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Ward Connerly and Prof. Richard Sander:
Promoting an Ideology of Racism
BAMN Confronts 'Commemoration' of Prop. 209's End to Affirmative Action

From BAMN's statement handed out at the event:
We will not overcome racism or racist inequality by refusing to recognize it or speak its name. We must expose it and decry it boldly and loudly — black, Latino, white, Asian, Arab, men, women, gay and straight — standing shoulder to shoulder, demanding and winning equality.

On November 5, 2007, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) high school and college students in Los Angeles picketed and confronted Ward Connerly and Prof. Richard Sander at UCLA. Connerly, the national frontman for the attack on affirmative action, was speaking at an outrageous event to "commemorate" the 11th anniversary of Proposition 209 — the ban on affirmative action in California. He was joined by racist UCLA law professor Richard Sander. (More info below.)

The protest was a big success — high school and college students had a loud picket and spoke out inside. BAMN made clear that Connerly and Sander's plan of using UCLA as a base for organizing their attacks will fail.

Below is the statement BAMN issued at the event, thoroughly debunking Connerly and Sander's racist lies. Please feel free to forward this information.

Watch the Video  Look for the Nov 05 2007 news story.

BAMN's Statement at the Event

Connerly and Sander:
Promoting an Ideology of Racism

Defend Affirmative Action and Integration! Fight for Equality!
No More Second Class Treatment for Brown and Black!
Increase Underrepresented Minority Student Enrollment at UCLA!
Build the New, Integrated, Independent Civil Rights Movement!

Download a printable version

Tonight at UCLA, Ward Connerly and Richard Sander have the gall to "commemorate" the 11th anniversary of Proposition 209 in California — which is nothing other than legally-imposed separate and unequal segregation of higher education in the state with the highest Latina/o population in the nation. Prop 209 has created a two-tier system of public education, where the best opportunities are reserved for white students, and Latina/o, black and Native American students are relegated to second class citizenship.

Like every other socio-economic system in which the best society has to offer is reserved for a select minority of the population, the backers of Prop 209 have had to concoct an ideology to rationalize such unfairness and inequality. Professor Sander is making a name for himself as just such an ideologue with what he calls the "mismatch theory," which preaches that Latino/a, black and Native American students "belong" in lower tier schools because they are not intellectually up to the competition of the UC's flagship universities. To cloak the nakedly racist nature of his so-called "theory," Sander paternalistically claims that assigning Latina/o and black students to less competitive schools is doing them a favor by giving them a greater chance of success. Similarly, the ideologues who rationalized slavery argued that black people were better off as slaves, because, unlike wage workers, slaves were guaranteed a subsistence living.

Sander's claims (and crudely manipulated statistics) fly in the face of the facts. In The Shape of the River former presidents of Harvard and Yale Derek Bok and William Bowen present extensive data which demonstrates that the more selective a university an underrepresented minority attends, the greater the likelihood that they will graduate, earn a higher salary and report satisfaction with their college experience. Black and Latina/o students who attend highly select universities like UCLA or UC Berkeley have a far better chance of graduating from college than students of any race who attend non-selective universities. Highly selective universities have the most resources and the greatest ability to provide the financial and institutional support needed to increase the graduation rates of all their students.

Underrepresented minority students who have low SAT scores and gain admission to and attend a highly selective university go on to graduate and professional schools at comparable rates to their white or Asian peers. Latino and black law school graduates who attend a top-tier law school are able to make the political and social contacts necessary and to gain the confidence needed to seek and attain positions of power in this society once reserved exclusively for white men. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Antonio Villaraigosa are all beneficiaries of affirmative action programs at this nation's most selective law schools. Sander's "mismatch theory" is all smoke and mirrors, appealing to white prejudice and promoting ideas of racial inferiority.

Black businessman and former UC Regent Ward Connerly has spent the past 12 years earning millions as the front man for the national assault on affirmative action and the hard-won progress our country has made toward integration and racial equality. When pressed, Connerly claims to question the wisdom of "over-relying" on standardized tests in the admissions process and concedes that standardized tests such as the SAT and LSAT give white students an advantage, yet instead of fighting for their elimination, he cynically uses those very same test scores as a battering ram to keep Latina/o and black students out of UCLA and UC Berkeley.

In their promotion of the "mismatch theory" to rationalize the resegregation of higher education in America, Connerly and Sander not only deprive Latina/o, black and Native American students of their right to be admitted to our nation's flagship universities — they are actively encouraging the development of a racially hostile campus climate for the few minority students who do enroll by promoting the racist view that these students don't belong on these campuses (hence the frequent question "what sport do you play?" endured by even the most unathletic black or Latina/o student) and the subtle and not-so-subtle presumption that we are not the intellectuals equals of white students.

According to Connerly and Sander, opportunity is a burden that only white men can bear. They are hard put to explain the success and contributions of the thousands of beneficiaries of affirmative action who graduated from flagship universities from the mid-1960's when affirmative action was first won by the civil rights movement, until Prop 209 eliminated the programs in 1996.

Fortunately, the racist right wing represented by Connerly and Sander, though well-funded, is not the only power in our society. The increase in Latina/o and black enrollment at UCLA this year is the direct result of the walkouts, marches and rallies by millions of Latinas/os in 2006 and the continued walkouts by Latina/o youth who refuse to accept second class treatment and are leading the struggle for dignity and equality. The continued development of the new integrated youth-led civil rights movement fighting for immigrant rights and committed to ending the new Jim Crow is certain to put an end to the completely undemocratic and politically and socially unviable policies of excluding Latina/o, black and Native American students and youth from the UC system. Treated as invisible by most conservative and liberal forces involved in the debate over affirmative action, California's poor and partially disenfranchised Latina/o communities are the one force in California with the political will and the social power to re-integrate the UC system.

There is no question that Connerly's policies will be reversed — the only question is how soon. The sooner we build a leadership of Latina/o youth prepared to assert our rights and mobilize the tremendous power of our communities, the sooner we prevail.

We will not overcome racism or racist inequality by refusing to recognize it or speak its name. We must expose it and decry it boldly and loudly — black, Latino, white, Asian, Arab, men, women, gay and straight—standing shoulder to shoulder, demanding and winning equality.

BAMN is building a new civil rights movement of young leaders determined to win equality for all. A new chapter of BAMN is forming at UCLA. If you are interested in getting involved, contact us today.

Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights,
And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)

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