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Prop. 54 -- Is It a Threat or Essential to Progress?

September 29, 2003

Proposition 54 is a misguided and dangerous initiative masquerading as protection for the right of racial privacy. Consider that sex, like race, is a characteristic of birth. One's sex, like one's race, is a status that carries enormous societal implications for the person, and it makes sense to understand experiences within these contexts. Would people support a future proposition that forbids state agencies from collecting and reporting information on sex?

If it were illegal to collect and report information on women's health, education and other socioeconomic indicators, then we would not know the extent of discrimination experienced by women and could not begin to rectify these inequities. Such a law would paint California as ethically negligent and socially irresponsible, and that's what Proposition 54 would do as well. If you want to protect your racial privacy, it's easy: Just don't state any race when asked to. Stating your race is voluntary. We don't need Proposition 54.

David Torres

Moreno Valley

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Citizens can act to end discrimination and racial preference by California with the passage of Proposition 54. This personal information is not to be collected by any department or agency of the state -- with two exceptions: Law enforcement and health agencies will be allowed to continue this practice. Passage means each person will receive the same treatment by state agencies and departments without preference or bias based upon race. It will assure the reduction of government intrusion into our private lives, enabling each individual to pursue life without a stigma attached to individual achievements. One real positive in the passage of Proposition 54 is that it can be amended to add agencies that may collect racial data. Support equality by voting yes on Proposition 54.

Jerome Hodge

Long Beach

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