John Hood: Voters would end racial preferences


RALEIGH — The University of North Carolina systemically discriminates by race and ethnicity in student admissions and faculty hiring. Arguably such behavior is already forbidden by federal and state law. Now a group of state lawmakers has proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would eliminate all doubt on the matter.

Senate Bill 729 is admirably brief. Here’s the pivotal paragraph: “The State and its political subdivisions, including the free public schools and public institutions of higher education, shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

This is the proper policy for a free and just society. It is also broadly supported by the general public. That’s why defenders of racial preferences will fight tooth and nail to keep the issue away from voters. That’s why they call it a “ban on affirmative action,” which it most assuredly is not.

I guess I should explain that the anti-discrimination amendment in question was proposed by a Republican, Senate leader Phil Berger, and has attracted only Republican sponsors to date. They believe, correctly, that no agency of state government should take race or other extraneous factors into account when hiring public employees or determining access to public services.


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