Photos leaked to the Daily Mail show that Barack and Michelle Obama were on a lavish vacation in Greece with Hollywood star Tom Hanks and his family as they were complaining about the Supreme Court striking down affirmative action.
Former President Barack Obama said in a statement, “Affirmative action was never a complete answer in the drive towards a more just society But for generations of students who had been systematically excluded from most of America’s key institutions–it gave us the chance to show we more than deserved a seat at the table. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision, it’s time to redouble our efforts.”
Michelle said: “Back in college, I was one of the few Black students on my campus, and I was proud of getting into such a respected school.
“I knew I’d worked hard for it. But still, I sometimes wondered if people thought I got there because of affirmative action. It was a shadow that students like me couldn’t shake, whether those doubts came from the outside or inside our own minds.
“But the fact is this: I belonged. And semester after semester, decade after decade, for more than half a century, countless students like me showed they belonged, too. It wasn’t just the kids of color who benefitted, either.
“Every student who heard a perspective they might not have encountered, who had an assumption challenged, who had their minds and their hearts opened gained a lot as well. It wasn’t perfect, but there’s no doubt that it helped offer new ladders of opportunity for those who, throughout our history, have too often been denied a chance to show how fast they can climb.
“Of course, students on my campus and countless others across the country were – and continue to be – granted special consideration for admissions.
“Some have parents who graduated from the same school. Others have families who can afford coaches to help them run faster or hit a ball harder.
“Others go to high schools with lavish resources for tutors and extensive standardized test prep that help them score higher on college entrance exams.
“We don’t usually question if those students belong.
“So often, we just accept that money, power, and privilege are perfectly justifiable forms of affirmative action, while kids growing up like I did are expected to compete when the ground is anything but level.
“So today, my heart breaks for any young person out there who’s wondering what their future holds – and what kinds of chances will be open to them.
“And while I know the strength and grit that lies inside kids who have always had to sweat a little more to climb the same ladders, I hope and I pray that the rest of us are willing to sweat a little, too.
“Today is a reminder that we’ve got to do the work not just to enact policies that reflect our values of equity and fairness, but to truly make those values real in all of our schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods.”
But an ex-Princeton classmate, Rabbi Yaakov Menken, called BS on Michelle. He said:
“As a fellow Princeton student at the time Michelle Robinson was there, I have to make a few comments. Her claim that she was one of the “few” Black students is ridiculous.
“Affirmative action was in full force, and the Third World Center was a popular campus destination for Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and others. There were far more Blacks than Jews, and there were not “a few” Jews on campus.
“Despite the foregoing, she also wrote a senior thesis claiming she felt like she really didn’t belong.
“When she claims her “heart breaks for any young person,” she helps explain why her husband’s tenure was the most racially divisive presidency in the last 30 years (at the end of his second term, people recorded more friction between races than at the beginning of the first).
“She might as well say openly that she means “any young person” only if they’re Black.
“What about the students who now think that if they work hard and study hard, they will actually have a fair chance at admission, thanks to this decision?
“A good friend of mine told me openly, at Princeton, that he was happy with affirmative action “because I didn’t have the grades.” He was Black, of course. And I couldn’t help thinking, “it’s great that you are here, but which student, that actually did have the grades, didn’t get to come to Princeton because they gave the spot to you?”
“I didn’t like that thought, like I said, he was a friend, but he just told me he really didn’t have the academic scores needed to get in, and that meant someone else was left out.
“Multiple times over the past few years we have read stories about a student getting into each and every one of the Ivy League schools. Without even opening the article, we knew the skin color of the student in question.
“Don’t tell me it’s racist to notice, blame the admission system. You knew it too. And, sadly, there was a recent story of an Asian student with an outstanding record of academic and extracurricular achievement, a first-generation American from an impoverished immigrant background, who got into none of the top schools.
“There is another good friend of mine who went to Princeton with me, my best friend since third grade. He didn’t need a special leg up, he was an academic performer. And now no one will look at future students like him and wonder if he got in due to the color of his skin or the content of his mind.
“The other forms of “special consideration” that she mentions are in no way comparable. Legacy kids are more likely to succeed, have loyalty, and of course that only works for the schools mom and dad attended. Schools need sports teams for their own prestige.
“And those who got coaching and academic training are, of course, coming into college better prepared to succeed and elevate the academic level of the school.
“Stating that race is somehow comparable is precisely the opposite of what MLK hoped for, a society in which skin color was irrelevant.
“Now we will move at least closer to his dream, and a situation in which every child feels that the way to get into a school like Princeton is with real dedication and hard work.”