Ward Connerly has seen the nasty face of affirmative action up close. Scorning the role of victim, he worked his way up in the world, offering the best work at the lowest price. A successful businessman, he saw programs that awarded government contracts to minority-owned companies as annoying intrusions and bureaucratic problems. Then came an eye-opener. A white family presented the University of California board of regents with a discrimination complaint. Their son, who was accepted by Johns Hopkins, couldn’t get into medical school in California because of quotas.
That did it for Connerly. He swung a stiff uppercut into the jaw of the liberal establishment. In 1995, he forced the University of California to become color blind in its admissions policies. Mud flew. Called an “angry Oreo,” “strange fruit,” and a “freak of nature,” Connerly stood like a brick wall against a vicious media and hysterical civil rights leaders.
Next came Connerly’s counterattack. He led the 1996 campaign to pass California’s Proposition 209. Then on to Washington State in 1998 to spearhead a similar anti-discrimination measure. Today he readies a new initiative for the 2000 ballot in Florida.
“Ward Connerly again shows that quality which is now familiar in his character: courage. With unsparing honesty he shows us the human life behind the public figure and, thus, answers the seeming mystery of how a black man can be against affirmative action — because his struggles to make a life in America as someone who is black make his commitment to fairness absolute…. An all-American story.”–Shelby Steele, author of The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America
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