News Headlines

Will an Obama Win Bring an End to Affirmative Action?

Ward Connerly

hide captionWard Connerly is the founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, a group opposed to racial and gender preferences.

Ward Connerly is described in today's New York Times as a "conservative anti-affirmative-action crusader."

So his initial reaction to Barack Obama's speech, after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, could be described as surprising ... until you read why (emphasis ours):

Ward Connerly ... watched a replay of the announcement of Mr. Obama's victory on Fox News early Wednesday "and I choked up," he said. "He did it by his own achievement. Nobody gave it to him."

Mr. Connerly expressed hope that Mr. Obama's rise would boost his own efforts to end affirmative action.

"The entire argument for race preferences is that society is institutionally racist and institutionally sexist, and you need affirmative action to level the playing field," Mr. Connerly said. "The historic success of Senator Obama, as well as Senator Clinton, dismantles that argument."

Do you agree? Or is this a rehashing of the "Oprah argument" — that the success of one proves that the others can (and should) succeed on merits alone.

Flashback:
Creating a Coalition in Defense of Affirmative Action
Efforts in Five States Target Affirmative Action

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

No I don't agree with Ward Connerly and his way of twisting the notion of affirmative action around for the past year (if not longer).

Note to Connerly: Sen. Obama acknowledged after his Democratic nomination for being humbled to be in such place because of others who have paved the way for him.

Sent by Moji | 1:57 PM | 6-5-2008

I disagree with Mr. Connerly. Not to take anything away from Mr. Obama's achievment, but I don't think Columbia and Harvard Law School were out beating the pavement looking for underprivleged Black kids from single- parent homes before Affirmative Action came along. Mr. Obama certainly has impressive individual achievments, but most impressive is what Obama has done with the opportunities he has been given. Key word being 'Opportunity'.

Sent by Bill M | 2:24 PM | 6-5-2008

I do not agree with Mr. Connerly but the fact that he chocked up at Obama's speech is almost as history making as Obama's win.

Sent by Kimberly Coleman | 3:50 PM | 6-5-2008

BO got there via the Affirmative Action in the party rules.

Where else but the Dem party will the loser get almost the same number of delegates as the winner.

Sent by Mokeem Z | 4:34 PM | 6-5-2008

Mokeem..huh? who's the winner & loser in your scenario?

barack got 'there' via affirmative action because the clinton (the loser) gets almost the same number of delegates as the winner??

and PLEASE i hope you're not falling for the clinton's LUDICROUS fuzzy math.

Sent by Jon J | 2:04 PM | 6-6-2008

connerly is insignificant. his movement disingenuous and so is most of the coverage & discussion about it.

!st affirmative action is multifaceted. There's education, employment & contracts. All with very DIFFERENT dynamics. So the discussion usually if flawed unless it takes into account those distinctions

also when we talk about rolling back affirmative action why do we always focus on race?

It's very CLEAR that we have made the largest & biggest gains in gender. So if it should be rolled back shouldn't it be in the area where we've made the most gains? If the argument is we no longer need it.

Tony Brown said affirmative action is an entitlement for whites & middle class blacks. he may have said white women...but his point was clear.

But no one wanted to touch Brown

Sent by Jon J | 2:13 PM | 6-6-2008

This fool still doesn't get it. Ward Connerly, can go take a jump into a piranha filled lake. He's going to be in for a rude awakening when Obama gets in there, with a little help from his women colleagues in Congress and actually strengthen the rules on Affirmative Action. Black/Woman President or not, Affirmative Action will still be around to help right some of wrongs of slavery, Jim Crow, and disenfranchisement of women. Now, CHOKE ON THAT, Ward!

Sent by Thomas B | 1:06 AM | 6-7-2008

wait a minute... at mister Thomas B, as a piscean [half orca half piranha-good in both salt and fresh waters], i take offence at your wishing to toss putrefied, rancid madd cow Ward Connerly Phatback in my ocean pond. No keep the BSE on your soil and not in my sea...thank you ...segue

Connelly just got choked up on the same thing mister Bush did a while back their own political nepotistic corruption laced phlegm. Sometimes the goddess likes to choke hold the ones not yet so beautiful but given life via her on their own malfeasance.

Affirmative Action policies enacted in the late 1960s whom mister Connelly is a product of and have on the merits benefited more "white" women across the board statistically in all of its many facets by definition of inclusion of "women" with no specifically targeted racial dimensions to that group. Moreover, at its inception, african, asian and latin women were not in knowledgable positions to take immediate benefit of these programs. True, by the mid-1970s, a whole host of african, asians and latins were being ushered in and out of universities due to Affirmative Action policies but these were anomalies to the the speed at which they were matriculated in order to achieve some sort of vain catch-up scheme. If you don't believe me then explain the high number of Africans in the americas-north with PhDs in education and the dismal state of education for primary and secondary black kids within the usa. If these folks had had good scholarship with quality field residency practicums that research should have translated into better urban educational paradigms for blacks. But these folks are sitting with their degrees in 100K jobs and not able to craft nor institute quality programs for their root.

Obama and Connelly are affirmative action babies with the exception that Connelly has pimped AA for his own economic aggrandisement. The fools are Connelly funders [gennerally white men and some women] who presume that people of colour are benefitting from some form of government welfare when in fact just like the foreign aid industry more whites benefit direct and indirect from these so-called "minority set asides".

PS. This is not to say that some Africans, Asians, and Latins did not work really hard to achieve their so-called higher education degrees. Since I did 2 jobs to get mine but earlier on in the process a whole lot got pushed along with failed scholarship that later on laid foundation to the abysmal current state. For I argue, if these folks had had good scholarship they would not be stumbling constantly to come up to speed and always be late when the dynamics and paradigm shifts.

Sent by K MJUMBE | 1:03 PM | 6-8-2008

The danger of affirmative action is that it's base philosophy is that people of a certain skin color are not only responsible for the actions of other people of the same skin color but of people who could be decades dead. This is a dangerous precedent to set in that all black Americans could be said to be responsible for black gang activity for example. There is no question that the playing field is uneven but guilt by skin color is not a philosophical legacy to leave our children.

Sent by James May | 11:00 AM | 6-11-2008

Question:
If Affirmative Action is 'to right pass wrongs or indiscretions, etc' then why are 'minorities' who entered the United States after 1965 allowed to participate?

Just a thought?

Sent by Jon J | 8:24 PM | 6-11-2008

Affirmative action IS discrimination against unconnected ethnic 'white' males. The only white males who are for it are old-money fools who know that their family connections will ensure that they will never be affected by it.

Old money families benefited by slavery, and put affirmative action in place in order to take opportunity from ethnic whites, thereby guaranteeing that slave owning families never have to give up any of THEIR personal wealth in reparations.

Sent by Cicero | 2:12 PM | 6-23-2008

About

Support comes from: