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Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:14 AM

No, Ms. Coulter. Affirmative Action Was No 'Silver Spoon' for Barack Obama

Last edited Fri Apr 20, 2012, 10:37 AM - Edit history (1)

IT'S a funny argument Ann Coulter is making because she's going to have to either accept that affirmative action actually gave minority individuals a lift to provide for the educational advantages and the rest of the opportunities that folks like Barack Obama and others who happen to be black may have used to pull themselves up the economic or social ladder, or, Coulter has to admit that those opportunities wouldn't have been there for folks like Barack Obama without affirmative action. She can't have it every which way she pleases.

"I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth," Obama said in his remarks on the campus of an Ohio community college. "Michelle wasn't. But somebody gave us a chance - just like these folks up here are looking for a chance."

" . . . the silver spoon Obama got," Coulter complained, "— I mean that generation, it can’t be denied, you can’t support affirmative action and then pretend it doesn’t exist. You don’t transfer from Occidental . . . to a fine Ivy League university like Columbia if you’re not checking off ‘black’ on your application. So you know, the silver spoon since I’ve been alive has been an affirmative action silver spoon.”

So Coulter admits that affirmative action opened up the doors of institutions like Columbia to blacks who had previously not been able to crack the artificial barrier. It's not as if the man who was subsequently elected president of the Harvard Law Review was somehow unqualified for entrance into Columbia. His attendance there was very likely the result of the push for wider access for blacks to these 'ivy-league' colleges and universities. But it's, of course, false to suggest that this was some sort of unfair advantage for the handful of blacks in the beginning of Obama's time -- and the line of others who managed to follow him into that institution.

Moreover, it's just absurd to suggest that the opportunity Barack Obama took advantage of somehow elevated him to the same level of opportunity and future as someone who was not a minority and had personal wealth to enable them in their educational and employment successes.

Of course, Coulter probably knows this well, but, if she's speaking to her rabid, scapegoating base of republican voters, she's going to find agreement among them with her race-baiting nonsense. The rest of us just can't be as stupid to assume that being black during Barack Obama's formative years was anything but a generational challenge, or, that those who took advantage of affirmative action were anything more than worthy and qualified, as they weren't guaranteed or even positioned to completely overcome the vestiges and roadblocks of that racism and discrimination at the heart of the remedies and assistance offered.

The success that the President achieved in his lifetime was all on his own initiative, despite needing the lever that affirmative action provided to open the doors of opportunity which had been closed to blacks and other minorities for decades and decades after the enumeration of those rights under the Constitution. The federal government's enforcement and upward mobility assistance made those rights in the Constitution a reality for black Americans. Coulter obviously regrets this. Shame.

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Reply No, Ms. Coulter. Affirmative Action Was No 'Silver Spoon' for Barack Obama (Original post)
bigtree Apr 2012 OP
Scuba Apr 2012 #1
deutsey Apr 2012 #2
MrScorpio Apr 2012 #3
lukkadairish Apr 2012 #4
DCKit Apr 2012 #11
Fresh_Start Apr 2012 #5
whathehell Apr 2012 #6
xtraxritical Apr 2012 #38
whathehell Apr 2012 #44
usrname Apr 2012 #24
joshcryer Apr 2012 #30
joshcryer Apr 2012 #29
spanone Apr 2012 #7
AlbertCat Apr 2012 #34
zbdent Apr 2012 #8
GoCubsGo Apr 2012 #9
rocktivity Apr 2012 #10
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Apr 2012 #57
Tom Ripley Apr 2012 #12
bigtree Apr 2012 #13
closeupready Apr 2012 #14
bigtree Apr 2012 #15
closeupready Apr 2012 #17
truebrit71 Apr 2012 #16
PotatoChip Apr 2012 #18
Skittles Apr 2012 #19
gratuitous Apr 2012 #20
LadyHawkAZ Apr 2012 #21
marshall gaines Apr 2012 #22
Fearless Apr 2012 #23
SemperEadem Apr 2012 #25
MyOwnPeace Apr 2012 #26
SemperEadem Apr 2012 #28
Number23 Apr 2012 #43
Zax2me Apr 2012 #27
NICO9000 Apr 2012 #31
DallasNE Apr 2012 #32
AlbertCat Apr 2012 #35
SunSeeker Apr 2012 #33
nxylas Apr 2012 #36
The Wizard Apr 2012 #37
McCamy Taylor Apr 2012 #39
maddezmom Apr 2012 #42
McCamy Taylor Apr 2012 #40
deurbano Apr 2012 #41
Generic Other Apr 2012 #45
Honeycombe8 Apr 2012 #46
bigtree Apr 2012 #48
Honeycombe8 Apr 2012 #51
Honeycombe8 Apr 2012 #47
bigtree Apr 2012 #49
Honeycombe8 Apr 2012 #50
bigtree Apr 2012 #52
deurbano Apr 2012 #53
Honeycombe8 Apr 2012 #54
deurbano Apr 2012 #55
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Apr 2012 #56

