When it comes to white hot hatred towards any black conservative Ward Connerly probably raises the most hackles. Possibly even more than Clarence Thomas who’s had to endure a-many Judas calls in the black community. Connerly is the Affirmative Action defeating warrior declaring the time of race-based preferences has past. That we’ve moved on and things are better now, so we don’t need it.
A few people disagree with that, but so far Connerly has been successful at killing Affirmative Action in California, Washington state and Michigan. He has his “eyes on the prize” in five states this fall, pushing ballot initiatives in Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska.
He recently stopped by Truman State in Missouri, speaking on his efforts and was met with a hostile crowd who cheered, jeered, mocked and razzed him repeatedly. He even had to yell at one recalcitrant audience member, “Lady, would you please just shut up?”
So Connerly’s not liked. And he knows it. And a lot of people think his Affirmative Action fight isn’t about Affirmative Action at all, but money from the wealthy contractors and business men who are backing him in an effort to go back to the original form of “Affirmative Action” – white men first.
Connerly admitted at Truman State that minorities would likely suffer if and when Affirmative Action is ended in Missouri, but he still said it was the right thing to do.
Naturally, that went over like the proverbial lead balloon.
He acknowledged that eliminating or reducing scholarships for underrepresented minorities “will probably have a negative effect. But that’s a public policy decision that has to be made.” (Associated Press)
But whose name did Connerly toss out to prove that race relations had changed drastically for the better? None other than Barack Obama.
Connerly said this recently about Obama in a column for The Eureka Reporter:
(T)he presidential candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama is testimony that America is about ready to end the consideration of race in American life. In effect, he is the symbol of the American people “overcoming” race.
Surely, Connerly argued, things must have evolved in a black man is now running for president and actually leading in the race for the Democratic nomination. Surely race fissures have healed. A new day has dawned, so come on, black people, Connerly says, give ending Affirmative Action a chance.
Personally, I don’t like Connerly, but Affirmative Action is imperfect (but not for the reasons he’s pushing). The real people who are likely to feel the sting are women who have benefited the most from the program. Minorities have as well, but not to the same extent. I don’t think we’ve crossed some shiny new day Rubicon where everyone is equal and everyone loves each other. Many those preferences, at least in the sense of college scholarships should be income based, considering poverty is the number one factor holding back many black students and white students for that matter. But to return to the status quo of the rich and the white male having everything as opposed to almost everything is a little ridiculous because we all know that’s what would happen.
That said, I wondered what Connerly really thought of Obama as he was tossing him out as the poster child for black advancement.
Here’s what I found.
In that same Eureka Reporter column, Connerly alternates between saying Obama is proof of our overcoming race, yet repeatedly states that people are intoxicated with Obama because of his race, charging those supporters with a form of “reverse racism” that would make them want a black male candidate more than a white woman:
Indeed, many Americans are prepared to vote for Obama because of his skin color or “race.” Again, while he has done nothing to suggest that he is seeking the presidency on the basis of that factor, it is a factor nonetheless.
The “diversity” game is being played at a very high-stakes level here. I fear we are either too cowardly to discuss it or too intoxicated by Obama’s rhetoric to see it. As is usually the case with what some call “reverse discrimination,” race invariably trumps gender. Given the choice between electing the first woman president or the first black president, the outcome could have been predicted by looking at how institutions traditionally have dealt with the pursuit of “diversity” in college admissions.
Former President Bill Clinton may have been right to characterize America’s love affair with Obama as a fairy tale. Unfortunately, as Frank Sinatra often sang, “Fairy tales can come true.” If that happens, I fear we will have difficulty recovering from the fundamental changes in our way of life that his policies will engender. If Obama prevails, who will be there to stand in his way should he go too far? Not the House of Representatives, nor Senate. Not the courts. He will have a Democrat-controlled Congress all too willing to confirm his nominees.
But to soften his Liberal lambasting of Obama, claiming his benefit from some sort of diversity malaria, Connerly also offers a tinge of his own admiration of Obama’s accomplishm
To be candid, the Obama candidacy gives me a great sense of pride, not because he and I are brown-skinned and multiracial. I am proud because we live in a nation that is demonstrating that the color of a person’s skin is of little significance to us. For over a decade, I have been telling black people that they have it wrong when they characterize our nation as an “institutionally racist” one. I’ve argued that the American people are essentially fair and yearn to move beyond race into an era of “color blindness.” The Obama candidacy validates that point.
