Foes of Race-Sensitive Admissions in Higher Education Say Success of Barack Obama Is Proof Affirmative Action Is No Longer Needed

This November it is likely that public initiatives seeking to ban race-sensitive admissions at public universities will appear on the ballot in Colorado, Arizona, Missouri, and Nebraska. Previous initiatives in California, Washington State, and Michigan were all approved by voters by comfortable margins.

Ward Connerly, the African-American entrepreneur who is leading the effort to ban affirmative action, now points out that the success of Barack Obama in this year’s presidential nomination process is evidence that the nation has moved beyond race. Connerly recently told the Boston Globe, “The whole argument in favor of race preferences is that there is institutional racism in American life and you need affirmative action to level the playing field. How can you say there is institutional racism when people in Nebraska vote for a guy who is a self-identified black man?” Connerly even contributed $500 to the Obama campaign because of the Illinois senator’s effort to move beyond the issue of race.

However, the opponents of affirmative action fail to point out that Obama himself admits that he would not have reached this point if it had not been for affirmative action measures that may have benefited him and those who came before him.