For some reason, I'm reminded of the classic Jon Lovitz commentary on Saturday Night Live, where he cites a study about how hard it is for women to find men with all the qualifications they demand, and, then, with a huge smile on his face, points out the statistical moral: "Ladies, LOWER YOUR STANDARDS!"
"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." …
"Certainly, a lot of large firms 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 — and there are still 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.