Prop 54 is racist and dumb
Passage of Prop. 54 will hinder sociological analyses based on race and ethnicity and is the first step to eliminating Affirmative Action.
by Howard Chong
Amid the total recall madness, the potentially devastating Prop 54, looks to creep into the California Constitution. It's also on the October 7 ballot, but far fewer people know about it. Prop 54 seeks to eliminate the collection of racial, ethnic, color, and national origin data in California. Potentially in conflict with the federal Constitution, Prop 54 aims to end state tracking of such information in schools, in law enforcement, employment, and health care.
Reasons to vote NO on Prop 54 fall into two categories.
Prop 54 is inherently racist.
Often called the Connerly Initiative, it is backed by the same people who pushed Prop 187 (denying health care, education, and welfare benefits to illegal immigrants) and Prop 209 (ending affirmative action and the consideration of race and ethnicity in public hiring, contracting and college admissions).
Prop 54 is dumb.
Prop 54 stops us from even knowing about race and ethnicity. Education officials won't know the racial composition of our schools. Police officers and administrators won't know if racial profiling occurs with traffic stops. Health officials won't know that cancer rates are higher in certain ethnic groups. As the collective public, we will be strictly forbidden from knowing how, as a society, we're doing in the fight against racism.
Furthermore, if Prop 54 passes, corporations will still track our buying habits by race and ethnicity. In effect, corporations will have a monopoly on racial and ethnic data.
The Republican agenda has been to control the debate about racism, and Prop 54 will eliminate what we can even know.
Stand up to ignorance. We need to know! Vote no on Prop 54.
Howard Chong is an elected member of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, and participated in the UC Berkeley Campus Greens, 2000-2002.
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