EEOC Official Discusses the Post-209 Era
By Jacquie Frost, Public Affairs
The admissions proposal before the UC Regents this week -- to make the top 4 percent at every California high school eligible for UC -- should be adopted, but such programs won't erase the damage done by Proposition 209, said Paul Igasaki, vice chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, at a March 15 forum at the Goldman School of Public Policy.
In a discussion of civil rights and affirmative action in the post-Proposition 209 era, Igasaki said universities needed to consider a wide range of criteria in the admissions process, including economic diversity.
"But economics is not a proxy for race," Igasaki said. "Just ask any upper-middle class African American if he has ever experienced racism. Race is one of the defining features of who we are in this society. A public institution needs to serve the whole community."
The first Asian to serve in the upper echelons of the EEOC, Igasaki said he strongly supports affirmative in the classroom as well as the workplace. He argued that as our nation continues to grow more diverse, it's crucial that our institutions -- schools, courts, public agencies and workplaces -- reflect that diversity.
Prior to his appointment with the EEOC, Igasaki was executive director of the Asian Law Caucus, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization.