Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stanley Kurtz has the right to be mediocre

Stanley Kurtz seems to think he is onto something*** with this 20-year-old Obama quote asking whether law firm hires had yet granted minorities the "right to be 'mediocre.'" But isn't it completely clear what Obama meant? Here's the context of his quote, helpfully provided by Kurtz:
Until the minorities who are going to the good but not the most prestigious schools, those who are doing a good job, who are highly competent and have the intelligence and the energy to do terrific work -- until those people are looked at and hired in significant numbers -- I think you are going to continue to have serious recruitment and retention problems.
The point being, obviously, that there is a difference between having law firms that are comfortable making minority hires in the case of super-over-qualified top-students and having them consider hiring minorities as a matter of course, even including those who are not head boy types. Obama states his assumption here that a lot of people who didn't go to Harvard are nevertheless very qualified to be lawyers and ought to be considered for various lawyer jobs.

That's not controversial, is it? I think it is so obvious as to be pretty much a truism. This statement doesn't even sound bad on the surface, it's just basically an all-around reasonable thing to say. What do you think Stanley Kurtz expects me to find objectionable about it?

***It should be noted that Stanley Kurtz is in the habit of thinking he is onto something that turns out to be nothing.

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