UCLA Affirmative Action Coalition
United States of America

Some of the successes of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960's and 70's included the implementation of programs that sought to address the marginalization of communities of color caused by our nations racist history. For example, affirmative action programs in college admissions and public contracting essentially involved the issue of access and were designed to counter the massive discrimination found in colleges and the workplace. But unfortunately, since the 1990's there have been successful attempts to eliminate many programs that are meant to help communities of color in specific and society as a whole. And now, with the possible passage of the Information Ban/Racial Privacy Initiative, our ability to detect continuing disparities due to current and past discrimination practices is threatened. Ultimately, the Information Ban/Racial Privacy Initiative will prevent state and local governments from collecting data "by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin in the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment."

In 1995, the Regents of the University of California, pioneered by Ward Connerly, passed Standing Policies 1 and 2—which banned the University of California from considering race, ethnicity, and gender in admissions, hiring and contracting. Not satisfied there, Ward Connerly then became one of the main proponents of California's Proposition 209 in 1996 which abolished all affirmative action programs in the State of California. The controversial initiative (Prop 209), which passed by a slim margin, has had devastating effects on our society.

Since the abolishment of race conscious programs in California, a series of disturbing phenomena have emerged. Our institutions of higher education, for example, are resegregating. In fact, according to a Harvard study, Black and Latina/o students are in many instances more segregated today than they were in the 1960's! Critical problems like resegregation can be detected due to the legal collection of racial data. Now imagine the effects of banning the collection of such information. The consequences can be devastating.

Furthermore, the Information Ban/Racial Privacy Initiative will greatly affect the health field. It is common knowledge among individuals in the health sciences that health related data based on race is necessary in order to adequately address the varying health related necessities of specific racial groups. For example, without racial information in the health sciences, we would not know that Vietnamese women have the highest invasive cervical cancer incidence rates of all women and that Latina women rank second highest (Coalition for an Informed California, 2002).

Due to the devastating effects that the Information Ban/Racial Privacy Initiative threatens to have, we the undersigned, do not support such a measure, and urge all people, including elected officials and other public servants to take an active stance against it.

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The Oppose the Information Ban/Racial Privacy Initiative petition to UCLA Affirmative Action Coalition was written by Eric Lopez and is in the category Government at GoPetition.