Obama Kids Won’t Need Affirmative Action

Published June 14, 2007

Your editorial, “Obama and Racial Preferences” (June 9) revealed a racial assumption that is simply not true.

In speaking about college-level affirmative action programs, you ask, “Should she [Sen. Barack Obama’s daughter] have an advantage over other applicants because she’s black?” The implicit assumption is that Obama’s daughter would be viewed as just another struggling black student who could never gain access to elite academia on her own.

This is the type of question that never gets aimed at white parents of privilege. Has anyone ever asked Hillary Clinton a question about how her children should be treated by admissions committees?

It is certainly true that blacks, men in particular, are struggling to achieve academically. Consider that only 35 percent of black men graduate from high school in Chicago, and that nationally only 22 percent of black men who enter college ever graduate. These statistics are tragic, but they certainly do not apply to Obama, who graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, or his wife, who graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

The editorial quotes Obama as saying that affirmative action “should become a diminishing tool for us to achieve racial equality in this society.” Perhaps the true intent of raising this ridiculous question about Obama’s children–who will get into Ivy League schools without any help from affirmative action programs–is to drive a wedge between Obama and black voters. Once blacks find out Obama is not an unqualified supporter of affirmative action, maybe he’ll be found “not black enough.”

Please spare him these patronizing questions.

Lee Walker ([email protected]) is founder and president of The New Coalition for Economic and Social Change and a senior fellow for The Heartland Institute.