Ward Connerly fools you into dismantling affirmative action, again

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

The latest issue of Ms. Magazine, which hits newsstands today, has an interesting investigative report on Ward Connerly. It’s definitely worth a read.

(Those of you who have been with this blog since the Mixed Media Watch days may remember a regular feature we used to do called Ward Watch, in which we would affectionately refer to him “Moneybags”.)

Who’s Ward Connerly? Well, he’s a self-identified multiracial man who has made millions over the years by helping right-wing interests dismantle affirmative action.

Only he’s managed to do it by pretending to advance the rights of people of color. Like when he tried to fool multiracial organizations into supporting his initiative to do away with all racial classification (which would, not coincidentally, make it impossible to track racial discrimination).

Next week, on Super Tuesday, he’s trying to get anti-affirmative action ballot measures passed in five different states. Only in his usual sneaky way, he’s naming them “civil rights initiatives” to trick people into voting for them.

Don’t be fooled, people. Read on for excerpts from the Ms. Magazine piece:

Now, in what he is calling “Super Tuesday for Equal Rights,” Connerly is leading simultaneous efforts in five states to qualify ballot measures for the November election, each claiming to prohibit “discrimination” and “preferential treatment.” The deceptively named “civil rights initiatives” in Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Nebraska and Oklahoma are really designed, like the California initiative, to ban affirmative action for women and minorities in public employment, public education and public contracting—although if Connerly has his way, the term “affirmative action” will never be referenced. What has never been widely reported in the coverage of Connerly’s campaigns are his ties to the large public-works contractors and construction-industry organizations that stand to benefit tremendously from eliminating programs that help level the playing field for women- and minority-owned businesses.

…An analysis of the two organizations’ IRS filings shows that between 1998 and 2006, Connerly and his business Connerly & Associates received a total of
$8.3 million—nearly half (46 percent) of the $18.5 million in total revenues reported in that period by the two nonprofits. In addition to salary and
benefits, Connerly receives expense accounts and fees for speaking, media interviews and consulting (see chart, page 38). In the last reported fiscal year,
2006, Connerly received $1.6 million— 66 percent of the $2.4 million in revenues his nonprofits generated that year.

…Connerly’s Civil Rights Initiative (CRI) campaigns use purposefully deceptive language to confuse some voters into repudiating policies they might otherwise support. Virtually all his campaigns purport to ban “discrimination and preference” on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. Even those who read the language of his initiatives with caution will not necessarily recognize a ban on discrimination or preference as a vote to end affirmative
action.

…In fact, when the city of Houston changed the wording of a Connerly initiative in that city to pose a direct question to voters about whether affirmative-action policies should be banned, the initiative lost. But when elected officials and courts allowed him to use his deceptive language in California and Washington, the initiatives passed.

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

Comments on this blog are moderated. Please read our comment moderation policy.

Use the "for:racialicious" tag in del.icio.us to send us tips. See here for detailed instructions.

Interested in writing for us? Check out our submissions guidelines.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Support Racialicious

The Octavia Butler Book Club

The Octavia Butler Book Club
(Click the book for the latest conversation)

Recent Comments

Feminism for Real – Jessica, Latoya, Andrea

Feminism for Real

Yes Means Yes – Latoya

Yes Means Yes

Sex Ed and Youth – Jessica

Youth and Sexual Health

OMLN

Online Media Legal Network

Recent Posts

Support Racialicious

Older Archives

Tags