Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yuma Sun endorses Prop. 107

Discrimination wrong answer for inequality

Affirmative action has long been a controversial subject in America and the debate has been revived on the Arizona ballot in November.

Proposition 107 seeks to amend the Arizona Constitution to ban preferential treatment in public programs in Arizona based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. Public employment, public education and public contracting would be impacted.

The prohibition would not apply to private affirmative efforts. And the proposition specifically exempts “bona fide qualifications” based on sex, as well as any action needed to retain federal funding or covered by a current court order. It would also not apply to any action taken prior to passage of the amendment.

At the heart of the discussion of affirmation action is discrimination.

Those who support these programs say they are necessary to correct discriminatory policies which hurt certain groups. The programs are intended to take proactive steps to ensure these groups get preferred treatment so they cannot be wrongfully locked out of the system.

Those who oppose affirmative action say these programs have become discriminatory in themselves, unfairly locking out members of majority groups through no fault of their own. Qualified people who are not part of the “affirmative groups” are denied a fair chance to participate in the system simply due to their race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

Responding to discrimination with discrimination is not the right answer. The goal in America needs to be that all people — regardless of their inherent physical, racial or ethnic traits — are selected on their qualifications alone.

Proposition 107 takes a step in the right direction to ensure equal treatment for all in the public arena.

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