Press Releases

Proposition 16 Promotes Racial Discrimination

Polling Shows Lack of Support for Racial Preference Measure

CALIFORNIA: Parents and Students for Racial Equality in California is opposing a measure that would result in legal racial discrimination in California. Proposition 16, an initiative on this November’s ballot, threatens to introduce institutionalized and legal race-based admissions in our public universities, as well as contracting and hiring policies in all California government settings.

“Although recent polling shows that this measure is struggling to gain traction with California voters, organizations opposed to racial discrimination must remain vigilant,” said organization spokesman and former California State Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff. “Proposition 16 represents a step backwards to the darkest days of this country, when racial discrimination was openly tolerated and encouraged. This is contrary to the fundamental principles upon which this nation was built and for which so many fought to secure. The Declaration of Independence tells us all men are created equal. Proposition 16 tells us that some are more equal and deserving than others.”

Proposition 16 would allow supporters to impose across the board, racial guidelines for all California public school and public university admissions and settings. It would also allow schools, colleges and other government agencies to discriminate in employment, promotions and contracting. The measure seeks to overturn Proposition 209, which appeared on the November 1996 ballot and passed with a strong 54 percent majority in support. Proposition 209 amended the state constitution to prohibit state government institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity, specifically in the areas of public employment, public contracting or public education.

Recent polling conduction by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) revealed that barely one-third of the states voters appear to support the idea of racial discrimination. Nearly half are opposed to the proposal and some remain unopposed. A second poll conducted by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies divulged nearly identical findings.

“No person in California should ever be told that they cannot be admitted to a university or not awarded a job or contract because they are the wrong color or sex,” said Huff. “Discriminating on the basis of race, color, sex or religion represents the darkest part of California’s history. Measures like Proposition 16 only serve to divide our state at a time when everyone is needed to work together to heal wounds and create a brighter future.”