April 22, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:

Glenn Landstrom, 517.643.5514

Leon Drolet, 586.321.5933

 

SCOTUS Upholds Michigan Ban on Race Preferences

Gratz Says Decision Keeps Country Moving in the Right Direction on Equality

 

NATIONAL – Today, the US Supreme Court handed down its decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The Court upheld Michigan’s constitutional ban on race and gender-based affirmative action policies. Jennifer Gratz, CEO of the XIV Foundation and the woman who spearheaded the voter initiative that banned race preferences, expected this outcome but was relieved nonetheless by the Court’s decision.

 

Ms. Gratz expressed optimism about the future of equality in America. “Much progress has been made over the past 15 years in challenging discriminatory policies based on race preferences and moving toward colorblind government,” Gratz stated. “Today’s ruling preserves this foundation and is a clear signal that states are moving in the right direction when they do away with policies that treat people differently based on race, gender, ethnicity or skin color.”

 

Nearly seven years ago in 2006, Michigan voters passed the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) by a margin of 58 to 42 percent. This initiative made it unconstitutional for the state to “discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any group or individual on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.” Seven other states have passed similar measures.

 

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The XIV Foundation is dedicated to the principle that equal treatment is the essence of civil rights and that all people are entitled to civil rights. Jennifer Gratz challenged racial discrimination in the admissions policy at the University of Michigan and won at the U.S. Supreme Court (Gratz v. Bollinger). She spearheaded the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and is the co-founder and CEO of the XIV Foundation.

In case you haven’t noticed, government obsession with race-based policies produces some bizarre side effects:

 

  1. Administrators and bureaucrats appoint themselves the arbiters of which groups deserve special treatment and which deserve discrimination (here).

  2. National leaders and political campaigns act like people with the same skin color all have the same background, think the same, and support the same causes (here).

  3. Universities champion diversity through colorful brochures, while encouraging tedious thought uniformity (here).

  4. Student activists complain about stigmatization but demand racial or gender quotas that lead to increased stigmatization (here).

  5. Awkward questions like, “What are you?” become standard icebreakers on government forms and applications (here).

  6. Schools like the University of Michigan decide checking the “multi-racial” box doesn’t count toward diversity statistics (here).

  7. Pundits insist people shouldn’t complain about being personally harmed by discrimination as long as their racial or gender “group” was benefited (here).

  8. Diversity is considered important only when it increases participation of favored minority categories (here).

  9. Schools are pressured to use race-based disciplinary standards to ensure punishment is distributed proportionally to each ethnic group, regardless of individual misconduct (here).

  10. Radical groups argue that the protections of the 14th Amendment only apply to some Americans (here).

 

It’s time to end the charade. Government has a terrible record discriminating and reducing unique individuals to mere categories and groups. Every American deserves better than this.

 

I am greatly encouraged by the example of Californians standing up to the recent attempt by state politicians to overturn Prop 209 and reinstate race-based affirmative action. We need more citizens willing to stand up for equal treatment for all!

 

- Jennifer Gratz

April 17, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Glenn Landstrom

Phone: 517-643-5514

E-mail: glandstrom@xivfoundation.org

 

Rejected UMich Applicant Challenged to Affirmative Action Debate

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Jennifer Gratz is publicly challenging Brooke Kimbrough to a debate over race-based college admissions. Ms. Kimbrough is the black high school student protesting the University of Michigan’s rejection of her application by insisting her skin color should give her an advantage over other applicants. Ms. Gratz, in contrast, successfully sued the University of Michigan in 2003 for employing unconstitutional race-based acceptance criteria.

 

After the US Supreme Court ruled in Gratz’s favor, she spearheaded a successful state constitutional amendment in Michigan that banned public institutions from treating citizens differently based on race. Gratz now heads the XIV Foundation, which advocates for equal treatment under the law.

 

“Ms. Kimbrough has publicly demanded that the University should discriminate against other applicants in order to accommodate her demand for preferential treatment based on her skin color,” Gratz noted. “Her very public position contrasts with that of voters who adopted a ban on racial policies in 2006. I hope Ms. Kimbrough is willing to let Michiganders consider her position on this issue in a debate.”

 

Although Kimbrough is a member of her school’s championship debate team who reportedly recently won the Urban Debate National Championship Tournament in Washington, Gratz recognizes that Kimbrough is young and, therefore, is open to having a member of the organization supporting Kimbrough’s protest – By Any Mean Necessary – participate with Kimbrough in the debate.

