Friday, May 02, 2008

ABC "The View" debriefs Ward Connerly on "affirmative action"

Today, ABC’s “The View” (Barbara Walters ‘s daily “gals’ gabfest”; link invited African American conservative Ward Connerly to speak about affirmative action, against the usual implementation of it, which has been partially supported by the Supreme Court in some cases. Specifically, in 2003 The Supreme Court decided 5-4 that the University of Michigan Law School can consider race as a factor in admissions. However the Law School did not have numerical points for race, only subjective consideration. The Supreme Court reversed the point system (for race) in use at the University of Michigan undergraduate admissions program. However, it allowed less specific means to consider race in undergraduate admissions.

Connerly says that the 1964 Civil Rights Act really calls for aggressive non-discrimination and race (and religion and everything else) neutrality in all public policy. The same sentiment is typically expressed in conservative publications. Some of the hosts on the View did question whether some African Americans could have had the opportunities that had without some preferential treatment, but Connerly reiterated that the idea of preference is itself demeaning.
There is a lot of criticism of Connerly’s positions. Ms. Magazine, in a Winter 2008 article by Katherine Spillar, writes “But if Connerly and the initiatives' other proponents have their way, the term "affirmative action" will not appear on the ballot or be talked about in the campaign -- that's because most voters support the concept. The debate will instead focus on whether "unqualified" minorities are admitted to public colleges and universities over "more qualified" (i.e., white) students,” in an article titled “Ward Connerly Using Deceptive 'Civil Rights' Initiatives to Ban Affirmative Action,” link here. Wikipedia characterizes Connerly as seeing himself as an (African American) Republican with a libertarian philosophy, here.

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