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:16 AM

1. Ann, you dumb shit, you just made his case.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:18 AM

2. Coulter can stick her silver spoon up her scrawny ass n/t

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:19 AM

3. Is she saying that white people have those opportunities in spite of the lack of Affirmative Action?

That this kind of thing happens all the time, if you're white and rich?

Is that her argument for equivalency, that Affirmative Action is the same as class and race privilege?

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:23 AM

4. Wow......just Wow

Lets link this to let all the independent voters weigh in on this nonsense

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Response to lukkadairish (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:52 AM

11. Don't forget the AA voters.

 

I'm sure they'd appreciate her views on affirmative action being = (if not greater) than race and class privilege in getting ahead in the U.S.. After all, African Americans have never been more successful, right? What other group emerged from the economic meltdown as unscathed as Black people?

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:31 AM

5. Ann, you also rode the back of affirmative action

because there weren't so many opportunities for women either before civil rights legislation

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Response to Fresh_Start (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:35 AM

6. Exactly...n/t

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Response to whathehell (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 05:59 PM

38. Coulter's as full of shit as Nugent's pants.

 

They make stinking lovely couple.

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #38)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 10:15 PM

44. Such a way with words, lol!

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Response to Fresh_Start (Reply #5)


Response to usrname (Reply #24)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 08:27 PM

30. Please have an edit on your post.

Thanks!

edit: the t-word is unkind.

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Response to Fresh_Start (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 08:26 PM

29. +1, affirmative action helped women big time.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:36 AM

7. i don't listen to what this woman has to say. it's irrelevant to everything.

hate is a cheap commodity.

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Response to spanone (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 06:05 AM

34. it's irrelevant to everything.

Even to her. She doesn't care about AA or any of the stuff she whines about. She cares for one thing only.... Ann.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:44 AM

8. people, people, people!!! If standards were applied to Conservatives/Republicans as they were

applied to Dems/Libs ...

Let's say ... Dan Rather. He used a document that might POSSIBLY be questionable. Never proven. He was dismissed from the national discussion as "unprofessional" and not credible.

This woman called VP/Presidential candidate John Edwards a homosexual. Technically, she called him (and I will use this word) A FAGGOT.

If that hasn't been proven false, and thus calling AC's credibility into question, nothing will.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:44 AM

9. Is this the same Ann Coulter who likes to mock Keith Olbermann...

...because he got his degree via the Cornell Ag. school, while she got hers in the more expensive, private, "real" Cornell?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/06/keith-olbermann-ann-coult_n_172438.html

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:45 AM

10. Affirmative action was a "silver spoon" for white women, too

Last edited Fri Apr 20, 2012, 11:00 AM - Edit history (2)

and sometimes as the expense of white AND non-white men.

Down, girl -- DOWN!!!




rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 09:27 PM

57. Don't insult dogs.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:55 AM

12. Did it not also open the door to Cornell for Coulter?

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 10:38 AM

13. kick

. . . changed the title to make it a rebuttal instead of just an amplifier for Coulter's statement.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 10:39 AM

14. who cares what she thinks.

nt

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Response to closeupready (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 10:46 AM

15. it's actually not a notion that's limited to her own thinking

. . . and I thought it prescient to respond to it today since it was made in reference to the President's remarks yesterday and has generated quite a few headlines with that sentiment that has such a simple appeal for simple minds. I'm never comfortable letting nonsense like this float around without a response.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 11:01 AM

17. No, I understand, I wasn't directing that at you -

I was just venting, like saying, she's irrelevant, or "Ann who?" That's all.

