Monday, January 10, 2005

An important developement I have not seen reported much in the media: Michigan is now set to have a referendum on affirmative action in higher education and govermnent in 2006. A similar referendum outlawed affirmative action in California's universities eight years ago.

(via Cliopatria)

3 Comments:

At 11:40 AM, Blogger angela said...

while its nice to see a group in michigan is mobilizing against discrimination, a more important issue is the distinct lameness of referenda as policy instruments with regard to fundamental freedoms. this sort of initiative should originate with the government of the day. yeah, grassroots activity is important to democracy but leaving issues of fundamental freedoms outside the legislature sucks cos defending freedom should be the governments primary occupation, especially in america where people cant shut up about how much they love freedom. if youre going to put something that fundamental to a vote, why not do away with the legislatures altogether and have a referendum for everything. public opinion is important, yes, and thats why we have democratic elections. why cant the elected representatives show leadership instead of passing the buck to people. its great that at the end of the day, the legislators, who should be responsible for this sort of thing, can just blame an unsatisfactory outcome on someone else.

that being said, the usa is really segregated, and this is based on my personal observation of largely blue states given that ive never been to a red state besides florida and idaho. initiatives to include historically disenfranchised groups without compromising the fundamental freedom from discrimination shouldnt be jeopardized. if people want to help people who are systematically left out, they should have the right to do so. theres a difference between the kind of arbitrary preferential hiring/admission that makes people question the merit of non-whites with good positions in the workplace and efforts to recognize the need to engage excluded communities to create social mobility. for example, if someone wants to start a college prep program specifically aimed at inner city black youth, or aboriginals, or women, why shouldnt they be able to? to champion freedom and equality on paper but not in practice is bullshit lip service.

so now i have class... well, in the sense that i have a seminar at 12:00, not that im classy

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger angela said...

while its nice to see a group in michigan is mobilizing against discrimination, a more important issue is the distinct lameness of referenda as policy instruments with regard to fundamental freedoms. this sort of initiative should originate with the government of the day. yeah, grassroots activity is important to democracy but leaving issues of fundamental freedoms outside the legislature sucks cos defending freedom should be the governments primary occupation, especially in america where people cant shut up about how much they love freedom. if youre going to put something that fundamental to a vote, why not do away with the legislatures altogether and have a referendum for everything. public opinion is important, yes, and thats why we have democratic elections. why cant the elected representatives show leadership instead of passing the buck to people. its great that at the end of the day, the legislators, who should be responsible for this sort of thing, can just blame an unsatisfactory outcome on someone else.

that being said, the usa is really segregated, and this is based on my personal observation of largely blue states given that ive never been to a red state besides florida and idaho. initiatives to include historically disenfranchised groups without compromising the fundamental freedom from discrimination shouldnt be jeopardized. if people want to help people who are systematically left out, they should have the right to do so. theres a difference between the kind of arbitrary preferential hiring/admission that makes people question the merit of non-whites with good positions in the workplace and efforts to recognize the need to engage excluded communities to create social mobility. for example, if someone wants to start a college prep program specifically aimed at inner city black youth, or aboriginals, or women, why shouldnt they be able to? to champion freedom and equality on paper but not in practice is bullshit lip service.

so now i have class... well, in the sense that i have a seminar at 12:00, not that im classy

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger alex said...

1. I think you need to add to your argument against referenda. As it stands, it does not really apply to the Michigan case: you write,

"...leaving issues of fundamental freedoms outside the legislature sucks cos defending freedom should be the governments primary occupation..."

For one thing, the referendum in question has nothing to do with freedom. It is a question of whether the government needs to implement a specific kind of policy - private businesses would still be free to engage in affirmative action if they so want.

Even if the referendum dealt with something related to personal freedoms, I still don't see the argument: why is a process based on popular ratification worse than a process based on legislative ratification? And what is meant by "worse" here anyway?

2. I don't think anybody objects to programs that target a certain audience. Affirmative action foes object to a double standard: programs that give preference to whites are illegal, while programs that give preference to minorities are legal and eligible for government money.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home