In a recent opinion piece for these pages, Barb Guy made a blistering personal attack against me because of my views against race-based affirmative action.
To set the record straight, I am not a lobbyist, nor have I ever been. Second, I have never met Guy, let alone given her access to my financial records. Therefore, I wonder how she reaches the conclusion that I am a "wealthy, wealthy man."
Third, millions of voters in Arizona, California, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington state have voted to eliminate race preferences and to place that prohibition in their constitutions. Guy asserts that everywhere I go, voters complain that I "duped them into voting for a thing that turns out to be the opposite of what it sounded like."
In each of the five states where I have campaigned against race-based preferences, the language has been identical: "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."
In all instances, the campaigns were waged over a period of several months, and in all cases, my opponents, such as Guy, make it very clear that I am opposed to what is called "affirmative action." How, then, can it be said that I have "duped" millions of voters in several states into voting for something that turns out to be the opposite of what the voters thought?
Guy relies on the tired canard of our opponents in other states that by naming the American Civil Rights Institute, I have misappropriated the term "civil rights." I strongly disagree. "Civil rights" freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to equal treatment under the law, etc. belong to all Americans.
Like so many others, Guy seems to believe that the term "civil rights" is the exclusive province of black Americans. That is a false conclusion. By fighting in favor of equal treatment for everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, our organization is being true to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which I would commend to the attention of Guy.
When President John F. Kennedy first used the term "affirmative action" (not Richard Nixon), it was his intention that a policy of nondiscrimination be installed to ensure that everyone would be accorded equal treatment. The term was later perverted by President Lyndon Johnson when he insisted on "goals" and "timetables" and the functional equivalent of "quotas."
This bit of history, along with a fuller understanding of how affirmative action actually operates, is woefully missing from Guy's piece.
In one of the more astonishing passages of her missive, Guy sounds eerily like the Southern segregationists when she accuses me of being an "outside agitator" intent upon "stirring up trouble."
Her tinge of racism becomes more apparent when she asserts that she doesn't know "what to make of an African American guy who feels "the white man is really disadvantaged."I thought leftists opposed racial profiling. Apparently, in their world, all blacks are supposed to think alike. The context of what I said is that when government programs define the "disadvantaged" as women and minorities, the white male is placed at a disadvantage.
Finally, I have not descended upon Utah without invitation. Every time that I have visited this beautiful state, I have done so at the request of legislators. In all instances, my travel costs have been paid by my organization or me personally.
It is an encouraging sign for the initiative, should it appear on the Utah ballot, that its opponents are so unable to refute its clear command of equal treatment for all that they find it necessary to engage in personal attacks rather than to support the continuation of race preferences on its merits.
Ward Connerly is the founder of the American Civil Rights Institute.