Prop 209 Essay

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Proposition 209 – California Civil Rights Initiative Overview Proposition 209, also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative, was passed in 1996 by 54% of majority California voters through a ballot measure. The purpose of this initiative is intended to prohibit the state, schools, and government institutions from discriminating or giving preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, or ethnicity. The text of this proposition states “SEC. 31. (a) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, 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.” What the proposition mean is, for example, when interviewing an individual for a public or government job, the employer cannot make a judgment call to exclude or consider that person from a job based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or origin. The same applies to public education when admitting college applicants. Proposition 209 calls for the removal of affirmative action in state programs. In most states that have affirmative action programs (equal opportunity), a quota system is put upon to allow a specific amount or percentage of minority group members to be hired or admitted; this is often called reverse discrimination. Affirmative action implicates reverse discrimination by rejecting individuals of a dominant group (white male) for a “less advantaged” minority. Under California’s proposition 209, doing so would be considered giving preferential treatment to an individual and would not be allowed. Under this proposition, the proposal is that applicants are considered based on their qualifications and not on gender, race or color. Issues and Debate The key issues pertaining to the passage of prop 209 is the fear that a decline in workforce diversity would occur.

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