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Tote Board Column -- 3/20 -- Race Gets in the Race

    This week's Tote Board column looks at how the issue of race and affirmative action may be beginning to cripple the Obama campaign.

  • Tyler said:

    An outstanding column, Steven.  The point you make, that while most Americans don't consider racism per se as a divisive issue, racial issues -- privilege and assistance -- are extremely divisive, and uncomfortable issues for liberals to discuss.  Any election that hinges on an issue like affirmative action (or "reparations") will go against the minority candidate.

    What made Obama's speech extraordinary (and what gives me hope for his candidacy) was his willingness (eagerness?) to connect racism and affirmative action as a single issue and to attempt to emphasize the issues of privilege and prejudice in his campaign, not simply to repudiate the comments of his minister and "put the issue behind him".  

    It is a very risky move, and while we "liberal media elites" may applaud, we won't know the impact of the message until the people who go to church every Sunday and fear for their jobs every Monday get to vote.  What Obama asked for -- a more perfect union -- has not been seriously discussed since Johnson's Great Society.

    March 21, 2008 1:16 PM
  • LorenzoJennifer said:

    Court-ordered school busing was implemented to reduce racial imbalance in the public schools.  The program continues to achieve its objectives, for the most part, of busing poor inner-city children of color to affluent, well-staffed and highly-accredited suburban schools.  A tragic consequence of these programs is that poor white school children are neglected and left behind to deal with vastly inferior inner-city public schools. Attempts to achieve racial equality are to be commended.  Regrettably, though, a new inequality is created - one based on educational opportunity and all that follows. An inequality that affects poor white children and those children of color not lucky enough to participate in a forced busing program.

    John Edwards, former North Carolina Senator and now Director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina, is probably the first presidential candidate since Robert F. Kennedy to directly address issue concerning poor people, regardless of color.  Edwards is still holding on to his 56 primary delegates. The North Carolina primary is after Pennsylvania's. If Edwards does what eventually proves to be the right thing, he could become Secretary of Labor in a new incoming Democratic administration.

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    May 23, 2008 8:54 AM

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