Writer responds

Re “The ugly side of ‘beyond race,’ ” Opinion, Nov. 17

Gregory Rodriguez accuses me of arguing in a newspaper article that President-elect Barack Obama’s victory “proves blacks are [now] equal.” My Op-Ed article depicts the election as a “nail in the coffin of affirmative action,” he states.

It’s a bizarre assertion. My article was not about affirmative action. It focused solely on the question of the continuing need for racially gerrymandered districts that serve to protect black candidates from white competition. And I stated my belief that race-driven districting maps are an impediment to political integration.

Moreover, the presidential election has shown that black candidates can win in multi-racial and even overwhelmingly white settings. “American voters have turned a racial corner. [Voting rights] law should follow in their footsteps,” I concluded.


I don’t know what article Rodriguez read, but it wasn’t the one I wrote.

Abigail Thernstrom

McLean, Va.

The writer is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.