College and University Administrators: Look for an Expected Backlash From the Election of Barack Obama

The election of Barack Obama as president of the United States is expected to produce solid advances in the educational opportunities of blacks and other racial minorities.

Nevertheless, Obama’s election to the presidency is likely to encourage right-wing opposition to educational initiatives that are currently part of the Obama educational agenda.

Here is the thrust of the arguments that we expect opponents of further aid to minorities in higher education are likely to make:

“We gave you 40 years of affirmative action in which African-American students with substandard SAT scores frequently were admitted to colleges in preference to better qualified white kids.”

“In some cases college and university faculty have given black students more favorable grades than equal grading standards would call for.”

“Sometimes we have even broken the law in covertly setting up special college scholarships earmarked for African-American students.”

“In some cases, in fact, we have lowered academic standards in recruiting African-American faculty and college administrators.”

“Sometimes we have tenured African-American academics in preference to better qualified whites.”

“Many of our colleges and universities have poured resources into black studies initiatives in opposition to the wishes of very large numbers of our faculties.”

“We have recruited black trustees to the boards of our colleges and universities who, in many cases, were not as well qualified as whites who were competing for these positions.”

“Against our best judgment and in violation of the First Amendment, we have sometimes enacted campus speech codes to protect the feelings of black students.”

“Now we have elected a black man president of the United States.”

“What more do you want?

“Please, no more special favors.”

“Isn’t it time that you got up on your own two feet and stopped asking for special breaks?”

JBHE expects appeals of this nature will stand in the way of Obama’s programs for advancing the higher educational opportunities of African Americans.