An advocacy group seeking to preserve affirmation action programs must think Arizona voters are as dumb as a bag of hammers.
Detroit-based By Any Means Necessary went to court last week to prevent voters from considering a proposed constitutional amendment called the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative. The group’s argument: the use of the phrase “civil rights” is so misleading that petition signers believed they were acting to help minorities and to promote racial equality when the initiative would do just the opposite.
We’ll set aside for another day whether affirmation action hurts or helps. But BAMN has offered a grave insult to petition signers by claiming they couldn’t figure out what the proposed amendment would do and a judge needs to protect voters from themselves.
As required by law, a 100-word summary directly under the title on every petition clearly spells out what the initiative seeks to accomplish.
“The proposal would amend the state constitution to prohibit preferential treatment or discrimination by state government, state universities, colleges, community colleges, school districts, counties and local governments to any individual or group based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin …”
And the actual amendment had to be attached to petitions. Most people willing to sign ballot measures can recognize when they hear misleading spin from petition gatherers. Even a quick glance at the written details tells the average person where the initiative is headed.
Just to pile up the slurs on Arizonan intellect, BAMN chairwoman Shanta Driver admitted to Capitol Media Services she’s also worried too many voters are simply racist.
“The truth of the matter is, whenever you ask a majority white electorate to make a determination, are they going to protect white privilege or are they going to advance black and Latino equality, over and over again, in the privacy of a voting booth, they vote to uphold and advance white privilege,” Driver said.
The courts should quickly knock down this ridiculous lawsuit, with a bag of hammers if necessary.