Hot Document

Obama on Racism, 1990

Voters and the press are praising Barack Obama’s March 18 speech about race. The Democratic Party front-runner had been reluctant to tackle the controversial topic head-on in his campaign. Back in the summer of 1990, however, a much younger Obama was interviewed for a feature in the Chicago Reporter about the lag in minority hiring by top Chicago law firms. Then in the top quarter of his Harvard Law class, slated to lead the prestigious Harvard Law Review, and a summer associate at Hopkins & Sutter, he told journalist David Rubenstein, “I certainly wouldn’t have a hard time finding a job in Chicago.” It was different for less-credentialed minority students, Obama said. He noted that “a lot of minorities go to state schools due to financial constraints” and wondered aloud when young minority attorneys would have the same right to be “mediocre” that their white counterparts had (see below). 

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