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A Little More Heat For Mr. Hot Button

May 19, 1996

I find it interesting that Ward Connerly has managed to turn the anti-affirmative action initiative into his own personal crusade ("Mr. Hot Button," by Amy Wallace, March 31). It was Malcolm X who said that house slaves would always work harder to put out a fire in the master's house than the master himself. I believe, judging from his political schmoozing and Republican hobnobbing, that Connerly's personal agenda goes much deeper than simply eliminating quotas. Maybe spouting this particular point of view, not unlike a Mafia initiation, is Connerly's personal way of proving his loyalty to the boys with whom he wants to do big business.

Lloyd G. Collins

Los Angeles

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Connerly's implacable opposition to affirmative action is truly heroic, given the relentless assaults on his character and integrity by the entrenched diversity and uncivil rights industry.

Here is a black man-orphaned, reared in dire poverty-who made it and made it big as a result of drive, tenacity, brains and sheer guts. He has insisted on equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. He is reviled by state Sen. Diane Watson and her like for being an Uncle Tom for opposing affirmative action. He "probably feels this makes him more white than black, and that's what he really wanted to be," she has prattled.

As a committed Libertarian, I've enlisted as a soldier in Connerly's crusade to restore some semblance of meritocracy to what has become an America of ethnocracy and mediocrity. The ad hominem attacks and shrill diatribes of Watson and Constance Rice of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund notwithstanding, affirmative action is nothing more than coerced egalitarianism, the worst possible form of social engineering.

Such government action reduces persons to ciphers, individuals to members of ethno-racial collectives and the human mind, heart and soul to political cannon fodder. Call them preferences, goals, targets, guidelines, quotas, whatever . . . . It all amounts to the same thing: the further dehumanization, fragmentation and polarization of America.

Nicholas Spinner

Los Angeles

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Race, according to Connerly, is largely irrelevant in America today. Connerly obviously does not live in the America that produced the beating of Rodney G. King by LAPD officers.Neither does he live in the America of the Los Angeles riots, the acquittal of O.J. Simpson or the reaction to the Simpson verdict. And certainly not the America of the clubbing of two suspected illegal immigrants by Riverside County sheriff's deputies, or even the liberal and conservative analyses of race by Cornel West, Richard J. Herrnstein, Charles Murray and Dinesh D'Souza. Maybe race is irrelevant in Connerly's protected America of government land-use contracts and fund-raisers for Gov. Pete Wilson, but not in the America that most people have to function in on a daily basis.

Mark P. Petracca

Irvine

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Connerly has enough insight and common sense to see that affirmative action is holding blacks and other minorities down, instilling in them a permanent sense of dependency and reinforcing the image that they are weak and inferior.

I agree with him that the only way blacks and other minorities can succeed in this society is through hard work, self-reliance, education, strong moral and ethical values and dependence on their skills-not reliance on monetary handouts or the color of their skin.

Affirmative action isn't the gift that it seems to be.

I concur with Connerly that in order to have genuine racial harmony in the United States, we must transcend and minimize race, not place excessive importance on it. Overemphasis on racial pride only drive the races further apart. We need to stress our similarities, how much we have in common.

We must view ourselves, first and foremost, not as blacks, Mexicans, Asians or Caucasians but as Americans.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman

Huntington Beach

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Connerly is a disgrace. Now that he's made it, shame on the rest of the black race. He was one of a few blacks at the state GOP convention, and he had the nerve to say that he was with "my people."

If Connerly believes that the element of race is irrelevant today, he is out-and-out wrong. Without affirmative action, the potential of a lot more of us would be overlooked, even if we were qualified.

Connerly's decision to identify his business as being black-owned in order to keep a state contract proves that he's a hypocrite.

Audre Boyer

Lancaster

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I find it ironic that Connerly is quick to point out the numerous whites who came to his rescue during childhood. Yet he never credits his grandmother for instilling in his mind the importance of a solid education. It seems as though he has not grown out of that mind frame.His reference to Gov. Wilson as a father figure is sickening. Does Connerly not realize that he is the perfect token black for the governor and any of our racist politicians?

Dytarsha Fisher

Pomona

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