Henry Louis Gates: End Affirmative Action For Affluent African-Americans

For all his accomplishments, Henry Louis Gates might be doomed to being best remembered as the man whose arrest led to the "Beer Summit." But the Harvard prof had something surprising to say on today's Morning Joe: Gates questioned the need for affirmative action for affluent African-Americans, saying instead such programs should seek to help poor people, regardless of race.

Gates made the personal political, citing the case of his own two daughters, whom Gates described as having a "privileged" life."Do they really need to benefit from affirmative action?", asked Gates rhetorically.  View the video after the jump.



Gates argued that affirmative action should be redirected to help more poor people get into the middle class, regardless of race.  Your thoughts?
 

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You said something fascinating about class, too. We were talking off camera about where America needs to go in the future. You think affirmative action needs to be redirected?

HENRY LOUIS GATES: I do. I think that for a lot of reasons, political and also practical and economic, we should think about affirmative action for the poor. And I grew up in West Virginia with poor white people. They need affirmative action as much as my people do. And I think it would be a savvy thing to reconsider. Also I'm upper middle class. My daughters were born at the Yale-New Haven hospital. They have a privileged life. Do they really need to benefit from affirmative action? Affirmative action was a class escalator when I went to Yale, and I think it still should be. So I want to get more more poor black people into the middle class and I want to get more poor white people in the middle class as well.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.