Obama deserves to be considered on his own merit — his ideas — and not his skin color. Just as we should not vote against a candidate based on the candidate’s skin color, “race,” sex, ethnicity or national origin, neither should we vote for one based on any of those factors. I fear, however, that a significant number of my fellow Americans are on the verge of doing just that.
Connerly also touches on how Obama needs to deal with the issue of Affirmative Action in Newsweek:
Affirmative action, he says, “is probably the most difficult race issue [Obama] will have to face.” If the candidate denounces affirmative action, Connerly predicts, “his support among blacks will plummet from around 80 to 50 percent. Then, bear in mind that much of his support in Iowa, Vermont and Wyoming came from white males, who by a margin of 70 to 30 [percent] oppose affirmative action.” The challenge is made all the more difficult by Obama’s well-polished reputation for fresh thinking: this, some supporters say, is a perfect chance for him to break with the liberal orthodoxy. To this day, some of the conservatives from the Law Review wonder if Obama agrees with them on race-based affirmative action—a testament to his skill at projecting empathy, if nothing else. “But in politics you can only be a moderator for so long,” says Connerly. Eventually, “you must become a referee.”
So what do I think? I think Connerly is both right and wrong. It’s true that some people are attracted to Obama solely one what he symbolizes – America finally dealing with some of its racial demons. But many, many others, gasp!, actually agree with the man. After all, if Obama didn’t share the interests and ideals of his supporters there’s no doubt they would not be supporting him. After all, a-many conservative black politician has seen their candidacy’s fizzle due to people not wanting to vote for them simply because they were black. I don’t think anyone’s “high on hope” in the black community. Everyone was giving Obama the side-eye until he won Iowa. Black people liked him and agreed with his platform, but didn’t want to vote for him if he couldn’t get white people to vote for him. After all, there are a whole lot more white people in America than us. We’re only 12 percent of the population.
As for Obama on Affirmative Action, I’ve been shocked that no one has asked him about it during any of the one billion debates we’ve had thus far in the Democratic race. I think it will eventually come up and Obama will have to teeter-totter that line between blacks and women who still feel it’s a “white man’s world” and white men who feel they’re being unfairly ruled out as race profiteers and are being harmed by it.
Obama sort of addressed the issue in his race speech, but he didn’t give an answer. I don’t know if his support in the black community would drop as dramatically as Connerly predicts if Obama comes out against it. But Obama did come out for driver licenses for illegal immigrants and that didn’t hurt him at all. I know that Affirmative Action is a far more racially-loaded issue, but Obama can save himself by pushing preferences based on your income for colleges and retooling the laws a bit when it comes to states hiring contractors from female or minority lead firms to making things a bit more even handed. Or he could call for ideas on how to improve Affirmative Action or unveil his own plan to fix it. (I hope you’re reading this Barack. I’m tossing out pearls of wisdom here!)
But now’s the time to guess how Connerly would respond to these two big questions.
Chances on endorsing Obama? Nil. Connerly would never endorse Obama. While he’s half-assed proud, he’s also half-assed against Obama’s closet “Liberalism.”
Chances on voting for Obama? No chance again. Connerly is a firm believer that Obama isn’t much more than an Affirmative Action candidate, which is totally weird as he also holds Obama up as proof that we don’t need Affirmative Action. Did he get there because of his race or no, Ward. He can’t be both.
But you can’t really argue with him. He is a man living in a color-blind world. After all, he only sees in black and white.
Check back to The Black Snob all this week, concluding on April 14th.
Sunday: Amy Holmes
Monday: Condoleezza Rice
Tuesday: Ward Connerly
Wednesday: Shelby Steele
Thursday: Alan Keyes
Friday: JC Watts
Saturday: Colin Powell
Sunday: Armstrong Williams
Monday: Michael Steele
Tuesday: John McWhorter
Wednesday: LaShawn Barber and Herman Cain
Thursday: Star Parker and Eric Wallace
Friday: A final analysis, “Who Would Clarence Thomas Vote For?”