Letters to the Editor: The case against affirmative action in California and Prop. 16

Black Lives Matter protesters march on the Huntington Beach pier this month over the deaths of George Floyd and others.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Your editorial in favor of Proposition 16 argues that because “the U.S. isn’t a meritocracy” California should abandon its race-neutral law. Let’s see if that makes sense to readers.

The U.S. isn’t a meritocracy, therefore the L.A. Kings should be compelled to have a roster that’s racially balanced — for fairness.

The U.S. isn’t a meritocracy, therefore the state bar exam should be junked and admission based on “fair” racial quotas.

The U.S isn’t a meritocracy, therefore the L.A. Philharmonic should stop using blind auditions when it fills openings and instead choose musicians so that all groups will be fairly represented.


Would The Times’ editors like those results?

Maybe the U.S. isn’t a perfect meritocracy, but it doesn’t follow that we should move in the opposite direction, as will be the case if the state abandons the racial neutrality of Prop. 209.

George Leef, Raleigh, NC


To the editor: Proposition 16 would reinstate affirmative action programs in public institutions for California. In your editorial you advocate a “yes” vote on Proposition 16. Quoting your editorial: “We believe that everyone benefits from a society in which institutions that train future leaders in business, law and the sciences are racially diverse. . . .”

I disagree: Not everyone benefits. Under affirmative action, candidates who are more qualified for the job, award or college acceptance are unfairly disqualified. They do not benefit.

As a lifelong liberal Democrat, I believe in the holistic attempt to promote racial, age and gender diversity. And if I could count on affirmative action being implemented only as a tie-breaker, I would support it. But allowing weaker, less-qualified candidates to leapfrog over more qualified candidates is simply unfair.

Fairness must be preferred over any social aim — even the most laudable.


Wesley S. White, Whittier