Posting the comments as you did was fine.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 10:47 AM

16. In a just country this hag would be on the street soaked in her own urine yelling at traffic...

...but due to the "liberal media" she gets to make millions of dollars a year peddling hatred and fear...

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 11:25 AM

18. If Coulter's remarks are supposed to be about

who is most deserving or qualified to receive an Ivy league education and who is not, then why not acknowledge that money (and being born white) has been by far the most unfair advantage, historically speaking. And still is now imo, even with affirmative action considered.

Affirmative action only seeks to balance that unfair advantage and, while helpful, does not fully compensate for money and white privilege.

GWB is an excellent example of this. Despite the expensive prep school he attended (Andover), his SAT scores were at barely acceptable levels for Yale. GWB had already been given a leg-up with his childhood education (thanks to money). Unlike Barack and Michelle Obama, GWB had access to the best education (and probably tutors) that money can buy, yet came away from it w/only slightly above mediocre SAT scores.

Meanwhile, the Obamas managed to excel academically with none of that available to them in their formative years. I don't know what their SAT score(s) were, but I'm willing to bet that they both had scores far superior to GWB's. Seriously, if either Barack or Michelle were not qualified, then how can anyone explain why they both did so well in their college years, while GWB barely eeked by?

Yet, despite all of this, pre-affirmative action, the first couple would likely never have had the chance to attend an Ivy league college. You want to talk about fairness Ann? How is that "fair"???

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 02:02 PM

19. LOL.....as opposed to Dubya, who got into the Ivy league base SOLELY on his intellect

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Response to Skittles (Reply #19)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 02:05 PM

20. Now why did that very thought occur to me?

I'll see your and raise you a

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 02:15 PM

21. "Skinny White Woman Flaps Ignorant Lips About Black Male Privilege"

No News At 11.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 02:16 PM

22. idiot

 

coulter is an idiot. simple logic for the simple minded.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 02:41 PM

23. What a moron. Just go away. n/t

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 05:17 PM

25. Affirmative Action

benefited white women like coulter far more than black people.

http://www.theroot.com/views/real-affirmative-action-babies

so she doesn't get to go from wherever she attended undergrad to wherever she attended law school without checking "female" on the application, either. She has that very same "silver spoon" in her mouth, too. Without AA in place when she applied for law school, she would not have been admitted--she'd have been expected to get married and breed. Mona Lisa Smile is a good movie to remind people like her of what life was like back then for white women with ambition for career instead of marriage and motherhood.

She just stepped into quicksand and is too stupid to stop squirming because it will only make her sink faster.

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Response to SemperEadem (Reply #25)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 05:42 PM

26. More "Ann?"

"she'd have been expected to get married and breed."

Man, THAT thought sends terrible chills down my back!

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Response to MyOwnPeace (Reply #26)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 08:21 PM

28. I know... right?

it's just stunning how this rhetoric being bandied about these days is thinly masquerading as exactly that sentiment--it's just a semantics game. Where does coulter think she would be, unmarried woman that she is, if AA didn't exist to say that women are full, complete beings in their own right and as such, have a right to determine for themselves their own professional destinies away from attachment to the male if that is their desire? It's because women were not allowed in traditionally "male" professions (anything other than nursing, teaching and secretarial jobs). One only has to watch "Mad Men" to see that. And it wasn't as nostalgic with the great clothes that that show is putting forward. Better still, watch "Mona Lisa Smile". That movie should make a thinking woman really angry and relieved that this isn't 1952.

She'd have been steered towards being a secretary/clerk or a nurse or a teacher by the time she was old enough to determine she wanted a career in law. It's because of AA that she has been able to enjoy the freedom to choose her profession and she'd be a fool to think otherwise. Perhaps she knows, but she's playing to her audience who don't have a good track record of knowing the truth; rather, they preferred being told what to think and that's what makes her dangerous.

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Response to SemperEadem (Reply #25)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 10:14 PM

43. Great post.

Thanks for that.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 05:49 PM

27. Oh good lord. She still around?!

 

I never hear or see her anymore.
Thought she was has-been already.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 11:18 PM

31. I believe her father made his living as a union-busting lawyer

There's a job that pays well. Certainly more $ than Obama had growing up with just a single mom as support.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 11:23 PM

32. Last 3 Republicans Are Legacy Folks

They go to the head of the line, even in front of affirmative action members. So, how does Coulter feel about Legacy students?

Also, it is necessary to keep in mind that all affirmative action members have passed the qualification requirements. All affirmative action does is to open that first door. All of the doors after that have to be opened by the student. In Obama's case he opened all the doors up to and including President of the Harvard Law Review. Bush and McCain never came close. Romney was much better but still fell short of the lofty position Obama held. So, what was Coulter point again -- indeed, did she even have one.

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Response to DallasNE (Reply #32)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 06:11 AM

35. So, what was Coulter point again

HE'S BLACK! HE'S BLACK!

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 01:12 AM

33. Affirmative action just gives you an opportunity, not a degree.

Obama still had to earn that degree. And getting through three years of law school after a disadvantaged youth is no picnic. No one is feeding you with a silver spoon.

Colter, on the other hand, had all the advantages growing up. And when she was in college, she didn't have to worry about how to pay for it--or worry about how her mom was going to pay for her cancer treatment, or how her grandparents in Hawaii would be able to scrape together enough to cover her books & rent so she didn't have to cut into her study time with a low-paying student job.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #33)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 07:50 AM

36. Not in the rightwingoverse

In the rightwingoverse (thank you, Tom Tomorrow!) black people don't have to earn anything. White liberals are so afraid of offending them that they hand them degrees, jobs, you name it, that they would have never been able to earn on their own, being stupid and lazy. Baggers would deny believing this of course, but it's the subtext of practically everything they say.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 05:38 PM

37. The second hand whore

and presstitute has no morals and no soul. She couldn't fetch a second look at a Sudanese slave auction.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 06:32 PM

39. Ironic, coming from a woman who used peroxide and growth hormone to make

herself a token woman in the man's world of right wing hate.

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #39)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 09:05 PM

42. could you elaborate on what you mean here?

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 06:34 PM

40. Do you think she knows that the RW uses her because she makes women look dumb?

Gotta love the mixed metaphor. In my neighborhood, affirmative active came with a plastic spoon. Or maybe a plastic spork.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 09:03 PM

41. Obama vs. Bush/Cheney/McCain

Pres. Obama may have benefited from affirmative action… but not as much as Bush benefited from being a legacy and a male. Bush was a mediocre high school student who got into Yale (no women allowed at the time)… then, a C student (Gentlemen’s C?) at Yale who was subsequently admitted to Harvard Business School! And Pres. Obama didn’t go directly to the Ivy League; he got into Columbia as a transfer student. (Maybe he had a geographical advantage—coming from Hawaii—since elite schools like to have a geographical mix.) Also… someone should remind Coulter that Obama didn’t flunk out of the Ivy League like Cheney did… but in fact, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law. And, of course, McCain graduated near the bottom of his class at Annapolis (894th out of 899)…and it was only his father’s and grandfather’s legacies/connections that got him into the school in the first place.

