Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his campaign were silent when asked by the Wall Street Journal to clarify the candidate’s position on Affirmative Action. The topic came to light due to an Affirmative Action case being reviewed by the Supreme Court, and while many influential names have voiced opinions on the topic, Romney is not one of them.
“His silence is concerning,” stated Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, in an interview with MSNBC. She called Romney’s silence “very telling,” especially when Affirmative Action claims avid support from the military, Supreme Court Justices and Fortune 100 companies. Should the case Fisher v. University of Texas go in favor of limiting Affirmative action, racial preferences in college applications may be significantly reduced if not eliminated altogether.
Romney on Affirmative Action
The case has dredged up questions regarding Romney’s stance on the topic, and his rivals are quick to point out the Republican’s past history with Affirmative Action. According to the Huffington Post, while Romney was governor of Massachusetts he signed what was seen as an anti-Affirmative Action law “under the radar.” The legislation prevented women, minorities, veterans and the disabled from equal opportunity access to government jobs.
“It was done under the radar and there was a big backlash,” said to the Huffington Post Michael Curry, president of the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “It was clear Romney really did not have an appreciation for the Affirmative Action policies long in place.”
Eventually, backlash from the changed legislation forced Governor Romney to backtrack on his decision and the original policies were reinstated.
While Romney’s opinion on Affirmative Action has not yet been spoken with absolute certainty, the Obama Administration has continued to support college Affirmative Action, including that in the current Supreme Court case. The administration has sent in its top litigator, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who will argue on behalf of the departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Justice and Labor.
In the MSNBC interview, Dr. James Peterson from Lehigh University pointed out Romney’s view on Affirmative Action may not be clear, but the statements from his vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, are just as concerning.
Recently, Ryan made a statement pertaining to violent crime in inner cities, stating decreasing violent crime in those areas was directly linked to teaching people good discipline, getting people out of poverty and building good character.
According to Peterson, Ryan’s statements suggest people living in urban areas lack discipline and character, and with more than four-fifths of the population living in urban areas, the statements may show him in a negative light among urban voters.