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Ending ‘affirmative action’ guarantees fair treatment for all

More than 10 years ago I filed a lawsuit against the University of Michigan for racial discrimination because their admissions policy gave an unfair 20 percent boost to black and Hispanic applicants. I know firsthand how horrible it is to be discriminated against when “affirmative action” and “diversity quota” policies employ different admissions standards based on race.

Although I personally won my lawsuit after it was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, many universities and government agencies all over the country — including in Arizona — continue their policies that grant preferential treatment based on race to some, while discriminating against others.

Affirmative action job quotas, minority contract set-asides and extra points in college admissions are wrong and it’s time to get rid of them. Achieving “diversity goals,” however well-intentioned, often amounts to the functional equivalent of a quota. Achieving “diversity” should never be an excuse to discriminate against anyone.

Voters should vote yes on Proposition 107 to tell the government to stop picking winners and losers based on race or sex. Prop. 107 is simple — it will ban “affirmative action” programs that give preference based on race or sex in three specific areas:  public contracting, public employment, and public education.  After all, it is everyone’s right to be treated equally by their government without regard to race or sex.

Opponents of Prop. 107 such as ACORN and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) falsely claim that health programs, domestic violence shelters. And social support programs that assist women would be banned if Prop. 107 passes. But Prop. 107 only affects public hiring, contracting and public education — not health programs or domestic violence shelters.

Opponents know these facts, but try to deceive the public because they have a lot to lose given the massive industry set up to maintain and advance preferential treatment for the few rather than equal rights for all.

The operative language of Prop. 107, which has already passed in four other states and has been in place for as many as 14 years, is simple and clear:

“The state shall not grant preferential treatment to or discriminate against 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.”

The language of Prop. 107 mirrors the language of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act and advances civil rights by prohibiting discrimination and preferential treatment based on race, sex, and skin color.

Prop. 107 reinforces the fact that everyone is entitled to civil rights and should have an equal chance to compete for good paying jobs, government contracts, and college admissions — based on individual merit, not skin color or sex.

— Jennifer Gratz is director of state and local initiatives with the American Civil Rights Coalition.


  1. It’s interesting that she cites as the opponent of Prop 107 a highly inflammatory organization (ACORN) that no longer exists and has taken no position on this measure and fails to acknowledge the actual Arizona opponents of the proposition, Protect Arizona’s Freedom, a large, extremely diverse coalition of business, education, labor, civil rights, women’s, and native American organizations.

  2. Candace Carpenter

    That sounds great, let’s eliminate all quotas and have everyone in America be on a level playing field. Well, before you vote for 107 to pass, let’s see what else is on a level playing field. In Arizona, most people are only a car drive away from a reservation. Take a drive on the reservation and then go back to your neighborhood, probably not a level playing field. Don’t want to drive that far, just go to a poorer neighborhood and then go to an upscale neighborhood; I bet the facilities are vastly different in the communities. Whether people like it or not there is inequality in education, health-care and a lot of other areas. Things are better, but there still are differences. If you want to get rid of quotas that’s great. I think we should stop funding schools based on their neighborhood/district taxes and just go statewide; each school gets their funding based on the number of children attending. That’s a great solution to our problem of educational inequality! The outcry would be deafening. The rich and middle-class would have to give up a built in advantage! So, if you are really interesting in eliminating quotas and inequality how about implementing that as a policy. Vote no on 107!!!

  3. Arizona voters should take the time to go to the Equal Opportunity Commission EE0_1 Arizona Report on the available workforce. The last one on the internet is dated 2007. Of note is the fact that our White population available workforce is 66%, but hold 86% of the professionals/managers positions, which are the highest paid. The remainder of Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans and Native Americans are disproportionately represented in this high paying category and are well reflected in the remaining categories.

    Arizona legislature and our Governor have not done a good job of equality and now we will never know, because I am certain there will be limited reporting. Now is that fair?

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