Ward Connerly meets President Trump

Monday, February 12th, 2018 @ 11:23AM

The candidacy of Obama for President, in 2008, was widely touted as that of a “post-racial” candidate.  As president, however, Obama was as race conscious as any other individual who had been elected president. In fact, during the waning days of the Obama presidency, the Administration was on the verge of increasing the number of racial/ethnic groups on the Census.  The proposal was to add “Middle Eastern/North African” (MENA).

A few weeks ago, I joined forces with Mike Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation to oppose the MENA proposal.  Our position was explained in our Washington Post op-ed.  I am happy to report that the Trump administration accepted our recommendation to reject the MENA proposal.

I believe that the majority of Americans hold the view that the issue of “race” was resolved in the 1960s by the civil rights movement. That is an erroneous view!  What was resolved was the system of separation and inequality that had been put in place by what was known as “Jim Crow.”

What we have now are several demographic groups, with each separated by a hyphen  We know, however, that “race” in America virtually always means Black people or “African-Americans.” To solve the nagging issue of race in our nation, we simply must address the matter of Black people.   This will be my primary objective during 2018.  In this regard, I  am delighted to announce that I have been invited by the president to meet with him on February 13.  Below is a copy of the letter that I intend to present to the president when we meet in a couple of days.

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States of America

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington D.C.


Dear President Trump,

We commend you for your extraordinary accomplishments to revitalize the American economy, to reverse the trade imbalance with America’s international trading partners, to improve our nation’s standing in the world, and to destroy ISIS.  Your legacy with respect to making America “great” will be incomplete, however, if you fail to address the haunting issue of race.

It was President John F. Kennedy who said, in 1963, “Race has no place in American life or law.” Since those words were uttered, race has been made into a central feature of American life. Occasionally, race flares into costly riots and identity politics, but almost without exception, the issue of race is divisive.  President Kennedy and the man whose bust is prominently displayed in the Oval Office were strong believers of a race-free, “colorblind” society.  It is critical, Mr. President, that you guide our nation back to the trail that leads to the fulfillment of the Kennedy/King vision.

AMERICAN IDENTITY:  It is our belief that the current paradigm regarding race is unacceptable. The practice of dividing Americans into a host of hyphenated groups is particularly obnoxious and represents a fundamental fragmentation of our population. Moreover, this practice often results in anger, frustration, heightened paranoia and serious division in the nation.  The unfortunate reality is that the way we currently interact with each other as hyphenated Americans creates the false impression that whites are the only true Americans.  Therefore, as one of the first orders of business on a race-free agenda, we suggest accentuating the American identity by reforming the U.S. Census.  Race questions should be eliminated in favor of a straightforward nationality question.  Accentuating our identity as Americans by eliminating the hyphen lessens the relevance of race.

It is demonstrably clear that America has, in a policy sense, found a solution to the issue of race.  “Equality of citizenship” and disregard of an individual’s color and other physical characteristics are central to this solution. The problem is that the nation has been taken badly off its course by the misguided pursuit of “diversity.” The Kennedy belief that race has no place in American life and the current push for diversity represent incompatible paradigms.  We believe that the Census is the right vehicle for engaging the American people about the issue of race and returning to the vision of King and Kennedy that “race has no place in American life or law.”

MULTIRACIAL IDENTITY: Our nation is often described as a “melting pot”.  The truth of that description is confirmed by the explosion of multiracial marriages and births in our nation. It is our belief that the multiracial dynamic could have a very positive effect on the matter of race in America.   As more Americans acknowledge their multiracial identities, racial tensions will lessen and perspectives relating to issues of race will be modified. Accordingly, we strongly suggest that our president acknowledge the reality of multiracial identity whenever the opportunity presents itself.  In addition, the Census and other government forms should be modified to include the “multiracial” option.  While we prefer eliminating race entirely on government forms, we acknowledge the low likelihood

REAFFIRM EQUAL TREATMENT: The principle of equal treatment for every person is a civil right that is enshrined in our nation’s founding documents.  The American people strongly support this principle.  Adherence to this principle enabled our nation to end “Jim Crow; however, for decades, America has betrayed this principle of equal treatment by the application of what is loosely described as “affirmative action” and “diversity” programs.

Affirmative action was created by Executive Orders and, thus, can be modified or ended by Executive Orders. It is extremely important to note, however, that affirmative action was not created to be a program that conferred the right to preferential treatment on its intended beneficiaries.  To the contrary, affirmative action was created to be an activity to aggressively promote “nondiscrimination.”

On March 6, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925, which declared that “it is the plain and positive obligation of the United States Government to promote and ensure equal opportunity for all qualified persons, without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin, employed or seeking employment with the Federal Government and on government contracts.”

The prohibition against taking race into account in hiring and promotion was also imposed on government contractors, who were prohibited by the Executive Order from discriminating “against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin.” Merely refraining from discrimination, however, was not enough. In addition, the Executive Order proclaimed, “The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.

President Lyndon B. Johnson amplified these prohibitions and requirements in Executive Order 11246, signed on September 24, 1965.  This EO repeated verbatim the “without regard to” provision quoted immediately above. In addition, it added a new item to ensure that a government contractor “will, in all solicitations or advertisements for employees placed by or on behalf of the contractor, state that all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin”.

Since both of these Executive Orders are not only ignored but ostentatiously flouted throughout government hiring and contracting, as president you could take a giant step toward making America great again — or at least truer to its original ideals — by reissuing a version of these two Democratic Executive Orders, updating them to include sex and explaining that for decades the intent of these Executive Orders has been grossly misconstrued.

It should also be noted that Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act provides that all recipients of federal funds shall treat all individuals equally without regard to race or other specified factors.  Notwithstanding this law, universities routinely discriminate against “Asian” applicants in the college admissions process and suffer no consequence as a result of their actions.  This widespread discrimination occurs in the interest of promoting increased racial “diversity.”

Finally, Mr. President, we believe that in the fullness of time yours will be viewed as one of the most consequential presidencies in the annals of American history. Your legacy will likely be that of a president who was not afraid to tackle issues that seemed insoluble.  More significant than the legacy of any president or other American leader, however, is the success of our nation.  In our opinion, our failure to resolve the issue of race threatens to severely destabilize America.


Ward Connerly
President / American Civil Rights Institute

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