Obama on racism, circa 1990

From Free Republic

obama-on-racism.jpg

TEXT: (July, 1990) Photograph: Robert Lieberman,The Chicago Reporter,Issue 221

The last thing that Barack Obama will have to worry about next year when he graduates is job offers. Obama finished his second year at Harvard Law School this spring and has been elected to lead the Harvard Law Review, a prestigious position traditionally reserved for a top student.

“It’s a great time to be a young black law school graduate – if you’re from Harvard and in the top quarter of your class,” said Obama. “But the point is that there are a lot of talented young minorities who may not have been able to go to the top schools. For example, a lot of minorities go to state schools due to financial constraints.

“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.”

Before going to law school, Obama spent four years in Chicago, working at the Developing Communities Project on the South Side. Currently, he is a summer associate at the firm of Hopkins & Sutter in Chicago. Last summer he worked at Sidley & Austin.

“Certainly, a lot of large frims are interested in hiring more minorities,” he said. “The issue you confront is: What kind of minorities are the firms looking for? I certainly wouldn’t have a hard time finding a job in Chicago. I have all the right credentials.”

Even firms that are making an effort to recruit minorities – and there still are not many of them, Obama said – are reluctant to take a chance on students who do not have the top credentials. It has been said, Obama noted, that it may be time to ask if minorities are getting the same right to be “mediocre” as white males.

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