Post election analysis: Affirmative Action

Guess who’s bizack? What’s up fam, my extended absence was due to my job doing political organizing leading up to the election. To Garlin and Steve; thank you for holding it down and continuing to bring the fire. So due to the political nature of my job, it is only fitting that I provide some post election analysis as it pertains to the banning of affirmative action.

Here in Michigan, there was a ballot proposal sponsored by the wrongfully titled Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. The ballot proposal asked Michigan voters to amend the state constitution to ban affirmative action programs. The ballot initiative passed by an astounding margin of 56% to 42%.The text of the ballot read as such; (emphasis mine)

A proposal to amend the state constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes.

Now if you were oblivious to the long lasting effects of banning affirmative action, I could see how it would be reasonable to think that voting yes for this amendment is in line with your values and beliefs. However, I want to spend a little bit of time on the loaded term, preferential treatment. These two words are powerful because it assumes that we are all equal and therefore, any group getting so called preferential treatment is unfair to the people that don’t get preferential treatment. In fact, affirmative action tries to actually level the playing field. But here is where I think lies the deep philosophical difference between supporters and opponents. Opponents of affirmative action like to believe that the playing field is equal and proponents of affirmative action try to level the playing field. I just find it sad that in 2006, so many people are in refusal of believing that discrimination is not an institutionalized feature of our society.

And as for this colorblind mess, I can’t stand it. Humans are not dogs, we see in color. Many White people will think that their Black counterparts in college got there by affirmative action, due to athletic scholarship, or just otherwise have not earned the right to be where they are. Taking away affirmative action will not heal race relations and will not make racism and discrimination disappear. Let me say that again, taking away affirmative action will not heal race relations and will not make racism and discrimination disappear.

Ward Connerly and his conservative backers will be taking his ban on affirmative action to five different states. Banning affirmative action has a very salient effect into tapping into the anger that is just beneath the surface of many white people. And before I think it crazy that the government should take positive action to make up for discrimination, I like to refer to Dave Chappelle.

This ballot initiative is bad for Michigan and I can only hope that the decision would have been different had people voted using logic instead of emotion. And as my co-worker so eloquently expressed to me, “Not everything should be decided by the people.”

In the next post, we will look at ways to blunt the effects of this decision and what to do if Ward sets up camp in your state.



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