It has become popular among some Blacks to turn their noses up at participation in the electoral arena. â€œThatâ€™s being part of the system,â€ they claim. â€œThatâ€™s playing the Manâ€™s game.â€ But the Oct. 7 recall election should give them pause to reconsider.
On that date, not only will Californians be asked whether to dump Governor Davis, and if so, who should rule in his place. But, Proposition 54 â€“ the so-called Racial Privacy Act â€“ one of the most racist propositions that we have seen in a long time will also be on the ballot. To ignore this election is to provide right wing ideologues with a dream come true. A chance to overturn a legal election by taking advantage of an extremely unpopular governor and to sneak into the California Constitution, an amendment that would ban the state from â€œclassifyingâ€ or collecting information on a personâ€™s race, ethnicity, color, or national origin for the purposes of public education, public contracting, public employment, and other government operations.
Ward Connerly, the politician who brought us Prop 209, which for all intents and purposes, outlawed affirmative action in
State and local governments in
Progressive organizations are not taking this sitting down, although some African Americans have expressed concern about the lower turnout expected on Oct. 7th, which would favor the Prop 54 proponents. Much of the No on 54 campaign is being coordinated by the Coalition for an Informed California (CIC), a group that embraces hundreds of civil rights, civil liberties, health groups and professionals, teacher and parent groups, labor activists, and religious and political organizations.
The CIC says that Prop 54 is dangerous, deceptive, and irresponsible. www.informedcalifornia.org â€œFrom healthcare, to education, to basic civil rights protections, banning demographic information â€“ basic vital statistics â€“ about race and ethnicity is a bad idea.
It undermines accountability.
It blinds us to real differences between racial and ethnic groups in healthcare, disease patterns, educational opportunities, and academic achievement.
It takes away from doctors, educators, scientists, and advocates powerful tools to identify and measure how well weâ€™re doing to treat, educate, and protect all Californians.
It handicaps community groups, local governments, and the state as they develop solutions to healthcare, education, and other disparities in our diverse state.â€
It will take a couple of million dollars to defeat the right on this issue. To counter a statewide initiative, one must use television ads and that takes lots of money. One creative tactic the CIC has developed is the launching of a house and dorm party campaign. CIC wants to have 1000 house parties around the country on September 3rd and 4th and throughout the month of September. The goal is for each person to have 40 people at their party give $25 each. 1000 parties @ $1000 per party = One million dollars. Others will ask for less at their house party due to less money available from their friends and families.
Behind the mask of the war against terrorism, Bush and cronies have relentlessly been implementing their reactionary domestic agenda: tax breaks for the rich, defunding social programs, the militarization of Black communities, a war economy, and erosion of civil liberties, civil rights and deregulation of environmental oversight of our natural resources and a faltering economic system that brings stressful uncertainties and a bleak future for most people.
Connerly has already taken steps to take this racist proposition to other states and people across the country are keeping their eyes on what happens in
Frances M. Beal is a political columnist for the San Francisco Bayview and a contributing editor to Black Scholar magazine. ©Frances M. Beal, Copyright,