Obama at Harvard: <<In dozens of conversations, not a single person said anything negative about him, and some were hardly the senator's political fellow travelers. Also noteworthy is that virtually everyone seemed to know Obama. Usually people who have such a high profile on law school campuses have their detractors. Obama apparently didn't… The only reason I bring this barely relevant history up is to show what a stud of a law student Barack Obama was. He graduated Harvard magna cum laude. This was one honor you unquestionably had to earn... Barack Obama graduated right near the top of his law school class…. That fact, along with his presidency of the Law Review, makes his uniform popularity all the more impressive. Law schools are intensely competitive places. People who thrive to an unseemly extent, as Obama did, are usually subject to an array of resentments.>> http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/316vvyov.asp?page=1


Bush at Andover: <<Bush kept up with the work but was an average student who never made the honor roll, according to his year book. He was considered a solid athlete – he played varsity basketball and baseball his senior year – but he was never among the class stars….Within months of his arrival, Bush was seen as a campus mover, not on the strength his intellect or his athletic achievements, but by sheer force of personality. Bush was nicknamed "Lip" because he had an opinion on everything – and sometimes a tongue sharper than necessary….Bush almost instinctively managed to always be in the center of the action, an ubiquitous, noisy presence at school events. He was the head football cheerleader his senior year, a member of his class rock-and-roll band, the Torqueys – not singing or playing an instrument but clapping – and organizer of the school's stickball league.>> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/bush072799.htm

Cheney and Yale: <<However, Bush’s Yale experience went significantly better than Vice President Dick Cheney’s. Cheney actually flunked out of Yale… In fact, young Dick Cheney had a bit of wild youth. He was arrested twice for drunk driving charges in the early 1960s in Wyoming, where he worked as a lineman for a power company. He did finally go back to school, although, as the New York Times has suggested, this may have had more to do with wanting to avoid getting drafted into Vietnam than it did with wanting to get an education… In 1963, Cheney enrolled at Casper Community College in Casper, Wyoming. Later that year, he transferred to the University of Wyoming at Laramie, where he earned a BA and an MA in political science.>>
http://www.eduinreview.com/blog/2008/10/college-records-of-dick-cheney-show-he-failed-out-of-yale/

McCain at Annapolis: <<"He was a huge screw-off," recalls Butler. "He was always on probation. The only reason he graduated was because of his father and his grandfather — they couldn't exactly get rid of him…."McCain's self-described "four-year course of insubordination" ended with him graduating fifth from the bottom — 894th out of a class of 899. It was a record of mediocrity he would continue as a pilot.>>http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/make-believe-maverick-20081016#ixzz1siq8JzCs

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Apr 21, 2012, 11:22 PM

45. That affirmative action silver spoon largely helps blonde white women, Ann

Check the statistics. Women are the ones who have mostly benefited from "protected class" status. Women like you Ann. Believe it or not, they didn't typically give first consideration to women's applications at Ivy League colleges before Affirmative Action either. You Ann can thank feminists and African Americans for your chance to get to the front of the line too.

When I look at Obama, I see a deserving well qualified working class kid having doors opened to him because of AA. When I look at you, I see a very mediocre person being given a chance to advance not because you are qualified but because you are willing to debase yourself continuously for money and notoriety. When the doors were opened for you, you tried to bar them against any who came after you. That is the difference between you and him.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 08:28 AM

46. I don't believe that aff. action came into play with Obama getting into Harvard.

He had the grades, etc. Then he was voted by his peers to be the editor of the Harvard Law Review, a highly presitigious position often held by people who went on to have distinguished careers - Supreme Court Justices and of course, now, POTUS.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #46)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 08:51 AM

48. 'undoubtedly benefited from affirmative-action programs'

Obama wrote in the Harvard Law Record, “As someone who has undoubtedly benefited from affirmative-action programs during my career, and as someone who may have benefited from the Law Review’s affirmative-action program when I was selected to join the Review last year, I have not personally felt stigmatized . . .”
http://books.google.com/books?id=F6HAasv2v-4C&pg=PA215&lpg=PA215&dq=Harvard+Law+Record,+%E2%80%9CAs+someone+who+has+undoubtedly+benefited+from+affirmative-action+programs&source=bl&ots=lymYwOnxyb&sig=_nk9gVPsV3h58YPrZuYA-ucg8ak&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qPuTT-fBD4Gq2gWoptSMBQ&ved=0CGwQ6AEwDA#v=onepage&q&f=false


Now, this passage from David Remnick's book has been used to buttress and bolster statements like Coulter's; most notably, Trump's almost identical criticism which claimed that Barack Obama's grades mightn't have been enough for him to gain admission to Columbia.

