The Color-Blind Constitution, Civil Rights-Talk, and a Multicultural Discourse for a Post-Reparations World


People keep telling me that this is historic. I guess it is historic in that we’re starting this new age of post-affirmative action. But I don’t think it’s nearly as much an act compared to the people before me who broke the color barriers the first time. Eric Brooks, Boalt Hall, Class of 2000 On November 5, 1996, California voters approved Proposition 209, which amended the California Constitution to state that “[t]he state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”‘ The new law, of course, generated immediate and aggressive litigation. In the meantime, however, it has had real effects that eerily parallel the beginning of the legal struggle over affirmative action.

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"As a matter of principle, amending the Constitution to include sex equality as a fundamental human right will send a clear public message that women are no longer to be treated as second-class citizens."