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California Proposition 16: Affirmative Action Amendment

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This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.  

In a nutshell, Proposition 16 is about repealing Proposition 209, which passed back in 1996.

Proposition 209 added a section to the California Constitution that banned the state from discriminating or giving preferential treatment.

The push to repeal it is being led by the “Opportunity for All Coalition.” Why would they want to scrap this? The argument against Proposition 209 is that it’s a ban on affirmative action, despite the egalitarian language. 

Supporters of Proposition 16 say that discrimination and inequality due to race and gender is still a thing, and since Proposition 209 says that can’t be acknowledged, the state can’t address systemic disparities with its hiring or admissions criteria.

But, there’s been backlash against Proposition 16 from supporters of Proposition 209. They argue that repealing it would legalize discrimination and that Californians should be judged on merit. In fact, the Asian American Coalition for Education claims that Proposition 16 “pits racial groups against each other.”

So, what does your vote mean? If you vote yes, that means you support repealing Proposition 209 and removing its language from the state Constitution. If you vote no, then you think that Proposition 209 and that language should stay right where they are.