Ward Connerly reminds me of Darth Vader.* In a sea of 99.9% of the white folks in the Star Wars trilogy, Darth Vader is a “Nubian god” who is voiced by James Earl Jones. Then, in Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader’s helmet is removed to reveal a “crusty white man.” Darth Vader is black on the outside and white on the inside. Ward Connerly presents as a person of color, but he engages in a campaign against folks of color that seems to be driven by internalized oppression, tokenism and assimilation. Ward Connerly’s efforts to disassemble affirmative action reek of white supremacy. Ward Connerly’s words and actions are counter to social justice and anti-oppression work. In seeking to end affirmative action, Connerly is dismissing the realities of historical context, present day discrimination and white privilege. Fortunately, his anti-affirmative action campaign was recently halted in Oklahoma due to a lack of signatures. Unfortunately, like Darth Vader, Ward Connerly’s campaign is wreaking havoc in the galaxy. Affirmative action policies in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska are all being targeted by Connerly.
*This “Ward Connerly = Darth Vader” post inspired in part by this scene from Chasing Amy: