who are Asian-American and the only 21% who are white.

No, we’ve not achieved racial bliss yet, and may never do so, whatever that state may look like. But we’ve come a long way, baby, in eliminating racism, contrary to the inexplicable belief that everything is worse today than it’s ever been.

Fearmongering has long been an effective weapon in getting the unduly passionate to ignore reality and to blindly accept a toxic and unsustainable ideology on the other side of the racist mountain. That’s the pitch being made in California as well as much of the country, that racists oppose this constitutional amendment. Except racists are for it too.

Those of us who have spent the past 60 years trying to eliminate racism, to promote equality, to end a nation that pits race against race, who are just as antagonistic toward white supremacy as black supremacy, should reject this effort to make racism great again. The solution to racism isn’t more racism. It’s ending racism.

18 thoughts on “Will California Repeal Equal Protection?

  1. Rob McMillin

    The real target of 16 is Asians, whose admissions to UC will be forfeit to satisfy the itches of some race social engineers. Asians, of course, had nothing to do with chattel slavery or Jim Crow segregation, but this is the funhouse mirror “justice” critical race theorists want.

    Reply
  2. LocoYokel

    Go ahead and call me stupid, but wouldn’t this run afoul of the 14th amendment? Basically legalizing discrimination.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      Can I call you stupid and then agree with you? I think so, as did the Supreme Court in its 1978 Bakke decision. But I get the impression that California doesn’t really care much about what the federal Constitution has to say about it, as they are the cutting edge of the future.

      Reply
  3. Dan

    “And no doubt that racists will oppose Prop 16,”

    Why would they? Prop 16 removes a (state) constitutional prohibition against their racism, and the woke (who are explicitly racist) love it.

    Reply
  4. B. McLeod

    If we were to actually end racism, the people who have made their careers on race-baiting (or “fighting racism” as they would probably prefer to cast it) would have to get real jobs.

    Reply
  5. Alex Sarmiento

    California was supposed to be a bastion of liberalism. It became the capital of poverty and now “good” racism?
    I don’t think that liberalism is working anymore as expected, chief . The premise is not making people happier or better. It seems to bring too much instability and moral confusion.

    Reply
      1. Alex Sarmiento

        I know the difference. Progressivism is replacing liberalism at the speed of light because people don’t seem very happy with old fashioned liberalism anymore. I am just saying why. Liberals don’t seem to be ready for that conversation I guess.

        Reply
          1. Skink

            It’s a brief remodel. The trap door and slide that lead to the pond-o-grease out back needs fixin’. Somehow, the slide got moved, so those sent through the floor wound up in the pool. That was unacceptable.

            Reply
  6. Richard Parker

    As Comrade Lenin correctly stated, “Politics is about Who, Whom”. I won’t fully translate as this is a family friendly blog.

    Reply
  7. KP

    “Those of us who have spent the past 60 years trying to eliminate racism”
    Not in the other white, Western, ex-British colonies… They’ve been throwing money at natives and minorities for decades now, with nothing to show for it at the end. The only exception seems to be India, but NZ, South Africa, Australia, an even the UK are happy to pour money into the bottomless pit of racial poverty.

    Everyone knows it will cost billions of dollars, the administrators and their cronies will get rich….. and it won’t work. That’s way democracy runs.

    Reply

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