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The state of California has and regrettable history of racial and ethnic tensions. Tensions that are worse in this state than in any other part of the US, despite the progress the state's people have made over the years. Those who support the measure will be voting to support racism.

In a new and bold but ultimately failed experiment in the late 20th century, California adopted affirmative action which meant that people would be admitted to the state's universities based exclusively on their skin color and race and people from each group were admitted based on quotas for each race and that was the only basis by which students were admitted. Affirmative Action replaced academic performance with racial preferences. In the 1990's the people of California, fed up with the failure of this system and the fact that is led to increased racial incidents voted to abolish it by constitutional amendment.

Now a small group that does not know that history, seeks to bring it back. Proposition 16 would remove the constitutional clause that bans the use of race as a consideration for admissions to public universities in the state. As noted, historically that factor often over rules academic performance. Proposition 16 is a proposal that promotes racism and racial animosity and it is designed to do so.

Students will not get a fair deal if 16 is passed. If a public university decides that despite an applicants academic performance, if they are the wrong ethnicity or race, for example if they are Mexican and the university admissions office thinks there are too many Mexicans on campus, the university admissions office can reject the applicant for being Mexican. That is what Prop 16 does. Our position is that if you perform well academically and you over come struggles in your community that alone should be enough to get you into a university. But the practice of using race alone can and will be used against many students of color by denying them of the opportunity to prove themselves and denying them a fair opportunity to strive to achieve their best.

The practice of using race also increases racism in the communities where the universities are based. Isn't the goal to end racism in California? If so, Proposition 16 is a step backward to the time of Jim Crow and will cause great harm to all students of color. And here is the sad thing, if a White student is denied admissions because of their race, ethnicity or skin color, they have the option of thousands of other universities in this country to go to, but if a non White student applicant is denied because his or her group is overrepresented, where can they go?

In the case where two or more students both meet rigorous requirements but only one or two positions are available the best solution is not racist preferences, but to instead hold a contest between the applicants with the winner getting the seat or you could use a lottery which is held in the physical or virtual presence of the applicants where the person drawing the names does not know who applied or whose names are in the bowl.

If this state wants to move forward with ending racist relations between the state's different ethnicities, we must reject all efforts to have race and ethnicity as a legitimate basis for admissions to public universities and employment in the public sector.

Whittier 360 on this basis opposes Proposition 16. We take this position not because we want to hold back students of color but rather we take because we fully support them and believe in their ability to stand on their own accomplishments and do not believe they should be judged on the basis of their race or ethnicity. For this has been proven by many of the local young people of color who organized and participated in the recent protests in Whittier. Many of them have proven themselves to be among the most intelligent as well as the most thoughtful in the state and possibility the entire Southwestern region of the US. They are very capable and deserve a fair shot, and all of them belong in our state's public universities. They have already earned their positions in our society and the contributions they have made should and must be recognized and to do that, they should be admitted without regard for their race or ethnicity and instead based on their performance and their exemplary contributions to their communities during this very difficult times which our community and state is going through and because they were the first to step up. We believe that Prop 16 will harm them and harm their interests and because of that we are opposing Proposition 16.

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