I am a lifelong Democrat and before retirement, I had taught modern African history at California State University Chico for 40 years. I believe Proposition 16, on California’s November ballot, perpetuates ethnic and gender divisions under the guise of diversity and fairness. I urge my fellow Californians — of all political persuasions — to reject it.

If passed, Proposition 16 would repeal Proposition 209, which prohibits discrimination and preferences in public university admissions, state contracting and public employment. Supporters insist that ethnic minorities and women were harmed by this 1996 amendment to California’s state Constitution, and dismiss data that disprove this fallacy.