According to the American Civil Rights Institute, the overall purpose of the initiative drive in several states is “to make it unconstitutional for state and local governments to discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any group or individual on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public contracting, and public education” [text in bold–emphasis mine].
While language for the actual proposal is not available, a similar proposal in Michigan is clear that the initiative does not hinder Michigan’s ability to receive federal funds through federal contracts as the federal government has an affirmative action plan under Executive Order 11246. Examine Michigan’s proposal 2 (clause 4 on page 6).
The language that I have placed in bold in the first paragraph looks innocuous, but it essentially removes the state’s ability to combating discrimination against people who are not in the racial majority. This would be a good idea if there were equal numbers of people through all racial groups and societal power was shared equally in the United States.
Sadly, that has not been and is not the case. Throughout the history of the United States, all 43 Presidents have been White males. The Congress has super-majorities of Whites. The states have had three Black governors in the history of the United States (P. B. S. Pinchback (La.), Doug Wilder (Va.), and Deval Patrick (Ma.)). The rest of state governments in the United States are dominated by Whites.
The ACRI’s initiative proposals in several states seek to enforce “colorblindness” in a society that favors the majority White race. The problem is that overt discrimination is not favored in society, but there is no barrier against subtle discrimination against a non-majority group. In the end, these proposals will work to the detriment of non-White people in the areas of public employment, public contracting, and public education.
Again, these proposals are not necessary because Whites already possess a solid social majority both in the United States as a whole and in the individual states.
A post script: What the initiative drive proposes is not new. A similar drive occurred during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. The Brennan Center has an eye-opening report here.