Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Affirmative Action

It bothers me that racial divisiveness is still a part of the social fabric of this nation. I do not believe that affirmative action is in and of itself the final solution to that problem, but so long as the problem exists affirmative action is one of the tools that we use to solve the problem. It is a useful and important tool and it is by no means time to do away with it.

Barack Obama on was a guest on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" which you can read here, and one question that was asked was this:

Stephanopoulos: And you're a constitutional law professor so let's go back in the classroom.....I'm your student. I say Professor, you and your wife went to Harvard Law School. Got plenty of money, you're running for president. Why should your daughters when they go to college get affirmative action?

You can read Obama’s answer at the link above, you’ll have to scroll down a bit to reach the topic in the interview, but I was disappointed with it. His response seemed rambling and disjointed to me, and it did not seem that it was a question to which he had given much thought. As a candidate for the nation’s highest office, I believe he should have been able to answer much more clearly. (Ha, you thought I was going to say because he is an African-American, didn’t you?)

To be fair to Obama, though, I hate it when the media asks such loaded and stupid questions.

Affirmative action is not about Obama’s daughters. It’s not about any individual kids. It’s about millions of kids. Children in African-American households grow up in disadvantaged conditions in numbers far exceeding white households, and we need to address that as a nation. Affirmative action is an important tool that we use to address that condition and until we eliminate that condition we need to preserve that tool. It isn’t about what happens to one or two individuals, white or Black, it is about an entire class of people who need and deserve the opportunity that has been denied to them for too long.

More importantly, affirmative action is not about the benefit that African- American kids receive when they get into college, or that African-American men and women receive when they get good jobs, it’s about the benefit that accrues to this nation and this society when that happens. Having that happen takes us in the direction of a nation where racial divisiveness is no longer a part of our social fabric. It takes us toward becoming a society that is truly colorblind. It brings Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream closer to reality.

Affirmative action benefits people of color but much more important, it benefits our country.

America’s Cup Update

Trounced again today. Oh boy, this is sad.

Oracle has been outmaneuvered in the prestart three races out of three, and lost the start badly all three times. They’ve chosen the wrong side of the course twice, and given up the favored right side of a neutral course the third time. They’ve read the wind wrong repeatedly. They’ve seemed less than aggressive when trailing, although I’ll admit that without being on the course that’s not really a realistic judgement.

The boat speed is good upwind and really excellent on a run. Crew work is excellent. But the strategic and tactical decisions have been decidedly amateurish. Where are you when we need you Dennis Conner?

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