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When "Civil Rights" Means Ending Affirmative Action
People in Colorado who signed an anti-affirmative action ballot initiative petition are charging that petition circulators deceived them about the measure's real purpose and intent. The signature-gathering effort is part of a push by African-American conservative Ward Connerly to qualify ballot initiatives in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma that would end affirmative action policies and programs in those states. Signature-gatherers for Connerly's measure, which is deceptively titled the "Colorado Civil Rights Initiative," reportedly approached people in the Denver metro area by asking them whether they were "against discrimination." If a person answered "yes," they were asked to sign a petition that they were told would legally end discrimination in their state. Many signers were upset later when they discovered that the "Civil Rights Initiative" was really an effort to end existing affirmative action programs and policies that help level the playing field for groups like minorities and women, that historically have suffered the most from discrimination in employment, contracts and educational opportunities.