Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Andrew Sullivan: Down with affirmative action; Up with Obama because he's Black

Andrew Sullivan seems to have a bit of schizophrenia when it comes to affirmative action. It's kind of like the opposite of liberals who support affirmative action, but hate Clarence Thomas.

Here he is today, in another example of his many denunciations of affirmative action:

[Affirmative action] asserts as an irrefutable fact that any racial discrepancies in college selection are a function of either college-imposed or societal racism. Once the left put the blank slate on the table, and actively supported racial discrimination as public policy as a consequence, they begged the question of whether they had the empirical data to back up their social engineering.

A quick google search also finds numerous other examples of Sullivan saying he's against affirmative action.

Which is all well and good. Except I'm not sure how it jibes with this point from his recent love letter to Barack Obama in the Atlantic Monthly:

Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.

Apparently, to Sullivan, the color of Barack Obama's skin and his ethnic background are a significant argument in favor of electing him president. Compare that to admitting an African-American into a selective college over a similarly qualified White student as part of an affirmative action policy. What's the difference?

Personally, I would guess that foreigners are much more concerned with how the next president will conduct our nation's foreign policy than what color their skin is. I highly doubt Condoleeza Rice would be a popular choice for president in the Muslim world.

But that's beside the point, I suppose. All I really wanted to say is that Andrew Sullivan should decide whether he supports Barack Obama purely on his merits, or if he supports affirmative action. He can't have it both ways.

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