The controversy over this charge — which is probably false — is instructive.
Here's the Seattle Times editorial reaction:
At a Monday campaign event, a McGinn supporter, former state Rep. Velma Veloria, described Murray as secretly dismissive of a 1998 bill which supported affirmative action, believing "women and minorities had achieved equal rights."
The story has an odd ring because Murray publicly signed onto that bill and campaigned against the anti-affirmative action Initiative 200 in1998. Other fellow lawmakers dismiss the story as baloney. But the allegation has spread nonetheless, in news coverage and in Facebook comments suggesting hidden racism.
To understand that controversy, you should know that, in 1998, Washington passed a straightforward civil rights initiative, I-200. Here are the key words from the initiative.
The state 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.
It passed easily, with more than 58 percent of the vote, statewide. It won in every part of the state, except Seattle.
The Seattle Times and most Washington state Democrats opposed the initiative, since, by their standards, favoring equal treatment of the races is wrong, possibly even racist. And I assume, though they don't say so in the editorial, that favoring equal treatment of the sexes would be sexist.
So, if Ed Murray secretly favored it, that would make him a racist, and probably a sexist, too — by Seattle standards. (It is true that he likes women less than most men do.)
Sometimes I think no one at our local monopoly newspaper has a sense of irony.
Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.
(During the I-200 campaign, we learned some interesting things about the beneficiaries of preferences. The principal beneficiaries of preferences in contracting turned out to be white women, and since they were contractors we can assume they were, at the very least, well-off white women. (It is likely that white men were the second biggest group benefiting from those contracting preferences. Washington is a community property state, so many women already owned 50 percent of their husband's contracting businesses. As you can see, it wouldn't take much to make them the majority owners. Men lucky enough to have daughters would also have an easy way to create a business that was majority women owned.)
Japanese-Americans were treated inconsistently; they were beneficiaries of preferences in contracting, but not in college and university admissions.)Posted by Jim Miller at October 04, 2013 01:36 PM | Email This