Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Affirmative action foes point to Obama
Say candidate is proof effort no longer needed
By Joseph Williams and Matt Negrin
WASHINGTON - Leading opponents of affirmative action are increasingly seizing on Illinois Senator Barack Obama's historic run for the presidency as proof that race-based remedies for past discrimination are no longer necessary.
Influential Republicans and a growing number of policy specialists at conservative organizations, including the Goldwater Institute, Project 21, and the Manhattan Institute, are citing the fact that large numbers of white voters are supporting Obama, who leads in the race for Democratic delegates, as evidence that affirmative action has run its course.
Ward Connerly, a black conservative who is leading a national effort to ban racial preferences, vowed to use Obama's success as evidence for anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives his organization is promoting in five states. Connerly, who helped dismantle affirmative action policies in California universities and public hiring in the 1990s, said he has donated $500 to Obama's campaign.
"I've been saying for a number of years that the American people are not institutionally racist," and Obama's strong support among white voters proves it, said Connerly, founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, an organization that backs proposals to end affirmative action in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. "It underscores my position . . . that affirmative action is an idea whose time has passed.
"The whole argument in favor of race preferences is that there is 'institutional racism' and 'institutional sexism' in American life, and you need affirmative action to level the playing field," he said. "How can you say there is institutional racism when people in Nebraska vote for a guy who is a self-identified black man?"
*Sighs* Please use more than one example to strengthen your argument. This is as bad as arguments that suggests that "it's better for Black people. Look at Oprah and all of these athletes." *Rolls eyes*
Obama's take on affirmative action:
Obama, who graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, has said he is firmly behind efforts to expand diversity, particularly in higher education. However, he has implied that such programs should be reexamined, and perhaps be more closely tied to class instead of race.
Asked if his young children would be candidates for affirmative action when they reach college, Obama said their middle-class upbringing should disqualify them.
"I think that my daughters should probably be treated by any [college] admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged," Obama said in an interview with ABC News. "We should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed."
I don't know about all that. I knew these affirmative action antagonists would pop up and use Obama's electability for their reasoning.