The counter argument to all of this, I think, is that the very fact that a beneficiary of affirmative action went on to become Senator and President. The subsequent academic and career achievement by Mr. Obama is a tribute and a testament to the program's success and merit.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #48)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 09:59 AM

51. I see. I hate to hear this. nt

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 08:32 AM

47. I've always thought this is the problem w/Aff. Action.

People who are qualified but are admitted or hired under Affirmative Action laws - that's great for them at the time, but people will never know if they really deserved what they got, or if it was only because of their minority status. It feeds the perception that maybe they're not good enough to get in on their own qualifications.



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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #47)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 08:55 AM

49. I just posted a quote of Obama's from Remnick's biography. Here's the letter Barack Obama wrote

To the Editor:

Since the merits of the Law Review’s selection policy has been the subject of commentary for the last three issues, I’d like to take the time to clarify exactly how our selection process works.

As our Treasurer, Lisa Hay, explained in your first article on our selection policy (October 12th), all students who wish to become editors of the Law Review participate in a writing competition at the end of their first year. The entire writing competition is conducted on a double-blind basis, to ensure absolute anonymity. Each submission is graded by at least three different Review editors to help decrease the effects that any particular editor’s subjective opinions may have on the final scores.

Once all the writing competition submissions have been graded, these scores, as well as the law school transcripts of all those who have chosen to release the, are submitted to a Selection Committee made up of the President ad two other Review editors who have been elected by their fellow editors.

The Selection Committee first identifies the group of candidates whose excellent performance, either in the classroom or on the writing competition, sets them apart. (Approximately half of this first batch is chosen solely on their performance on the writing competition; the other half are selected on a weighted formula of 70 percent grades and 30 percent writing competition.) The Selection Committee must then choose the remaining editors from a pool of qualified candidates whose grades or writing competition scores do not significantly differ. It is at this stage that the Law Review as for several years instituted an affirmative action policy for historically underrepresented groups: out of this pool, the Selection Committee may take race or physical handicap into account in making their final decision, if the Selection Committee believes that such affirmative action will enhance the representativeness of the incoming class. On the other hand, the Selection Committee may find that given the make-up of the first batch of candidates, such considerations are unnecessary. In no event is the Selection Committee required to meet any set quotas.

Once final selections are made, all writing competition material is destroyed. No editors on the Review will ever know whether any given editor was selected on the basis of grades, writing competition, or affirmative action, and no editors who were selected with affirmative action in mind.

The Review as a body feels that the success of the program speaks for itself. The vigor of debate and the wide range of perspectives that results from our current selection process have not been purchased at the price of any “lower standard” of editorial excellence; in fact, our program argues for the proposition that diversity can and should be the companion of quality legal scholarship.

This isn’t to say that our selection procedures are ideal. No matter how anonymous the process, we are in the difficult and unusual position of evaluating our peers; indeed, the absolute necessity of anonymity prevents us from making the nuanced evaluations that a law school admissions office might make. As a result, the design of the selection process – including not only affirmative action but also the use of the writing competition or the use of grades – has been an important subject of discussion for each volume of the Review. As I stated in the first Record article, we decided last year as a body that based on the percentage of women in the Law School and our previous success of attracting a large number of women to editorial and leadership posts at the Review, an affirmative action program for women was unnecessary. Because of the drop-off of women editors this year, that policy is subject to change if the majority of Review editors think it’s appropriate. In the meantime, we’ve been in contact with members of the WLA (Women's Law Association) to ensure that we effectively recruit women to participate in this year’s competition.

Let me end by emphasizing that the Review is committed to including the widest range of viewpoints on its editorial staff, and strongly encourages 1L women and men of all backgrounds and ideological stripes to participate in this year’s writing competition.

