In honor of Black History Month, today's QsOTD are from conservative Ward Connerly, known primarily for his opposition to quotas based on skin color and his legal actions to eliminate them. He is the founder and President of the American Civil Rights Institute – "a national, not-for-profit organization aimed at educating the public about the need to move beyond race and, specifically, racial and gender preferences."
He's also an author with two books to his credit: Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences and Lessons from My Uncle James: Beyond Skin Color to the Content of Our Character.
His fight against racial and gender preferences - in favor of equal opportunity - began when he was a member of the University of California Board of Regents where he successfully pushed to end the practice of using race as a means for admissions. That same year, 1995, he led an initiative in California (Proposition 209) to prohibit state government institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity, in public employment, public contracting or public education. California voters overwhelmingly approved the measure.
He then led similar initiatives in Washington, Michigan, Nebraska and Arizona.
Connerly has been recognized numerous times for his efforts and was the 2007 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Conservative Union Foundation presented at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
"If I have learned one thing from life, it is that race is the engine that drives the political Left. When all else fails, that segment of America goes to the default position of using race to achieve its objectives. In the courtrooms, on college campuses, and, most especially, in our politics, race is a central theme. Where it does not naturally rise to the surface, there are those who will manufacture and amplify it."
"There is no way to make sense of the decision handed down by the Sixth Circuit, except to say that elections have consequences. Unfortunately, in this case, the consequence is that eight judicial activists have defied the will of 58% of the Michigan electorate to embrace the continuation of race preferences - a paradigm that is being discredited with every passing day, except in the eyes of die-hard preference proponents. And, if our study of race in America teaches any lesson at all it is that justice cannot be denied forever. The ghost of George Wallace, who said "segregation now, segregation forever," can certainly confirm this fact."
The Civil Rights Act “guarantees to all Americans equal treatment under the law, not preferential treatment. There’s no question that affirmative action represents preferential treatment.”
“Race preferences, while they might have been justified at some point in time, have outlived their usefulness and they’re beginning to reverse their effect. We’ve got to get rid of race preferences.”
"When I became a regent of the University of California in 1993, I became a “public official.” And, when I elected to publicly share my conviction that the use of race and ethnicity in college admissions was morally wrong and unconstitutional, not only did I become a public official, I became a marked man subject to an endless stream of abuse and venomous conduct."
"I knew and worked for Ronald Reagan and considered him to be one of the most avid proponents of a colorblind society of any public official I have ever encountered. Reagan eschewed the practice of pandering to individuals based on their “race” in order to get their vote. He strongly opposed race-based affirmative action preferences and was not shy about publicly defending such a position."
"...the principle of equal treatment under the law has given way to the more amorphous concept of “diversity,” which I consider to be the antithesis of a merit-based, colorblind government."
"One fact is indisputable: the centerpiece of American life is a set of basic ideals upon which the nation was founded and to which circumstances occasionally conspire to require our defense of that system. These ideals are relatively few if we think about it. First and foremost is our system of freedom. I would contend that we place no other value above the right to be free. We will die for our freedom. In fact, we believe freedom is sufficiently important that we will even die so that others around the globe might be free.
"Second is the system of capitalism. We are a capitalistic society dedicated to the principle of individual merit and a belief that individuals should be rewarded economically for their individual efforts.
"The third leg of this stool is the ideal of individual equality. To be a capitalist and to be free, one must live in a nation that acknowledges the right of every individual to be treated as an equal and not to be consigned to some station in life based on the ancestral circumstances of one’s birth, including one’s skin color. We call this ideal “equal treatment before the law.” It is also implicitly referenced in our pronouncement about “liberty and justice for all.” ...
"When (Martin Luther) King expressed his yearning for the day when his four little children would be judged based on the “content of their character” and not the “color of their skin,” in that one passage he connected the three pillars of American life: capitalism, equality and freedom. In short, the success of his children should be based on their individual accomplishments and merit and their right to equal treatment. When that happened, he was essentially saying, they would be truly free. King made the critical link between equality and freedom and emphasized through the civil rights movement that one could not exist without the other.
"There are now those who seem to believe that civil rights are just for black people or other “people of color” or women. Those who harbor this belief are not true civil rights “activists;” they are civil rights frauds."
"Suffice to say, however, that the battle to end preferences suffered only a momentary setback on June 23, 2003 when the United States Supreme Court sanctioned the use of race to achieve the amorphous goal of “diversity.” Many thought the Court had erected a stop sign to hold back the anti-preference/pro equality movement. Instead, it was clearly only a speed bump in the journey to make good on our nation’s promise that every American will be guaranteed the right to equal treatment, regardless of race, color, sex, ethnic background or national ancestry, when engaging in transactions with their government. This validation reaffirms our view that “civil rights” belong to whites and Asians as much as they do to blacks and Hispanics."