I didn’t watch Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, but my liberal co-workers did. They were impressed. Curious, I read a transcript of his speech. My first impression: he was a liberal trying to sound conservative.
Barack Obama, then in the Illinois Senate, impressed a lot of people. A few months later, he was a U.S. Senator. A few years later, he was in the White House. The fact that he’s part black had no bearing on me. A liberal, regardless of race, color, sex, or creed, is still a liberal.
Like most liberals, the president believes it is good for the government to lower standards for certain racial and ethnic minorities to increase diversity, to make up for past wrongs, and various other reasons. But racial preferences are unfair and unconstitutional. An individual of the “wrong” race loses out to a member of the “right” race, a practice that no American should tolerate from a country that supposedly holds to the “equal justice under law” doctrine.
But Americans tolerate a lot.
Jennifer Gratz, prevailing plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Gratz v. Bollinger (2003), begins her op-ed in the Washington Times with a look back at Barack Obama in 2004. She notes that despite “postracial” hopes of his election, he’s “reinforced racial divisions and identity policies.”
President Obama recently affirmed his support for racial preferences…as long as the practice is done in a “careful way.” It’s a mystery exactly how racial discrimination can be careful. It’s definitely unconstitutional. An excerpt:
Eight states have already acknowledged this fact and have banned race preference policies in public institutions. Michigan is one of these states. However, when the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative appeared on the ballot in 2006, then-Sen. Barack Obama recorded a radio ad urging listeners to vote against it. He insisted that not allowing policies that grant special treatment based on skin color would undermine equal opportunity and reverse racial progress.
In sharp contrast, the U.S. Supreme Court has applauded these measures and repeatedly affirmed that all states should be moving in the direction of race-neutral policies. This is a reflection of the country’s deep desire to move beyond racial divisions, and it also reflects the fact that skin color is not the obstacle it once was.
Individuals can be as color-conscious as they’d like. No one can control our thoughts or our perceptions. But our government must be colorblind. Laws must be colorblind. Racial neutrality in government is attainable. We just need people who have the will to govern all, and govern them without regard to race. I’ve said many times that a government with the power to discriminate in favor of blacks can wield that same power against blacks.
As Gratz notes, race-based policies perpetuate stereotypes. Blacks complain about the negative ones, but these will remain as long as our government is in the racial bean-counting game.