I’d also like to add one personal note, in response to the letter from Mr. Jim Chen which was published in the October 26 issue of the RECORD, and which articulated broad objections to the Review’s general affirmative action policy. I respect Mr. Chen’s personal concern over the possible stigmatizing effects of affirmative action, and do not question the depth or sincerity of his feelings. I must say, however, that as someone who has undoubtedly benefited from affirmative action programs during my academic career, and as someone who may have benefited from the Law Review’s affirmative action policy when I was selected to join the Review last year, I have not personally felt stigmatized either within the broader law school community or as a staff member of the Review. Indeed, my election last year as President of the Review would seem to indicate that at least among Review staff, and hopefully for the majority of professors at Harvard, affirmative action in no way tarnishes the accomplishments of those who are members of historically underrepresented groups.

I would therefore agree with the suggestion that in the future, our concern in this area is most appropriately directed at any employer who would even insinuate that someone with Mr. Chen’s extraordinary record of academic success might be somehow unqualified for work in a corporate law firm, or that such success might be somehow undeserved. Such attributes speak less to the merits or problems of affirmative action policies, and more to the tragically deep-rooted ignorance and bias that exists in the legal community and our society at large.

Barack Obama

President, Harvard Law Review
Published November 16, 1990

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Response to bigtree (Reply #49)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 09:57 AM

50. I still think that's the general perception of aff. action.

Even though a recipient of it may not personally feel stigma from it doesn't mean the stigma doesn't exist.

It was useful for awhile, to try to get the workplace and colleges more integrated (with minorities of all types). I don't think it's really needed anymore, though. Universities have embraced diversity, as have workplaces, for the most part. For those who haven't, there are ways around aff. action. It's better to be able to say you got into Harvard of your own accord and not because of aff. action, in the end. Just like the others who went, not under aff. action, everyone knows they got in because of their qualifications.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #50)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 10:16 AM

52. who is to decide whether there's a stigma?

. . . and who out there is saying that there is one?

I ask this, mostly rhetorically, because this isn't a popular perception among the vast number of African Americans, or among the vast majority of those in the African American academic or political community, either.

It's not a question that hasn't been asked -- or a point that hasn't been raised and addressed. I just wonder who you believe should answer that question? Do you believe policy should be crafted or adjusted to reflect that 'stigma' that you're concerned with?

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #50)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 02:39 PM

53. Why should only racial preferences be stigmatized?

Students are getting all kinds of preferences in admissions. Why should only racial preferences be stigmatized? (Bush certainly didn't seem stigmatized by the legacy advantage he enjoyed and even joked about being a C student; in fact, I imagine most legacy and development admissions students feel "entitled" not "stigmatized".) In addition, I consider a more diverse campus to be an advantage to everyone who attends a school. And there are all kinds of “diversity”. As I mentioned in a previous post, Obama may have even gotten a bit of a preference for being from Hawaii. I also mentioned Cheney flunking out of Yale. If he was that unprepared (or unmotivated… or whatever), how did he get into Yale in the first place? Maybe coming from a small state like Wyoming gave him an advantage? (And, of course, at that time, 50% of the high school student population was excluded from the competition, so his gender helped him, too.) Is it “fair” that some students are born in states with fewer Ivy League applicants to compete with?

I think these days it would be harder to be admitted to a very selective school *SOLELY on the basis of the longstanding “affirmative action” provided by legacy (or other connections to money and power), as Bush and McCain so obviously were, but it would still give an advantage and a preference to students at most elite schools. Non-legacy affirmative action evens the playing field a bit (legacy applicants have traditionally been white)-- with a little extra preference for already well qualified students competing with a gazillion other well qualified students. (Like extra preference for playing a sport few other kids play…or for playing a less popular instrument… or for coming from a less represented state.) Any problems with affirmative action would have to do with kids arriving at the school who are not able to succeed. In the old days, poor students like McCain and Bush were allowed to progress to graduation, anyway (Cheney didn’t seem to have their connections)… but Obama certainly doesn’t fit into this category since he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law. Affirmative action may have helped secure him the opportunity, but he succeeded on his own merits.

