‘Yes’ on Amend. 46

The first citizens’ initiative Coloradans will encounter on their election ballots this year is Amendment 46, which takes direct aim at affirmative action programs based on race or gender in Colorado government, colleges and universities.

Voters should give the measure their solid approval, just as voters in California, Michigan and Washington already have done.

In none of those states have minorities and women found themselves suddenly shut out of government hiring, contracting or higher education.

California, which adopted nearly identical language for its constitution a dozen years ago, is the famous test case for this sort of anti-discrimination measure.

Opponents of such measures are quick to note that fewer minority students have been admitted to the state’s flagship universities — such as UCLA or UC-Berkeley — since the measure passed. But they rarely mention that minority admission rates are up at other University of California campuses and minority dropout rates are down. Students are finding the academic institutions that work best for them, rather than attending a particular campus because college officials are trying to meet some diversity quota or goal.

We’re not claiming racial and gender discrimination have been obliterated in this country. They still exist, and must be challenged wherever they appear.

But females now make up 56 percent of the college students in Colorado. Few people would argue we need a new program offering financial or admission preferences to males to ensure a perfect male-female balance.

And, in a year when one of the two major political parties has nominated a black man for president — and he is receiving broad support from Americans of every ethnic background as well as from highly successful black businessmen and women — it’s hard to argue that American society blocks minorities from reaching the highest levels of success.

Moreover, as proponents of Amendment 46 point out, with ever-increasing numbers of interracial marriages, it is becoming more and more difficult to say a person belongs to just one ethnic classification.

Millions consider themselves multi-racial.

Amendment 46 won’t ban private scholarships and other support for individuals based on race or gender. 

And it allows exemptions for federally mandated programs or court decisions. But it will prevent preferential treatment based on race or gender from being institutionalized in state government. And that’s how it should be. Vote “Yes” on Amendment 46.


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