Affirmative Action Under Attack

Anti-affirmative action initiatives challenged

According to a study published this year by University of California, Los Angeles, college admission rates of African American and Hispanic students have declined since the ban. “UCLA and UC Berkeley have tried various other ways to reach out to minority students, including scholarships, but their admission rates have not recovered,” says Driver.

The end of affirmative action in colleges could have long-term societal effects. “If there is a decline in black, Latino, Native American students in law schools, medical schools, dental schools, business schools, you will see fewer minorities in these fields down the line,” says Driver, “which means less access to better jobs, less access to the power structure. This effort by those who oppose affirmative action is a way to defend white privilege. This has much wider ramifications.”

Hoping that Connerly’s Missouri Civil Rights Initiative will fall short of the 140,000 to 150,000 signatures it needs to appear on the ballot, several local organizations are also working to educate Missouri voters. Redditt Hudson, who heads the racial justice program in the St. Louis office of the American Civil Liberties Union, says the deck is stacked against qualified minority-owned firms in Missouri. Hudson says where affirmative action programs are absent from the local private sector, “you’ve got a minimal proportion of those contracting dollars going to minority-owned firms.”

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