*Unless the legacy parent actually goes ahead and buys a wing of the school (for 30 million dollars), as Meg Whitman did at Princeton, opening up 500 extra student spots, and guaranteeing her (seemingly) highly UNqualified sons two spaces. The legacy component would have given her sons preference, but the development contribution pretty much guaranteed admission.

http://www.salon.com/2010/08/25/meg_whitman_son_jerk/
http://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/02/q1/0204-whitman.htm

Interesting articles on the various “hooks” that help get students admitted to selective colleges:
Part 1:
http://www.education.com/reference/article/selective-colleges-look-applicant/
Part 2:
http://www.education.com/reference/article/what-selective-college-look-applicant/

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Response to deurbano (Reply #53)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 03:06 PM

54. I didn't use the word "racial" at all. I guess that's what you assume aff. action is?

That's part of the problem I was referring to. People assume it's a program used for Af. Americans to get jobs and into schools they're otherwise not qualified for.

It's actually a statistical guideline used for a range of minorities (age, gender, ethnicity, disability, race).

Your post is all over the place. My point was really a simple one:

Public perception of:

I graduated from Yale, through an affirmative action program.
VS
I graduated from Yale.

Anyone to meet those two people would assume the latter is more qualified, since he got into Yale based on his own grade and extracurricular activities.

(Note: This does not apply to rich white men. There is no stigma for them about schools or jobs, etc. So your statement about Bush and Cheney don't apply. No rich white guy has ever gotten into any school or job because of affirmative action. Yes, people thought ill of Bush having gotten into Yale because of Daddy....but it didn't matter. He's a rich white guy. It doesn't matter what others think about him using his connections to further his career.)

Just sayin'. It's out there, whether people admit it or not. The program is easily gotten around, too, if a business wants to.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #54)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 09:13 PM

55. Coulter was referring to race-based affirmative action.

I referred to race-based affirmative action in college admissions because this thread is in response to Ann Coulter’s comments on race-based affirmative action in college admissions:

<<”…Mitt Romney gave away all the money he inherited. He made it on his own… And the silver spoon Obama got — I mean that generation, it can’t be denied, you can’t support affirmative action and then pretend it doesn’t exist. You don’t transfer from Occidental, which by his own accounts in his autobiography he mostly spent smoking pot, to a fine Ivy League university like Columbia if you’re not checking off ‘black’ on your application. So you know, the silver spoon since I’ve been alive has been an affirmative action silver spoon.”>>

(Ann Romney recently said her husband paid their way through BYU by cashing in the American Motors stock his dad had given him... which means he obviously didn’t give away “all the money he inherited,” and didn’t “make it on his own”… so Coulter was lying, as usual, and her argument just continued to go downhill from there.)

While I understand affirmative action can cover other groups, when I read or hear about the “problem” of a stigma connected to affirmative action, race/ethnicity is almost always the attribute singled out. My own daughter with a profound disability benefited from preferential admissions at Cal… but while she has certainly experienced stigma in her life, it hasn’t stemmed from the preference she received in college admissions. (I believe most African American and Latino graduates of elite universities have also experienced harsher sources of stigmatization than affirmative action.)

What I was saying (and I don’t agree my post was "all over the place”) is that affirmative action is just one form of admissions preference among many. Why should someone who has benefited from affirmative action feel stigmatized and/or be stigmatized by others (like Ann Coulter) when the recipients of other preferences (whether due to legacy, a family’s financial contribution to a college, geography, etc.) are not? There are far more students qualified to attend the most selective colleges than there are spaces. Affirmative action is just ONE of the “hooks” (as mentioned in the articles I linked in my previous post) that can provide an advantage.

If the point you are making is that colleges should eliminate affirmative action because the “public perception” of affirmative action stigmatizes minority graduates of elite universities, I would respond that public perception is often wrong… and the remedy for that is not to capitulate to ignorance but to better inform the “public” (in question).

Public perception:

I have a Harvard degree and I grew up in Wyoming.
VS
I have a Harvard degree.

There is no difference in public perception because the public doesn’t realize the student from Wyoming may have had an admissions advantage just for being from an underrepresented state like Wyoming…. in the same way the public doesn’t tend to know of other admissions preferences since virtually all the complaining is about race and ethnicity. So… eliminate the ignorance. Affirmative action is just the entry point preference/opportunity; the student still has to earn the degree.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2012, 09:26 PM

56. But according to Ann

Their blacks are better than our blacks.

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