Paul Jacob

You may think racial and sexual discrimination is (usually) wrong. But whether you call it "affirmative action" or "reverse discrimination," compensatory racial and sex preference remains in wide use by governments and institutions of higher learning, for hiring, contracts, and college admissions.

A man named Ward Connerly has taken up the policy as his to fight. A group calling itself BAMN (standing, amazingly, for "By Any Means Necessary") aims to protect the established policies. Connerly is serious. So is BAMN, whose members fight his measures "by any means" they deem expedient, principle not being their strong suit.

The struggle is at its most heated in Arizona, land of red rock and cactus. Connerly's American Civil Rights Institute has promoted a ballot initiative in that state, and also similar ones in Colorado and Nebraska. It looks like all three measures will appear on these state ballots come November. (Petition drives to put similar initiatives on the ballot in Missouri and Oklahoma failed.)

The idea behind the measures is to make any state contracting policy — or state-supported college acceptance standards — completely race-free. Similar initiatives were voted into law in California in 1996, in Washington in 1998, and Michigan in 2006.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.