In 1996 Prop. 209 became the first major electoral test of Affirmative Action in America, winning by a popular vote of 54% to 45% in California. It amended the state’s constitution to prohibit state governmental institutions from considering race, sex or ethnicity specifically in the areas of public employment, public contracting, and public education. (University of California and California State Universities.)
With Prop. 209 Asian-Americans represent 33% of admissions to the University of California Colleges and California State University System. Removing Prop. 209 would lower that number to just 12% (the same as the percent of the California population that is Asian-American.) The workplace will see a similar effect. Due to an incredible movement by Asian-Americans in 2014, the removal was tabled. But we know they will try again.
On August 3, 2017 Congressman Ro Khanna sent a press release expressing his disappointment that Prop. 209 had not been overturned.
“Last year the Supreme Court upheld a decades-long precedent that recognizes affirmative action on college campuses. It is disheartening to see Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice take steps to reverse policies that bring diversity to our educational institutions and gives students a fair shot at achieving their dreams. Diversity in our communities and in our schools must be supported, not struck down, to do otherwise threatens the democratic ideas of our nation.”
20 years ago I came to America in search of a great education. I know that most Asian-Americans and Indian-Americans that immigrate to this country believe in an open and free system in which caste or religion is not considered in college admission.
Prop 209 was a defeat the Democrats did not take easily and they spent years trying to defeat or modify it. In 2012, the Democrats in the State Senate tried to revise Prop. 209 to allow ethnicity (among other factors) to be considered in California State Public Admissions; a complete reversal of Prop. 209.
Of course I’m running for Congress… so while Affirmative Action remains an important debate at the national and state level the true issue here is in fact that this is one of many “Flip Flops” we have seen from Congressman Ro Khanna.
As he advocated against Prop. 209 and in favor of university affirmative action in 2017, it was as recent as 2016 (See Epoch Times 9/15/16) that he was publicly against it stating…
“I’m opposed to them. We can’t have quotas. I’m very sympathetic that we need to give more African and Latino students opportunities to get an education, but we can’t have quotas against Asian people.”
Khanna supported Prop. 209 when he first ran for CD-17 in 2014 capitalizing on the anti-affirmative action members of the Asian-American community that found its political “sea legs” with this issue. It was politically expedient at that time. Now that he’s elected he’s hoping nobody will notice.
Let me be clear, I wholeheartedly oppose anything that minimizes competition and success as the key admissions requirement to our esteemed state school system. I most certainly oppose it in the business world as well.
Most important, my position today… will be the same in two years after I’ve been elected to the United States Congress.
America is the land of opportunity… but you have to earn it and work hard for it. Let’s make our schools the best they can be. Let’s strengthen our K-12 in all areas of the state so that every student graduating High School has a great education, and so that all students are equally experienced when it comes to that special time in their lives in which they apply to college.
I’ve lived the American Dream and will do all I can to assure everyone has that opportunity. Outstanding and fair education practices are a huge part of that.
I’d be honored by your support.
Candidate, United States House of Representatives
California Congressional District 17