Amendment 46 is one of the more controversial Amendments on the Colorado ballot this year. It acts to “prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in employment, public education, or public contracting.” This amendment sounds like a civil rights movement, prohibiting discrimination of any person in the hiring process, but many argue that it would further discrimination. Those against amendment 46 argue that minorities and women would suffer. As of recent polls, amendment 46 seems to be supported by Coloradans. In fact, one poll shows that more democrats support the amendment than republicans, but it is argued that this is because of the language used to describe the amendment. A lot of supporters think that for the most part we are past discrimination, and that a person should be hired based on their qualifications. Is this true? Are we at a place where we can abolish affirmative action programs, and still reach equality?
One could argue that we have made many milestones for equality among minorities and women. Take for instance Obama who is about to become president of the United States, and Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin who ran in this election. Supporters also argue that giving people preferential treatment based on their gender, race, ethnicity, color or national origin discriminates against people who are qualified. They argue that qualifications should be the deciding factor for job hiring or getting accepted into a university. In recent reporting’s, females have outnumbered men in undergraduate and graduate programs. Women are also increasingly graduating at higher rates than men, and causing some colleges to consider establishing affirmative action programs for men. If we once created these programs for women, and are now considering them for men, it would appear we are moving in circles.
Still, arguments against amendment 46 are that women and minorities are still discriminated against and need these programs to reach equality. Findings are that although minorities have made progress in the strife for equality they are still enrolling in college at lower rates than their white peers, suggesting that we may not be ready to get rid of affirmative action programs. People against this amendment cite that California and Washington who have both passed amendments like 46, have seen a decrease of minorities and women enrolling in college, and a decrease in business opportunities. Furthermore, they argue that this would decrease diversity that so many value in college communities, and would put outreach programs and summer and after school programs at risk.
So are we still a long way from equality? Does the support of this amendment further discrimination? Although we have made a lot of progress, there is obviously still more to be made, and unfortunately discrimination will probably always be an issue. One things for sure, arguments on both sides are both about achieving one thing: equality