The man who led a successful 1996 ballot-initiative campaign to ban affirmative action in California is turning his attention to Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and South Dakota.
Ward Connerly and his group, the American Civil Rights Institute, hope all these states will follow California in November 2008.
Connerly and his supporters contend that affirmative action helps perpetuate discrimination instead of preventing it.
The proposed ban would affect hiring at state-run agencies and recruiting at public universities.
State agencies and university spokesmen say they don’t use quotas or race-based hiring and enrollment practices — but also admit to “tacit” practices of admitting athletes with lower academic qualifications, the Denver Post reports.
Critics say Connerly’s campaign is premature, because race-driven disparities still exist in the United States.
Arizona state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema told the Arizona Star that disparities persist in wages between men, women, and different ethnicities.
Connerly also admitted that his drive for equity focuses on race and gender, but neglects sexual preference.
One expert suggested Connerly’s targeted choice of swing states is part of a wider political strategy to bring out voters during a presidential election year.
“Race, sex emphasis in Colo. targeted”
Denver Post, April 24, 2007
“Anti-affirmative action group wants initiative”
Kansas City Star, April 25, 2007
“Head of Maricopa County NAACP pans plan to ban race, sex-based preferences”
Capitol Media Services (AZ), April 26, 2007