As voters head to the polls today to decide the fate of Michigan’s Proposal 2 initiative to end affirmative action programs, Ward Connerly, the chief proponent of the measure, is under fire for welcoming the Ku Klux Klan’s support.
Connerly, a California businessman who is pushing the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and helped to get similar measures passed in California and Texas, was quoted in a documentary examining affirmative action. The measure on Tuesday’s ballot would ban the use of race and gender preferences in state government and university admissions.
In a video posted to the Web site YouTube.com, Connerly is shown saying, “If the Ku Klux Klan thinks that equality is right, God bless them. Thank them for finally reaching the point where logic and reason are being applied instead of hate.”
Connerly, who is Black, defended his remark, saying he accepts support for banning affirmative action wherever he finds it.
“Throughout my life I have made absolutely clear my disdain for the KKK,” Connerly said in a written statement Friday. “However, like all Americans, I hope that this group will move beyond its ugly history and agree that equality before the law is the ideal. If they or any group accepts equality for all people, I will be the first to welcome them.”
David Waymire, a spokesman for the One United Michigan coalition, which opposes the ballot proposal, says the comment is telling.
“It really shows the extremism of the supporters of Ward Connerly and is an especially interesting contrast to the mainstream organizations that oppose Proposal 2,” he says.
— Associated Press
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