State Initiative Seeks to Outlaw Racial Data -- How do you vote?

According to Fox News

That’s one side. OTOH opponents argue:

So, how would you vote?

I’d vote to make it voluntary.

I answered a telephone poll this week about my radio listening habits. The last question they asked was: “What ethnicity do you identify yourself as?”. So I just said “I’d rather not answer that.” Seems a workable solution to me.

I’ll second the voluntary part. Even on forms that say “This will be confidential and used only for statistical purposes.”

Under the law (not “laws”) as it exists today, the government is required to (1) take no notice of race in any form that could be discriminatory, and (2) ensure that fair treatment is accorded people without reference to their race, which may include monitoring that others expending federal funds, redrawing legislative district boundaries, and so on, are not unjustly discriminating against a historically-discriminated-against minority.

This schizophrenic requirement therefore makes the idea of keeping racial data important. How can one be sure that (2) is being carried out without at least statistical inference that it is or is not.

I’d vote against (although I think disclosing that sort of thing should always be volentary…but there are few situations where it isn’t).

The reason is that even if we can get the state to be “colorblind”, it won’t mean anything until individuals are, too. Looking at racial data can help point to where problems are- either problems with an organization or individuals.

I can just see someone saying “people in this town won’t hire black people”, and the governemnt official looking over records and saying “says here they hired all kinds of people” and then the person saying “yeah, but none of them are black people”, and the official saying, “I have no evidence of that!”.

Polycarp could you please expand on what you mean by the law (not “laws”)? I’m not getting your point.

Philosophically, I agree with the initiative. I think Poly’s practical objections, however, unfortunately have to carry the day.

I mean, there is one huuuuge problem up front. The State of California is a big employer, probably the biggest in the state. Therefore, it may be subject to employment discrimination laws. But no one is going to be able to figure out if, say, the Deparment of Motor Vehicles is discriminating in hiring against Latinos if no one can determine what percentage of the DMV’s employees are Latino.


Poly’s nailed in one post.

without access to raw data, there could be no proof of discriminatory practices. While we’d really like to be able to say that we’re a color blind nation, events such as the Byrd killing in Texas suggest that utopia is a ways off.

However, as one who has to assimilate the data (I report racial data on multiple governmental contracts), I prefer some tweeking of the system to allow, for example people to self identify in more than one category (and for those of you in the stats field who are going nuts at the concept, the data would be retrieved as “plural categories” so you’d have something like “caucasian 65%, black 10%, hispanic 7%, asian 5%; multiple categories 13%” and you’d look at the data as showing 35% minorities)

This goes too far. I would agree with the statement, “Without access to statistics, it would be harder to prove discrimination.” However, even without statistics, proof could be possible in some cases. Three examples:

– If a group of people were conspiring to discriminate, one or more of them might testify against the others.

– If a particular individual were discriminating in hiring or promotions, then differential treatment of certain job candidates or employees might be evidence.

– It would be certainly be evidence if a state employee said, “I’m not hiring any f***ing Kikes!”

BTW if this proposition gets on the ballot, I expect it to pass. I believe a majorty is ready to move on from quotas and statistics-based affirmative action.


ehhhhhhhh wrong.
Person who believes it’s wrong in the first place wouldn’t do it. PErson who thinks they can get away w/it, would have no incentive to rat out the others unless empiricle data existed that would implicate them anyhow. w/o the raw data, there’d be no empiricle data.

** How would you be able to establish that it happened along racial lines w/o the raw data. W/o the raw data you’d have ‘some people get promoted/hired, some don’t’, shrug.

** Only if it was able to be proven that they A. said it, and B acted on it. W/o the raw data again, how would you even begin to demonstrate that the employer hadn’t hired anyone of a specific group?

I suspect that you’re correct about it passing, but cynical me suggests that it’s more because they don’t want to believe that discrimination still happens.

See, most folk I know don’t ever claim to be racist or discriminatory. Certainly the dweeb who told me (16 years ago) “I want a man for this job” didn’t think he was. IT’s only when you’re in front of a judge/jury having to explain how it was that over the period of 15 years, when you had 20% minority candidates for a position, yet you never were able to find a single one who was selected, that it may at least appear to be a problem.

Alternatively, the majority is tired of being held accountable for maintaining their discriminatory practices.

Just a different perspective.

gee, tom are you trying to imply that it’s easier to take the ‘moral high road’ if you know conclusively that there’s no way to prove you’re guilty?

I am providing an alternative interpretation for why the majority (of white folks secure in their freedoms and possessions) might consider tracking events by race to be something we could “move beyond,” nothing more. :wink:

Gotcha ya. :wink:

New list of for the 2010 Consensus to facilitate the answer for the likes of my son:


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I’d be against eliminating the data…for now.

What I mean by that is…someone, somewhere just might come up with a workable system that both promotes racial equity and satisfies all parties.

Pipe dream, I know, but it’s a shot.

Once something like that becomes commonplace to the point that it’s ingrained, then the data might become useless. At that point, do away with it.

Affirmative Action (AA) is government sanctioned racism. An individuals biase is not. AA is illegal.

Kind of like the dont-ask-dont-tell policy of the military. How will you know if the military accepts gays if you do not ask how many gays are in the military.

Same is true to racism. You cannot justify a law that discriminates with reasons of anti-discrimination.

Here’s an article giving more detail about how the system would work. It has some exclusions.

You have, of course, confused quotas (a discriminatory and counterproductive means to attempt AA) with AA, which goes beyond quotas and is not, in and of itself, racist.

I never get tired of this. :smiley: