Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Election Day Cometh/Affirmative Action as an Election Issue

November 3rd, 2008 by Ajuan Mance

Ward Connerly in one of his lighter moments.

Black on Campus hopes that you will consider the potential impact of tomorrow’s election on the future of education for Black men and women throughout the African diaspora.

One of the key issues in higher ed that could be dramatically impacted by the presidential election is that of affirmative action. Whether the winning ticket is Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin, affirmative action is likely to change. The changes that are likely to take place, however, vary from candidate to candidate.

Barack Obama’s comments on the topic (described in an earlier blogpost) suggest that he would favor a more nuanced approach to the policy, one that might still take into account an applicant’s race, but within the larger context of his or her socio-economic status. Click HERE to read my most recent blogpost on this issue.

Curiously enough, Obama’s suggestion that economic privilege might exclude some Black people from receiving affirmative action considerations has drawn an enthusiastic response from a most likely figure, the notorious affirmative action oponent, Ward Connerly. reporter Ben Smith describes Connerly’s perspectives on a possible Obama presidency:

Among the California voters suffused with hope at the prospect of the election of Barack Obama is one Ward Connerly.

He supports Senator John McCain out of small-government principle, but on the cause for which Connerly is best known—the drive to end the programs referred to by most as “affirmative action” and by him as “race preferences”—he says of a potential Obama administration: “I’m hopeful.”

“[Obama] is a very, very bright man who thinks through the nuances of issues and I cannot help believe he realizes the inherent flaw in race preferences,” Connerly, 69, said in a telephone interview last week. “If you listen to him carefully, you cannot help but think he is really torn by this issue, and that he is leaning in the direction of socio-economic affirmative action instead of race preferences.”

Whatever your opinions on affirmative action or any other issues, be sure to take the time to cast your ballot. Celebrate Democracy. Vote your issues, and vote your conscience.

Happy Election Day!

Posted by Ajuan Mance

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Posted in Affirmative Action, African Americans, Barack Obama, Current Events, Higher Education, John McCain, race, Ward Connerly

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