No More Melting Pot

Andy Caldwell
COLAB Executive Director, guest editorialist, and radio talk show host

One of the problems in America has to do with the fact that Democrats play chess while Republicans play checkers. What I mean by that is that Democrats often employ strategies which involve a long-term plan using multiple resources to achieve their goals. Republicans, on the other hand, tend to simply react to situations, making plays that demonstrate they have no long-term strategy and plan whatsoever.

The chess pieces the Dems patiently and relentlessly use include the activist community, a complicit media and, most important of all, our court system. For their part, the Republican Party typically only has business organizations to rely on, and that is problematic because business organizations are much afraid of getting involved in controversial matters. Hence, the activist community is typically successful in scaring the business community away when push comes to shove and, truth be told, the Republican Party then ends up running scared because nobody has their back.

A perfect example of this phenomenon as it relates to California politics was demonstrated in the passage of Senate Bill 600. SB 600 added citizenship, primary language and immigration status to the list of protected classes under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Ostensibly, the bill only applies to services rendered by businesses as it affects clients and customers. But I don’t believe that for one California minute. I believe that the long-term goal of the Legislature and activist community is to make it illegal for businesses to require English as a primary language as it affects employment practices.

The opening sentence of the Legislative Counsel’s digest of SB 600 states that “existing law finds and declares that all protections, rights, and remedies available under state law… are available to all individuals regardless of immigration status who have applied for employment, or who are or who have been employed.” The final sentence of the text of SB 600 states that “The amendment of Section 51 of the Civil Code by this act does not constitute a change in, but is declaratory of, existing law. It is not the intent of the Legislature in amending the Unruh Civil Rights Act to affect the protected status of any other classification, whether or not expressed in Section 51 of the Civil Code.” Notice the reference to “existing law” in both the opening and closing language. Just what is the Legislature referring to?

The State Senate Judiciary analysis of SB 600 clearly spells out that the Unruh Civil Rights Act is not the only law on the books when it comes to regulating businesses as it affects discriminatory practices. The judiciary analysis specifically cites and identifies the Fair Employment and Housing Act as “the existing law” prohibiting discrimination in housing and employment.

Hence, what you have here is the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. The legislature by way of SB600 adds a person’s primary language as being protected “under existing law” and patiently waits for a court case to make the connection between the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

By the way, did I mention that the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) was the primary sponsor of this piece of legislation? MALDEF’s mission in life is to sue jurisdictions as it pertains to discriminatory practices.

What I hate about this organization and others like it, including La Raza, has to do with the end results. Instead of the melting pot of e pluribus unum — out of many one — we find these organizations dividing us on matters of race, borders, language and culture. In essence, they promote the interests of one at the expense of the many.

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