Why is California’s Prop 16 so confusing?

Prop 16 is on the ballot and it’s confusing as heck. Ensuring racial equality shouldn’t be this twisted. Here’s my breakdown.

Well, this is easy, I’m against discrimination so why would I vote “yes”?

Like most things in the world, nothing is ever as easy as it seems. This is no exception.

1996, when it all started

Since we’re considering repealing Prop 209, let’s dive into how we got Prop 209 passed in the first place.

Understanding both sides

CalMatters.org is an excellent resource to understand both sides of a given ballot measure. They have summarized the arguments for Prop 16 below:

Prop 16 boils down to a vote on how you recognize and want to solve systemic discrimination based on race and gender.

Systemic racism and discrimination are not comfortable, easy, nor straightforward topics.

Is Affirmative Action the right response to Systemic Discrimination?

Frankly, to me, I find the naive arguments of “Vote No because everyone has an equal opportunity, they just need to work harder” relatively easy to counter by pointing out simple, indisputable facts about how groups have been systemically discriminated against.

You don’t want discrimination to be legal, do you?

Like many things in our political system today, there’s a game to play when introducing laws and policies. Efforts to codify the intent and ensure things at the surface-level seem great have been used over and over again, it’s practically in the playbook.

Who’s voting “Yes” on Prop 16?

  • Governor Gavin Newsom
  • Mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego
  • Many Democratic senators, representatives, and other legislators
  • ACLU, Anti-Defamation League, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Teachers Association, many other groups
  • Kaiser Permanente and PG&E

Who’s voting “No” on Prop 16?

  • 2 Republican State Senators
  • Ward Connerly, the person who introduced Prop 209 in 1996.
  • Organizations helping Asian students get into California’s premier schools, like IvyMax.

Where can I get just the facts, no opinions?

BallotPedia

Field Engineering Manager at Scale AI | At the intersection between Customers and Code

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