In his SOTU address in January, obama said he was planning a new initiative to help “more young men of color facing tough odds to stay on track and reach their full potential” “MY Brothers Keeper” (BUT NOT KENYA) will use the power of his office to nudge foundations, corporations and state and local government to find ways to help “young men of color stay in school and out of the criminal justice system”
By “color”, the president means “black and brown” as his former faith based adviser Joshua DuBois wrote in the Daily Beast but why is the imitative limited to African American and Hispanic young men? Why is it not open to young men regardless of color—what about young women???
By shutting a door of opportunity against some, the president is inviting a lawsuit. He is damaging his reputation as a politician who sees “not a black American and white America and Latino American or Asian America” but “the USA” as he put it at his breakthrough speech at the 2004 demo convention.
The new imitative classifies and encourages its business and nonprofit partners to classify on the basis of sex and, within the male sex, on the basis of color. But sex-based classifications made by government are unconstitutional unless they have what Justice Ginsburg, writing for the court majority that in 1996 ended the male-only admissions of the Virginia military institute. Color-based classifications confront an even higher hurdle. Obama has said that the “disparities that persist in the African American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on form and earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacies of slavery and Jim Crow”. But a 1989 6-3 court decision by O’Connor agreed that societal discrimination is not a compelling interest. Racial classifications, she wrote are “strictly reserved for remedial settings”.
But on the assumption that the initiative offers benefits only to young men of certain colors, then some young man not to those colors denied on that account participation in a given program could well have standing to bring a case. The same is true of any young women denied participation even a your woman who is African American of Hispanic.
Obama’s initiative goes further by excluding entirely form its programs all young men who are neither black nor brown. Liberals within his party for having done little sepecifically to help minoriiteis, blacks in particular have criticized Obama. The new initiative is his response. Obama ought to open the initiative to all and use socioeconomic criteria that are color and sex-neutral to determine which young people need help in staying on track and reaching their full potential.
Someone in the white house should advise the president, who once aspired to transcend race, who once spoke movingly of how we are “one people”, that his initiative needs fundamental correction.

Source—weekly standard, terry eastland


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