Thursday, June 05, 2008

Racially Divisive Appeal by Anti-Affirmative Action Group in Nebraska

Here is the new radio spot being aired in our state as a part of the purposefully deceptive campaign that is being waged by extreme Right-wing interests from outside our state to end affirmative action. As I've written before, the purpose of the so-called Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative is to coopt the language and symbolism of the civil rights movement to achieve the exact opposite end. The group uses the nice sounding rhetoric of "colorblindness" to eliminate all reasonable measures our state has developed over the years to help overcome historic inequalities and discrimination.

Here is the radio ad:

Notice the irony here: The group claims to be all about colorblindness, and eliminating racial mechanisms, yet it is making an explicitly divisive racial (racist) appeal, trading on white racial resentment, by linking Jeremiah Wright with our lone black legislator, Ernie Chambers. Note that it also makes the not-so-subtle link between whiteness, hard-work and merit, thereby suggesting that African American success and achievement are NOT associated with those things.. Sadly, while this ad trades openly on racial (racist) division, those who will be most hurt if this measure passes are most likely white women, the largest recipients of affirmative action and other ameliorative public measures in our state and across the country.

To date, signature gatherers in Nebraska have lied, distorted facts, misrepresented themselves and the petition, not followed state guidelines, etc. A quick story, we were at the grocery store in a more affluent suburban area of Lincoln not too long ago and there were two paid signature gatherers outside. The one was an obnoxious and deceptive white guy, blubbering on about how this was about equality. The other was a quiet young woman sitting at a table not really bothering anyone. I walked up to her and told I respected her as a person and her need for a summer job, but that she might want to look more deeply into the campaign she was supporting because, as a woman, she was only hurting herself. I then explained a few of the basics to her about the folks behind the campaign, the purposefully deceptive approach they take, their manipulation of the civil rights movement, etc. As I spoke, she got this terrified look in her eyes and said, "I'm Latina, as well." I replied, "then this is doubly bad for you." She thanked me for explaining things to her and promised she was going home and checking it out further. It was clear she had been sold a bill of goods and was feeling like a damn fool. I suspect that was her last day collecting signatures.

This is an odious effort. If you see a petition gatherer, DECLINE TO SIGN! And, tell your neighbors and friends to DECLINE TO SIGN, as well.

For more information, or to report deceptive tactics by signature gatherers, please go here.

UPDATE: Since Justin asked about Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative graphics, here is one:
Now that I look at this graphic, maybe I've got this whole thing wrong. Maybe it's not so bad... clearly, if this ballot initiative passes, inter-racial groupings of kids will be eating ice cream together all over our state! (smile)


  1. wow, that is some serious deception. as a piece of communication, it's quite remarkable. i like how the vagueness in "those of us in the majority", without any examples to draw upon, but with soothing guitar and fatherly voice, goes up against the radical sound bite. do they have any visuals that they're pumping out there? TV, posters, brochures, etc? just curious.

    Keep up the good work Patrick.

  2. See update in post for a graphic, Justin. Thanks for the positivity.

  3. The best part about the _CRI sites is that they all have the same graphics--same kids with ice cream but with their own state flag/locale.

    I can't remember who it was, but someone mentioned to me tongue in cheek that the graphic looks like the white kid is stealing the ice cream cone from the girl.

  4. it just all seems so suspect. i guess we can only hope that the media savvy people of our state (and other template programs) will know a sham when they see one. keep speaking truth to power.