46: Eliminate Affirmative Action
Eliminate affirmative action of any kind by any agency of the state or local government including taking it into account in college admissions.
This is one of those initiatives that sounds good. And we do all want to live in a state where we treat each other equally regardless of race, gender, etc. But we face two gigantic problems with this initiative. The first is that our college admission process is imperfect and as outlined in this article, affirmative action is a useful tool to improve who is admitted to college. This initiative will hurt our Colleges.
The second major reason to vote this down is it is an absolute prohibition locked in to the constitution. A law that the legislature could amend to allow for needed exceptions might be worth trying. But with this placed in the constitution, what happens if we find necessary exceptions - and cannot implement those exceptions. This is much too heavy-handed a tool.
Discrimination still exists in today's society, which deprives some individuals of an opportunity to succeed. Women and minorities earn less, are under-represented in top-paying fields, and receive fewer public contracting dollars when compared to non-minority or male groups. Programs that consider race and gender provide greater access to employment, education, and business opportunities for historically disadvantaged groups. These programs have been successful in promoting diversity and correcting past discrimination, but equality has not yet been achieved.
The impact of this measure is uncertain and potentially far-reaching. Amendment 46 does not define "preferential treatment" or "discrimination," leaving these terms open to interpretation and lawsuits funded at taxpayers' expense. Entities that do not have sufficient financial resources for a legal challenge may simply discontinue offering programs that appear to target assistance to specific populations.
Amendment 46 treats everyone equally in public employment, education, and contracting. Discrimination occurs when people are given preference based on their race or gender rather than their qualifications. Preferential treatment leads to resentment and treats women and minorities as if they cannot succeed on their merits. Furthermore, racial classifications are divisive for society; preferencing one group over another based on race does not promote equal and fair treatment for everyone.
The idea of giving preference to an individual based on race or gender is outdated for today's society. Race, color, ethnicity, and national origin are becoming more difficult to define as more Americans identify themselves as multi-racial. Amendment 46 aligns state policies with the modern world.
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