By David A. Love
Published by The Black Commentator
January 31, 2008
“Supporting segregation need not be racist. One can believe in segregation and believe in equality of the races.”- Ward Connerly, on CNN’s “Wolf Blitzer Reports,” Dec. 13, 2002
Ward Connerly, that high profile opponent for affirmative action and Black water carrier for the new Jim Crow, has returned. He wants to eliminate affirmative action everywhere, and make a buck at the same time. And with the help of corporate philanthropy and hate groups, he wants to take us back to the future we know too well.
Connerly is plotting and planning for what he calls a Super Tuesday for Equal Rights. The purpose of his campaign is to promote ballot initiatives throughout the country that would eliminate tax dollars to affirmative action programs based on race and gender. Following similar initiatives in
Although the anti-affirmative action forces seek to eliminate public funding of diversity based on gender as well as race, thereby harming White women as well, it is the so-called “racial preferences” that stick in the minds of people. Part of the time-tested Southern Strategy, anti-diversity campaigns is to appeal to disaffected Whites, who will act against their own interests, if it means the elimination of programs they believe are unfairly benefiting Black and Brown folks.
Destroying the King Legacy is Profitable
So, what’s in it for Connerly? The dollars, of course. Apparently, there is much money to be made in dismantling the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, and Connerly is first in line to get paid.
In 1993, he was given a platform by California Gov. Pete Wilson with a seat on the California Board of Regents. Soon, he became a crusader against all that is important to Black people. That crusade was made possible through the support of extreme right-wing corporate philanthropy and alliances with White supremacist hate groups. Certainly, behind every puppet there is a puppet master who controls the strings, and Ward Connerly is no exception.
In 1996, Connerly, himself a beneficiary of affirmative action through a
The Equal Justice Society reports that in 2003, based on IRS records, Connerly received $1 million in compensation for his anti-civil rights efforts at ACRI and ACRC. This does not include compensation he received as CEO of Connerly & Associates, his Sacramento-based real estate business.
The group Media Transparency has detailed the bankrolling of Ward Connerly’s segregationist operations by the Bradley, Olin and Scaife Foundations. When he was unwilling to disclose the funding sources of his failed Proposition 54 - which would have prevented
White Supremacist Support for Anti-Affirmative Action Efforts
If people are judged by the company they keep, then history will not show kindness to Connerly and the foes of civil rights. In his successful campaign to eliminate affirmative action in
The CCC, a White supremacist organization, descended from the White Citizens’ Councils of the Jim Crow era and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The CCC, which has made the issue of non-White immigration a top priority, has declared
Connerly, who supports segregation, welcomed the support of White racist groups in his fight against affirmative action. “If the Ku Klux Klan thinks that equality is right, God bless them,” said Connerly. “Thank them for finally reaching the point where logic and reason are being applied, instead of hate.”
Dishonoring the movement
Conservatives will point to individuals such as Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly and others who are viewed as “brave” and “courageous” for bucking the Black establishment and taking unpopular views. But there is no bravery in what Connerly does, which is to cynically misappropriate Dr. King’s vision for a colorblind society, in order to strike a blow against the nation’s civil rights protections.
There is no honor in desecrating the graves of the truly courageous martyrs, those such as Viola Liuzzo, a mother of five from
A Return to Jim Crow
Years later, what we are witnessing is a concerted effort to bring the country back to the old times, at a time when the nation is becoming increasingly diverse, increasingly Black and Brown. In the absence of mandated diversity programs, the country will revert to de facto segregation.
Some people yearn for the days of exclusion and privilege, when universities maintained a quota of zero for Blacks, a rigid quota for nonwhites, Jews and others, and a place for women - in the home.
The sentiment against diversity is best characterized by President A. Lawrence Lowell of Harvard, who, in not allowing a Black student to live in the freshman dorms in 1922, told him, “I am sure you will understand why, from the beginning, we have not thought it possible to compel men of different races to reside together.”
Voices of the new segregation, like the old voices of Jim Crow, are having a chilling effect on democratic tendencies in
One group, The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, is a leader in the struggle to save civil rights and diversity programs in higher education. But groups such as BAMN cannot do it alone. People of goodwill must join together in creating a country that embraces diversity. The alternative is to allow a victory for Ward Connerly, Fox News, the Heritage Foundation and the Klan.