 

“Citizens are confronted with two paths in our society: Kimbrough wants skin color to determine outcomes, I want race to not be a factor in jobs, contracts or public policy,” Gratz stated. “I hope Ms. Kimbrough is willing to meet in an organized and civil debate sponsored by a media organization so that citizens have the chance to hear both visions and decide for themselves what is fair and just.”

 

Gratz is publicly calling on Kimbrough to contact either an appropriate media outlet or contact the XIV Foundation to arrange the debate.

 

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The XIV Foundation is dedicated to the principle that equal treatment is the essence of civil rights and that all people are entitled to civil rights.

Last week we highlighted two Michigan public school districts that were found to have teachers union contracts that flout the state’s constitutional ban on discriminatory policies.

 

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy just revealed three more districts that include clear race-based hiring provisions in their teachers union contracts — Ann Arbor, Oak Park, and Kalamazoo. Ann Arbor even lays out the “mutual goal to assign at least two African-American classroom teachers to each building.” A recent study found that up to 60 percent of union contracts in Michigan’s largest school districts could have such illegal provisions in them.

 

The fact that these contracts are so blatant about prioritizing skin color in the hiring and assigning process is stunning. It tells you that these unions are not looking out for students, the constitution, or even qualified teachers.

 

Aside from being deeply unfair, these provisions puts school districts, administrators, and teachers between a rock and a hard place. While union officials have negotiated race preferences into teacher contracts, the state constitution expressly prohibits such discrimination in public employment, education, or contracting. If you are in one of these districts, do you adhere to your contract or your constitution?

 

Since voters overwhelmingly passed the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, district administrators have repeatedly said they will do everything in their power to make race a priority in hiring while “following the law.”

 

Well, the law specifically bars them from considering race in their hiring decisions. School districts should remove these illegal provisions and stop treating hard-working teachers like racial tokens!

 

Have you experienced the unfair use of race in hiring or admissions? We want to hear your story! Please contact us at info@xivfoundation.org or follow us on Facebook.

 

- Jennifer Gratz, CEO

Can a public school district adopt a policy that favors hiring and promoting non-Christian teachers over Christian ones? Or a policy specifically favoring hiring female teachers over men?

 

The Ferndale Public School District in Michigan thinks it can, while also discriminating based on race and ethnicity. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based free market think tank, uncovered these anti-Christian and race-based policies during a review of public school contracts with teachers’ unions.

 

Ferndale’s religious, gender and racial hiring policies violate both federal and state constitutional provisions and laws. Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 that specifically bans public institutions from discriminating against employees and applicants based on race and gender. Both federal and state provisions prohibit religious discrimination.

 

Ferndale is not alone in flouting the law. The Mackinac Center uncovered similar illegal racial provisions in Michigan’s Mount Clemens School District. For every district that expressly violates Michigan’s constitution in writing, there are likely many others that do so under the table without explicit contract provisions.

 

This lingering urge to discriminate has been seen throughout the country and is yet another reason why a strong ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action is so crucial. The Court’s ruling will determine whether it is permissible for states to ban race and gender preferences in public hiring, contracting and public education.

 

The Supreme Court needs to send a clear message that it is not only constitutional for states to end these policies but also that it is decidedly the right direction for the country. For far too long public officials and administrators have ignored this reality and have sought to preserve ugly discrimination and stale race-based ways of judging unique individuals.

 

I believe we are at a crossroads. We can choose to step backward and allow our government to classify us based on our skin color, doling out preferences to some while discriminating against others. Or we can choose to move toward that great dream of colorblind government, where we are judged not based on the color of our skin but on our character and our merit.

 

Eight states have already chosen the direction of colorblind government. I am confident the Court will uphold Michigan’s constitutional amendment and confirm that these states are moving in the right direction.

 

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Court has yet another opportunity to uphold true equality – equal treatment for all regardless of skin color.

 

- Jennifer Gratz, CEO

“War is peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” - 1984

 

George Orwell wrote prolifically about the political manipulation of language to obfuscate truth and deny reality. We see this type of deceptive rhetoric throughout the realm of politics today, especially when it comes to issues involving race and equality.

 

The recent attempt by California legislators to reinstitute race and gender preferences in public education provides some glaring examples.

 

Private citizens mobilized an unexpected wave of grassroots support for the right of every citizen to be treated equally through colorblind policies that judge character and merit, not superficial factors like race or ethnic background. For this they were lambasted by media that supports race preference policies for pursuing “narrow group interests.”

