Though we all have much to celebrate with the change in Washington, I have found myself holding back my champagne toast as I watched Proposal 2 dismantle my home state of Michigan. For those of you who are unaware, Proposal 2 was an initiative to ban affirmative action in all state institutions. Ward Connerly, the man who initiated this in California, and just recently in Michigan, may be coming to your state next.
From the beginning there were numerous problems associated with this. The ballot initiative deceptively used the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, convincing people that this was a proposal to ensure that discrimination will end. Many people were misled by this and signed the petition believing that it strengthened what Affirmative Action intended to do. Even several petition carriers were in the dark when asking people to sign. When this was brought before the courts in Michigan, the only order they issued was the addition of a line that stated that this proposal was going to ban affirmative action. There was also news that money for the campaign to promote prop 2 was donated by the KKK right before the election (see www.civilrights.org and www.oneunitedmichigan.org).
Well, it passed with 58% of the vote. Several comments were made during exit poll interviews that had shown just how much ignorance was used in determining a yes vote. One woman stated that she voted yes for prop 2 because she was turned down at the University of Michigan so a less qualified minority could go there. Well, she is a woman, therefore a minority under Affirmative Action, and she really would have no idea if a racial minority was accepted in her place and whether or not they were less qualified. Some male students I talked to stated that they voted yes because they believe that Affirmative Action desperately needed to be reformed in its current state, so they voted to strike it down. Well, voting yes will not fix the problems associated with A.A.; it gets rid of it all together and negates any effort for reform.
I am saddened that this state has chosen to pass a measure that bans a program to ensure that those who are disadvantaged have a chance to level the playing field. I'm even more worried that Ward Connerly may be making rounds in other states to dismantle A.A. elsewhere. He's already won California and Michigan. Beware; he may be coming to your state soon.