Washington Post opinion columnist Ruth Marcus went online today to answer questions. Here’s one, and her answer:
Herndon, Va.: Is an Obama Presidency the end of Affirmative Action? After all, won’t it be incredibly unfair for a kid mailing in her college application from the White House to receive preferential treatment while a kid with better grades from the wrong side of the tracks doesn’t — just because of his race?
Ruth Marcus: Sen. Obama has actually made the point that his daughters may be in a much better position than someone, as you say, from the wrong side of the tracks. But I also think that both Sen. and Mrs. Obama would talk about the importance of affirmative action, practiced appropriately, and the positive role it played in their own successes.
Exactly one year ago yesterday I wrote (here) that we would begin to get some idea of where Barack Obama stands on racial preferences only “when someone asks him whether he believes his daughters deserve preferential treatment because of the color of their (or his) skin.”
No one did. Then, a little over eight months ago Obama stated that his daughters “probably” didn’t deserve preferences because they are “pretty advantaged.” Still, no one asked him if he opposed other “advantaged” minorities continuing to receive preferences because of their race. (See here, here, here, here, and here.)
So far as I know, no one has asked him yet. Nor have I seen either Sen. or Mrs. Obama discuss “the positive role [affirmative action] played in their own successes.” (If I’ve missed such a discussion, which is entirely possible, I trust someone will point me to it.) I would like to see their comments on this subject.
Do either or both of them believe they would not have been admitted to Princeton or Columbia or Harvard without preferential treatment based on their race? Whether she’s proud of it or not, does Mrs. Obama believe that she received preferential treatment based on her race when she was hired by the law firm and hospital that hired her?
Given Sen. Obama’s often professed desire to “transcend” race, I find it more and more surprising that the press has not pressed him on these matters.