Local civil activists are filing a federal lawsuit against Proposition 209 on Tuesday in an attempt to give non-Asian minorities a better chance at admittance into California’s leading state schools.
Proposition 209 states in part that public universities “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin”.
BAMN – The Coalition To Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight For Equality By Any Means Necessary — is challenging the law on the basis that Proposition 209 propagates a ‘racial caste system’.
Dovetailing with this claim is BAMN’s contention that the UC system places too much emphasis on grades and SAT/ACT scores, thereby disadvantaging students (mostly minorities) without access to sufficient high school education.
Despite past failures of civil action suits to abolish Prop 209, BAMN’s attorney feels confident that the fields of both law and education are now ripe for such a breakthrough.
Approximately 45 percent of California’s high school graduates consist of non-asian minorities -predominately Latinos, blacks, and Native Americans. By contrast, the same racial groups make up less than 20% of the student body at universities such as UC-Berkeley and UCLA.
Similar to the circumstances under which Prop 209 was implemented in California in 1996, Michigan passed Proposal 2 by a slim majority in 2006. Proposal 2 effectively bans affirmative action in several Michigan state schools, despite past allowances of race as an admission factor.
In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that the law school at the University of Michigan may constitutionally engage in affirmative action as long as no racial quotas were involved.
Outside of BAMN, organizations against Prop 209 in California include ACLU of Southern California, Feminist Majority and California Votes NO! On 209.