PHOENIX - The nation faces tough questions in tough times, and there are people on both sides of every issue.
Arizona is no different, but who’s saying what about the issues important to Arizonans?
Each Sunday, ABC15.com debuts an Arizona issue - along with two opposing sides on the topic.
Don’t worry, you always have the opportunity to make comments at the bottom of the page. Yeah, your opinion matters, too.
This week, we're tackling the debate over Proposition 107, which seeks to ban state-sponsored affirmative action through a constitutional amendment.
Supporters of Proposition 107, including Jennifer Gratz of the American Civil Rights Coalition, say 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. Gratz says 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.
Opponents of Proposition 107, including Jenn Fang, a writer for BlogforArizona.com, Reappropriate.com and Change.org, say Prop 107 deceptively appeals to our belief in fairness, while it terminates many state-funded programs that promote equality and economic opportunity in Arizona today. Fang says our small businesses provide revenue to the state and employ Arizonans of all races and genders.
So, is Proposition 107 good or bad for Arizona?
Click "next page" to read the first of two positions, "Yes on 107: Ending affirmative action guarantees fair treatment for all".
Yes on 107: Ending affirmative action guarantees fair treatment for all: By Jennifer Gratz, Director of State and Local Initiatives with the American Civil Rights Coalition
Over ten years ago I filed a lawsuit against the University of Michigan for racial discrimination because their admissions policy gave an unfair twenty 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 Prop 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, and unlike Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, I really mean everyone’s right, to be treated equally by their government without regard to race or sex.
Radical opponents of Prop 107 like 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.
Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.
Click "next page" to read the second position, "No on Prop 107: It deceptively appeals to our belief in fairness".
No on Prop 107: It deceptively appeals to our belief in fairness: By Jenn Fang, writer for BlogforArizona.com, Reappropriate.com and Change.org
Proposition 107 deceptively appeals to our belief in fairness, while it terminates many state-funded programs that promote equality and economic opportunity in Arizona today. Consequently, students and small business owners will lose much-needed resources that help grow our state’s economic and educational future.
Proposition 107 is the latest effort launched by the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI), a California-based political action fund, whose members have spent the last two decades traveling from state to state trying to enact harmful, discriminatory laws under the guise of equality.
Supporters of Proposition 107 claim it will end the use of racial quotas in Arizona. That’s false: racial quotas do not exist. Proposition 107 will have no effect on racial quotas, because in 1978, the Supreme Court found racial quotas unconstitutional, and banned their use in all recruitment or outreach programs.
Sadly, ACRI’s misinformation on this subject obscures the real -- and damaging -- effects of Proposition 107’s passage: the dramatic assault on women and racial minorities in Arizona’s public universities and corporate offices.
To understand Proposition 107’s devastating consequences, just look west. In California, ACRI enacted a similar ballot measure that eliminated or reduced funding to all of the following: public school and after-school reading, science, and math tutoring programs that assist boys and girls; on-the-job apprenticeship programs for women and minorities; recruitment programs for women and minority teachers in K-12 schools and colleges; college scholarships for women and minorities; and outreach efforts for state contracts and federal grant opportunities to women- and minority-owned small businesses.
Enrollment of white, black, and Latino students in California’s state universities plummeted, while enrollment of Asian students skyrocketed, reducing student diversity. Only years of legal wrangling that cost the state thousands of dollars prevented battered women’s shelters that protect victims of domestic abuse from being forced to close their doors.
Proposition 107’s passage will have the same effect in Arizona. Our state’s economy draws upon the strength of our many small business owners, 30% of whom are women and 15% of whom are racial minorities. Our small businesses provide revenue to the state and employ Arizonans of all races and genders.
Our state’s economy also depends upon our three state universities – ASU, UA, and NAU – to educate our children, while also attracting other intelligent and passionate young people from around the world to our deserts. Students from Arizona’s state schools have gone on to become our doctors, our scientists, our co-workers, our business owners, and our children’s teachers.
Yet, the precedents set in California ensure that passage of Proposition 107 will decay our state universities’ appeal to local and out-of-state students, while it weakens our world-renowned research and academic programs.
Arizona cannot afford to be the latest guinea pig in ACRI’s ongoing political experiment. The cost of Proposition 107 is simply too high – too high to our state’s economy, to our state’s educational system, and to our very future.
Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.
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