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Ward Connerly: The real civil rights deal

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 21, 2008 11:22 AM

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I’ve been honored to know Ward Connerly since his first days fighting against racial preferences during the Prop. 209 fight in California. His autobiography is here. Connerly has not only battled the race demagogues on the Left and the affirmative action apologists in the media, but also spineless GOP establishment leaders who would rather pander to the “diversity” lobby than fight for true equality under the law. Connerly’s American Civil Rights Institute has details of Connerly’s anti-preference legislative successes here.

Their next step? A “Super Tuesday of Equality” ballot drive in five states that has the race hustlers and open-borders types up in arms.

Via the LA Times, which can barely contain its panic:

Intent on dismantling affirmative action, activists in five states have launched a coordinated drive to cut off tax dollars for programs that offer preferential treatment based on race or gender.

The campaign aims to put affirmative action bans on the November ballot in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The effort is being organized by California consultant Ward Connerly, who has successfully promoted similar measures in California, Michigan and Washington.

Supporters of affirmative action say the initiatives will be hard to block, given that Connerly has a proven ability to raise funds and persuade voters, even in more liberal states.

“They’ve targeted states where there’s a white majority electorate and a vocal, if small, extreme anti-immigrant right wing,” said Shanta Driver, who runs By Any Means Necessary, a coalition that defends affirmative action. In such states, she said, “it’s extremely difficult for us to win.”

Connerly’s campaign — which he calls Super Tuesday for Equality — could also get a boost if the presidential ballot includes an African American or a woman. That would help him make the case, he said, that the playing field is level and minorities no longer need a hand up.

In most states, Connerly has until spring or summer to collect enough signatures to put the measures on the ballot. His allies have already submitted more than 140,000 signatures in Oklahoma. Petitions are circulating in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska. (The number of required signatures varies from about 76,000 in Colorado to about 230,000 in Arizona.)

If successful, the ballot measures would ban a broad range of programs designed to overcome the nation’s legacy of racism and discrimination.

One such program, in Tucson, treats minority- and female-owned companies as the low bidders for some construction contracts, even if their proposals come in as much as 7% higher than a bid from a firm owned by a white male rival. Academic mentoring targeted at specific groups, such as female engineering majors or Latina teens, would also be banned. The University of Colorado would have to cancel or redefine more than 100 scholarships because they award funds based on gender or race.

As he has in the past, Connerly is promoting the ballot measures as “civil rights initiatives.”

Notice how the Los Angeles Times puts “civil rights” in scare quotes when it refers to Connerly’s efforts to eliminate race-based preferences, but not when referring to “civil rights” leaders fighting tooth and nail to preserve color-coded government programs and benefits.

On this MLK holiday, while the Dems scramble to claim the civil rights mantle, it’s men like Connerly and those who have voted overwhelmingly across racial, ethnic, partisan, and gender lines for anti-preference ballot measures who are the true champions of a colorblind society.

Support ACRI here–and keep an eye on their efforts in ’08 as they continue to shake up the racial entitlement culture.

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Categories: Duke lacrosse, Feature Story, Race relations