 

In the eyes of identity politics, not wanting to be treated differently for having the “wrong” skin color is a narrow group interest.

 

Another example comes from a joint statement released by California’s black and Latino legislative caucuses in response to the defeat of SCA 5. In it they blame the measure’s demise on “a malicious disinformation campaign being waged by disingenuous ultra-conservative partisans intent on denying equal opportunity for all Californians.”

 

First of all, anyone who knows anything about the nature of the protest movement should know that the “ultra-conservative partisan” claim is laughable. But more importantly, the denial of “equal opportunity” — separate admissions standards based on race — is exactly what proponents of SCA 5 were attempting to reinstate.

 

This is the same line of reasoning used by our opponents in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. They argued before the Supreme Court that equal treatment is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause and the 14th Amendment only applies to certain racial groups.

 

Finally, universities across the country publicly boast of a deep commitment to diversity. They spend lavishly to manufacture desired racial statistics and produce colorful brochures. Yet when it comes to real diversity — diversity of thought, background, perspective, and political views — they prefer tedious uniformity.

 

Inequality is equality. Colorblind is discrimination. Uniformity is diversity.

 

These are the slogans of deception we are battling in the fight to end the corrosive, Orwellian pollution of identity politics.

 

Every day more Americans are waking up to the reality that people are more than skin color and that the only way to foster colorblind society is through equal treatment under the law.

 

The XIV Foundation is working hard, along with many others, to make this a reality.

 

- Jennifer Gratz, CEO

March 19, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Glenn Landstrom

Phone: 517-643-5514

E-mail: glandstrom@xivfoundation.org

 

Ferndale Public Schools’ Race, Gender Discrimination Violates Michigan Constitution

 

Ferndale Public Schools in Oakland County, MI have extended a contract with the teachers union that specifies promotion policies in clear violation of Michigan’s constitutional ban on discrimination and preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity or gender.

 

Article 10.3 of the contract deals with filling vacant positions and states,

 

“Special consideration shall be given to women and/or minority defined as: Native American, Asian American, Latino, African American and those of the non-Christian faith.”

 

Michigan constitutionally banned public institutions from discriminating or granting preferences based on race and gender when voters overwhelmingly approved Proposal 2 of 2006, known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. The contract language discriminating against Christian applicants almost certainly violates other state and federal prohibitions against religious discrimination.

 

“Public school administrators and union officials should be well aware that racial discrimination, or discrimination against peoples’ gender or religion, is both illegal and immoral. No teacher or applicant in Ferndale should feel like a second-class citizen because of his or her ethnicity or religious views,” said Jennifer Gratz, CEO of the XIV Foundation, a national nonprofit opposed to race and gender discrimination policies. “This illegal and demeaning policy is a hornet’s nest of lawsuits waiting to happen. The Michigan Attorney General should immediately require Ferndale Schools to comply with state and federal laws banning such blatant and ugly discriminatory policies.”

 

The illegal provision in the Ferndale Schools’ contract was first reported by Michigan Capitol Confidential, a news service provided by the Midland, MI based Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

 

The contract can be found here (link to: http://www.ferndaleschools.org/administration/links/transparency/FEA_contract_%2009-12.pdf).

 

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The XIV Foundation is dedicated to the principle that equal treatment is the essence of civil rights and that all people are entitled to civil rights. Jennifer Gratz challenged racial discrimination in the admissions policy at the University of Michigan and won at the U.S. Supreme Court (Gratz v. Bollinger). She spearheaded the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and is the founder and CEO of the XIV Foundation.

On Monday, California Assembly Speaker John Pérez announced that he would withdraw from consideration a proposed measure to overturn the state’s ban on race and gender preferences in education. Just two months ago, SCA-5 passed out of the Senate with a supermajority; now it is dead in the water.

 

This shocking turnaround is entirely due to a wave of grassroots opposition from the Asian American community and many others who stood up for true equality, not separate standards based on skin color. In just a month’s time, private citizens mobilized tens of thousands to sign petitions, write educational materials, send letters, make calls, hold protests, and host town hall events.

 

The many individuals who contacted the XIV Foundation about this issue echoed common concerns. They didn’t want their children to feel the sting of discrimination because of race-based policies. They believed everyone should have the right to be treated equally based on character and merit, not superficial factors like race.

