The Right Coast

February 18, 2006
UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Faculty Members Continue to Lament that the Voters Didn't Agree with Them and Enlist Students to Help Them Reverse Prop. 209
By Gail Heriot

From the course offerings (as quoted in California Patriot Blog):

Ethnic Studies 198: The Prop. 209 Project
Co-Instructors: Professor David Montejano, Ethnic Studies; Professor Taeku Lee,
Political Science
Time: Tuesday 4-6 PM (first class meets on January 24)
Location: Shorb House Conference Room, 2547 Channing Way @ Bowditch
Number of Units: 2
Course Enrollment: 12
Requirements: Students must have completed a minimum of 60 units.
Course Description: In the 1990s, California voters passed a series of “anti-diversity” referenda-the “anti-immigrant” Prop. 187 in 1994, the “anti-affirmative action” Prop. 209 in 1996, and the “anti-bilingual education” Prop. 227 in 1998. Many have interpreted these results as a backlash against the rapid demographic changes taking place in the State. In this research seminar, we will examine this hypothesis-and also speculate about possible antidotes. Taking Prop. 209 as our chief case study, we will explore the various facets that made this campaign a successful one, including looking at the weaknesses of the “pro-affirmative action” campaign. In the first part of the course, you will map out the likely geography of anti-diversity, pro-diversity and swing districts in the State. In the second part of the course, you will use this analysis to craft a political strategy for a successful “pro-diversity” initiative in the State. What kind of voter turnouts would be necessary, what kind of campaign would have to be mounted, what “framings” of affirmative action policies are most likely to succeed, what contextual factors have to be in place, and so forth? This second part of the class will allow for considerable creativity on your part. Projects will be evaluated on an individual basis. A presentation of each project will take place at the end of the semester.