Affirmative Action Increases the Weight of Race

by Carol Iannone

A review of a new book about the Obama marriage describes the first couple’s well-educated and successful African-American friends. Several are physicians and a couple are wealthy businessmen. In the words of the author of the review, “They talk about how African-Americans of their class and generation feel the weight of race most acutely in relation to affirmative action, sensing that whites often think they have not truly earned their place at Harvard or Princeton or on the medical faculty.” (Emphasis added)

Imagine, they’re bosom buddies with the president of the United States, and they still have this insecurity, although the review goes on to say that “they soft-pedal such discomforts.” That’s big of them. This proves true what critics of affirmative action have said from the very beginning, that racial favoritism would have a stigmatizing effect. Such favoritism also clearly perpetuates racial self-consciousness instead of allowing it to dissipate, and thus calls forth a demand for more remedies to relieve the “weight of race.”

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