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Ward Connerly, the champion of California's controversial Proposition 209 outlawing racial preferences in state government, offers a compelling memoir and polemic with Creating Equal. Political figures don't often write books worth reading, but Connerly can both turn a good phrase (liberals, he says, "need to believe that Rosa Parks is still stuck in the back of the bus, even though we live in a time when Oprah is on a billboard on the side of the bus") and tell a good story (as when he describes tracking down his long-lost biological father in Louisiana). Connerly has generated strong reactions, many of them negative, ever since he burst on the scene as a University of California regent opposed to racial preferences in student admissions. Because he is black (or, more accurately, of mixed black, white, and Indian ancestry), Connerly was derisively labeled an "Uncle Tom" for his efforts. Conservatives will applaud Creating Equal, while many of Connerly's sparring partners will recognize its thoughtfulness: "Affirmative action was the kissing cousin of welfare, a seemingly humane social gesture that was actually quite diabolical in its consequences--not only causing racial conflict because of its inequities, but also validating blacks' fears of inferiority and reinforcing racial stereotypes." Moreover, Connerly's insider account of Proposition 209 (plus similar efforts in Houston and Washington state) will appeal to political junkies of all stripes. Regardless of their views on the philosophical content of Connerly's crusade, readers will find Creating Equal to be a surprisingly good book. --John J. Miller [via]