 

Politicians and bureaucrats are too eager to reduce unique individuals to racial categories and groups who are forced to compete for special preferences and handouts. They choose to ignore the vast (but often silent) majority of Americans who oppose divisive policies like these and eagerly desire to move beyond stale, race-obsessed thinking..

 

The fight for colorblind government is far from over. But when citizens make such an effective call for equal treatment, it’s hard for anyone (especially politicians) to ignore!

 

- Jennifer Gratz, CEO

March 17, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Glenn Landstrom

Phone: 517-643-5514

E-mail: glandstrom@xivfoundation.org

 

Citizen Rallies Halt Return to Race Preferences in California

Gratz Praises Individuals for Defending True Equality

 

NATIONAL – On Monday, California Assembly Speaker John Pérez announced that he would withdraw from consideration a proposed measure to overturn the state’s ban on race and gender preferences in education. Just two months ago, this bill (titled SCA-5) passed out of the Senate with a supermajority; now it is dead in the water. Jennifer Gratz, CEO of the XIV Foundation, attributed this dramatic turnaround to a wave of grassroots opposition.

 

“In just a month’s time, private citizens mobilized tens of thousands to sign petitions, write educational materials, send letters, make calls, hold rallies, and host town hall events – all because they were passionate about the right of every person to be treated equally when applying for education.”

 

Gratz noted that many individuals contacted the XIV Foundation echoing common concerns. “They didn’t want their children to feel the sting of discrimination because of race-based policies. They believed everyone should have the right to be treated equally based on character and merit, not superficial factors like race.”

 

“Politicians and bureaucrats are too eager to reduce unique individuals to racial categories and groups who are forced to compete for special preferences and handouts. They choose to ignore the vast (but often silent) majority of Americans who oppose divisive policies like these and eagerly desire to move beyond stale, race-obsessed thinking.”

 

“The fight for colorblind government is far from over,” insisted Gratz. “But when citizens make such an effective call for equal treatment, it’s hard for anyone – especially politicians – to ignore!”

 

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The XIV Foundation is dedicated to the principle that equal treatment is the essence of civil rights and that all people are entitled to civil rights. Jennifer Gratz challenged racial discrimination in the admissions policy at the University of Michigan and won at the U.S. Supreme Court (Gratz v. Bollinger). She spearheaded the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and is the founder and CEO of the XIV Foundation.

Several months ago, the Heritage Foundation asked me to write a piece about stories of real people harmed by race-based affirmative action. As you know, this is one of main goals of the XIV Foundation — to share personal stories that reveal the true cost of discriminatory policies — and I was excited to partner with them in this endeavor.

 

This work was published by Heritage last week and is titled, “Discriminating Toward Equality: Affirmative Action and the Diversity Charade.” Here are a few of the featured stories:

 

Ashley graduated high school when she was 16-years-old with a 4.3 GPA and a 32 on the ACT. Despite her achievements, she was terrified of ever having a bad day or answering a question incorrectly in class. She feared that her peers would think she got there because she happened to be black.

 

David desperately wanted to attend the elite college in his neighborhood but was turned down, despite excellent grades, because as an Asian student the application process held him to a much higher standard. Racial discrimination forced him to choose between taking care of his immobile grandmother and moving out-of-state to further his education.

 

Katuria overcame crippling poverty and immense personal obstacles to graduate from college and apply to law school at the University of Washington. She would have been automatically accepted if she had been a “preferred” minority; instead, she happened to be white and was automatically rejected. Even her incredible story of struggling past poverty and a difficult childhood was not enough to overcome separate standards based on race.

 

It is easy to engage this subject in the realm of laws, statistics, and court cases, but the real people who are adversely affected by these policies are often overlooked. These stories reveal the hidden consequences of efforts to equalize outcomes and manufacture “diversity.”

 

The XIV Foundation is currently monitoring two important cases pending in the courts that will impact the future of race preferences across the country: Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action at the Supreme Court, and Fisher v. University of Texas at the Fifth Circuit. We expect rulings in both of these cases over the next couple of months.

 

But even if the Supreme Court decided today that racial preferences are unconstitutional, these policies would linger because public officials and school administrators, often well-meaning, continue to support them. In fact, they will continue to stain policy decisions until individuals are confronted with the moral and practical costs of treating people differently based on skin color and public opinion has overwhelmingly and undeniably turned against the practice.

 

The XIV Foundation is committed to making this a reality by equipping individuals with the courage to tell their own story and providing a platform for their stories to be heard.

 

I am grateful for the Heritage Foundation’s support in this work.

 

- Jennifer Gratz, CEO