Arizona Bans Affirmative Action: One Step Closer to Whitopia

Being of Afro-Caribbean descent, and an immigrant to the United States, it’s been pretty tough to watch the apathy of African Americans on the issue of immigration reform. Yeah I know the brown man came here voluntarily to work for a quarter while black folks were brought here against their will to work for free for 500yrs. While it’s easy to make that distinction as justification, it’s still a foolish one in my opinion.

I remember not too long ago when black folks were saying that Arizona’s SB1070 anti-immigration bill wasn’t our fight. Surely you remember the then hot button issue that was Arizona and it’s quest to become the Whitopia of America because there were no cotton fields in the desert back in the day.

Well, I wonder what those very same black folks have to say today, now that Arizona has voted to ban Affirmative Action? Yep, guess what, black people? It’s not all about those “criminal” Latinos.

This from
Voters in Arizona on Tuesday approved Proposition 107 banning the consideration of race, ethnicity or gender by units of state government, including public colleges and universities. With 2,075 of 2,239 precincts reporting as of early Wednesday morning, the measure had just under 60 percent support in unofficial state results.

Arizona joins California, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington State in imposing such bans. Only Colorado rejected a similar ban in a statewide vote. In the states of California and Michigan, the bans led to sharp drops in the admission and enrollment of black and Latino students at flagship universities, although those institutions have made progress since the initial votes in diversifying their student bodies through race-neutral methods. In those states, however, undergraduate admission to the state universities is highly competitive.

In Arizona, a populist approach to admissions means that all students who meet certain criteria are admitted – without consideration of race or ethnicity. As a result, university officials have said that undergraduate enrollments should not be affected. However, Arizona’s universities – like most institutions – have many programs for minority students, some of which could be challenged. Just last August, for example, Arizona State University announced new summer fellowships in digital media for minority students.

[…] Generally, critics of affirmative action have argued in Arizona that it is no longer needed. An editorial in The Arizona Republic endorsing Prop 107 said: “Affirmative action wasn’t meant to be a perpetual- motion machine. The policy served an important purpose, making up for missing opportunities in education and the workplace. But over time, the drawbacks have come to outweigh the advantages. Voters should pull the plug.”

To the extent that education leaders in Arizona have answered questions about Prop 107, prior to the vote, many seemed worried about the impact beyond admissions decisions. Roy Flores, chancellor of Pima Community College, said in an interview this week that there would be no impact on admissions practices, which are race-neutral. But he said that the college has a variety of outreach programs to recruit students and to help them succeed, and that some of these are “targeted” with a focus on particular groups. He said that these programs are designed based on the approaches that will engage members of different groups, not with any intent to exclude anyone. “I’m not sure what danger people see that they are trying to eliminate,” Flores said.

Maybe it’s just me, but the idea that Affirmative Action isn’t needed today (especially in college admissions) because “the drawbacks have come to outweigh the advantages,” is just ludicrous. And to be perfectly honest, this idea comes directly from the bowels of white privilege, and it is to be expected. But hey, I guess when you’re black and you hate yourself, you can’t help but to agree with white folks to gain acceptance.

You know, like Ward Connerly…

The thing that gets me about this is that this ballot initiative hardly got any national attention. Which is surprising considering that everything negative about Arizona has been exposed nationwide. But see when we don’t pay attention and turn a blind eye, this is what happens. Yep, and at the end of the day, all minorities are affected, and suffer the consequences of the actions of bigots in power.

Hope you black folks learned something from this. Because truth is, as minorities, whether you believe it or not, we’re all in this shit together by virtue of or there being more non-minorities in power than ourselves.

Bottom line: failing to address the disadvantages of minorities affects us all.