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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Tuesday, December 24, 2002



Fools Rush In...

I know Pandagon and Hauser and commented on Ward Connerly's comment that:

"Supporting segregation need not be racist," said Mr. Connerly. "One can believe in segregation and believe in equality of the races."

Well, other folks commented too. And what can you say, except it's crazy?

OK, it's crazy. Now, I have no reason to doubt Mr. Herbert's account in the Times. However, I can find no other source for the quote, so we are "context-free". But in "Googling" around I came up with this recent PBS interview (presumably NOT the one to which Herbert refers), and a 1997 letter to President Clinton. I am sure you want excerpts:

PBS: All of us have said things that lend themselves to misinterpretation or interpretation that we may not have intended.

Connerly may be living proof. But more PBS:

...we really have no tolerance for segregation or the way we did things in the past.

The letter to the President: Your statement to the NABJ—"I don't know why the people who promoted 209 in California think it's a good thing to have a segregated set of professional schools"—is just plain irresponsible.

No one "promoted" 209 more than I, so I believe it is fair to assume that you are characterizing me as a proponent of racial segregation. This is not my position nor that of anyone I know who was involved in the Prop. 209 campaign. We do not believe a segregated set of professional schools is a "good thing," that is why we are the ones in this debate who are fighting to unify Americans by having our government treat everyone as equals regardless of race—as the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 intended. We acknowledge that discrimination still exists and we call on you to strengthen the enforcement of those anti-discrimination laws that are on the books.

No one of goodwill wants our public institutions segregated....


SO, Ward Connerly is opposed to segregation. I suspect that we all suspected that anyway.

Was he crazy for letting such a bizarre sound-bite pass his lips? Well, yes. His comment exceeds my most fevered spin-doctoring. When I think of "segregation", I think of the whole package; schools, restaurants, water fountains, and so on. If Mr. Connerly had some other context in mind, he should have used a different word.

However, here is a black WaPo columnist arguing in favor of preserving black neighborhoods. Maybe (maybe?) this is what Mr. Connerly had in mind, before his brain disconnected from his mouth?

Yes, pretty lame. Now let me just limp out of here.

UPDATE: He may be without qualities, but The Man is not without backbone. He wants context, and he is adamant that Connerly may have a point.

Well, I have tried a couple of times to nail Herbert with a "gotcha", and have come up empty. Third time a charm? Meanwhile, I am inclined to think Connerly should know better than to ruminate out loud and drop sound-bites like this - he knows he is a lightning rod.

UPDATE 2: If at first you don't succeed, "Google, "Google" again. And no, I have no idea why I missed it this morning. David Frum excerpts a transcript, cleverly concealed in yesterday's NRO.


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