“It’s important to understand that our initiative is not to eliminate all forms of affirmative action. This initiative would prohibit only forms of affirmative action with preferential treatment, such as race and gender.”
Ward Connerly, on affirmative action in public education
Now, I know Ward Connerly is a controversial figure, and affirmative action is a controversial subject. No matter where you fall on the side of the issue, though, looking at the quote above you’ve got to be asking yourself “if affirmative action is not about preferential treatment… what the hell is it about?”
I heard a bit about John McCain’s alleged flippery on the subject of affirmative action, specifically his declaration in support of an Arizona ballot initiative described as anti-affirmative action this Sunday.
McCain voiced his approval of the initiative by saying that he has always “been against quotas”, implying that that’s what the ballot initiative was against. At least as when it comes to universities, the Supreme Court has at least twice struck down quotas and similar systems, in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) and more recently with Grutter v. Bollinger (2003). So, I was a little curious what this Arizona ballot initiative was really about.
Surprise, surprise.. the initiative is not just about quotas:
The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.”
Arizona Proposition 104 (2008)