Remember him..?? I admit that prior to hearing him this morning on Morning Joe, the "Beer summit" was all I really knew about Henry Gates.
I have to say, I am incredibly impressed by his thoughts and comments this morning. Not only is he brilliant and articulate, but he said some things that made me sit back and say "huh". One of the things he talked about was something I have thought for quite a long time now. He said that affirmative action needs to be changed. It needs to change to keep up with society as it is today. Gates would like to take race out of the equation for affirmative action and make it more about poverty. In other words, he'd like us, when we talk about things like equality of opportunity to use poverty as a measure not the color of one's skin or their heritage.
Gates used his own situation and family as an example. He stated as an upper middle class African American family, why should his daughters get any preferential treatment in college admissions, etc. just because they are African American? He implied that if colleges and universities want to give a hand up to someone, give it to the student living in poverty.
I have to say that while a policy such as this may be tricky to implement, I think it's worth a try. If we are really serious about lifting people out of poverty..it's not enough to say they should pull themselves up by the bootstraps..we have to give them an equal opportunity and a chance to succeed.
In a further conversation about race, Gates said something that I find sad. He stated that there is an entire wing of the racist images of President Obama in the Jim Crowe Museum in Michigan. Yet there are still some who claim racism doesn't exist in the US.