Ballot Initiative of the Day: Will Oklahoma Ban Affirmative Action?

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Last year Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma proposed State Question 759, also known as the Affirmative Action Ban Amendment, to prohibit affirmative action policies in state employment, education, and contracting. Next week voters will decide the measure’s fate.

More than 100 Oklahoma state agencies have affirmative action programs on the books. Racial quotas are already illegal, but supporters argue that current diversity efforts go too far. “I believe in the merit of the individual, not their gender or color of their skin,” explains  Republican State Representative Leslie Osborn, one of the co-authors of the measure. “Affirmative action has outgrown its usefulness and in Oklahoma we believe in fairness to the individual and the standing of their own merit regardless of sex or race.”

Opponents counter that affirmative action works well in Oklahoma. According to the state’s 2010 Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Status Report, only 6.4% of the civilian work force is African-American, compared to 10.4% of state employees. The comparison holds too for women: 46% of the civilian workforce is female, compared to 57% of the state workforce. State Senator Judy McIntyre (D-Tulsa) argues against the proposal. “It’s intended to excite and anger a lot of the Republican base and poor whites who may believe that African Americans have been given jobs and taken jobs from them and that’s not true,” she said. The ACLU of Oklahoma and NAACP also urge a No vote.

Affirmative action dates to 1961, when John F. Kennedy created the first program. Arizona passed a similar affirmative action ban in 2010.

7 comments
RivalryMaker
RivalryMaker

The more blue you paint your state, the redder we paint ours.

textee
textee like.author.displayName 1 Like

The first act of President Romney and the Republican-dominated House and Senate should be an immediate ban on the racial discrimination/racial quotas/racial preferences/racial profiling (i.e., "affirmative action") practiced by the federal government, state governments, state universities and local governments.  It should be called the Civil Rights, Anti-Racial Discrimination and Equal Treatment under the Law Act of 2013.  Let the race baiters chew on that.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Righties, always at war in having a society of equal values.

RivalryMaker
RivalryMaker

@MrObvious  lefties always use race, gender and class to create a divide that will shift their way. 

Misunderstood2012
Misunderstood2012 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

I am a female African-American state employee in Oklahoma. There is so much racism, sexism and classism active in this state and the country. Whites in this country have always had invisible protection based on color. Affirmative action helps to level the playing field for us. I have always had to work twice as hard as whites, while Whites with less education are hired and promoted faster than me. You and others like you will see within a few more generations as the popluation becomes more diverse what it is like to be the minority and not the majority.

yiudong
yiudong like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@Misunderstood2012 i am an Asian oklahoma federal employee. Are you sure its not because you lack network or communication/social skills? I NEVER see any racism at work. i am voting yes.

rclegg
rclegg like.author.displayName 1 Like

SQ 759 would ban state and local governments from preferential treatment orother discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex in publiccontracting, employment, and education (include state universities).Unfortunately, such discrimination and preference have recently existed andstill exist in Oklahoma -- and it is certainly a common enough occurrenceall over the country that it makes sense to prohibit it. Many states have passed similar bans(California, Washington, Michigan, and Nebraska, in addition to Arizona). The governmentshould not be playing favorites based on skin color, what country someone'sancestors came from, or gender. Vote YES on SQ 759!