The Magazine

Excluding by Race

Mar 10, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 25 • By TERRY EASTLAND
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Obama has been criticized by liberals within his party for having done little specifically to help minorities, blacks in particular. The new initiative is his response, but the racial classifications it indulges will teach, as Justice Potter Stewart once put it, “that people can, and perhaps should, view themselves and others in terms of their racial characteristics.” Obama ought to open the initiative to all and use socioeconomic criteria that are color- and sex-neutral to determine which young people need help in staying on track and reaching their full potential.

White House sources told certain media outlets on February 10 that the press office would be distributing information on the initiative on February 13. That didn’t happen until February 27.

We have a hunch why. The lawyers have been in knots over it, wondering how to save it from unconstitutionality. They won’t be able to. Someone in the White House should advise the president, who once aspired to transcend race, who once spoke movingly of how we are “one people,” that his initiative needs fundamental correction.

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