First came the weekend tweet from Tony Young, San Diegos City Council president: My daughter was accepted into the college of her choice today. Soon she will be off to Philly.
» Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts» Like Us On Facebook» Follow Us On Twitter
Then came the loaded question from local entrepreneur Michael Robertson: Did she get preferential treatment because of her skin pigment?
Dude, replied Young, an African American, you are fortunate that you did not say that to my face.
+1, echoed San Diego Councilman Todd Gloria as criticism poured in.
Robertson was called jackass, tool, bigot. One person called his comment the most insulting tweet I think Ive ever seen. Another wrote, Being judged on the content of your character doesnt seem to be working out for you.
No one sprang to Robertsons defense. The closest anyone came was this: Suggesting his daughter cant get into college w/out affirmative action = wrong way to start a productive conversation about it.
Aiming for productivity Monday (mine at work, if not the conversations), I called Robertson and Young so we could talk in bursts of more than 140 characters. Turns out Robertsons tact is off but his timing isnt.
Affirmative action at colleges and universities is making national news. A federal appeals court upheld Californias ban on affirmative action in public college admissions four weeks ago. Six weeks before that, the U.S. Supreme Court signaled it could end affirmative action in college admissions nationwide after it hears a Texas case this fall.
Young told me hes more worried about paying for tuition than debating political views on college that have no bearing on his daughter. Shes a dancer who went to her first class at age 3 and will attend others at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia on her own merits, he said.
No one can control that, Young said. She has control of her destiny, how hard she works. And she did it herself.
Young said he cried happily for days as a proud father. But as a protective dad, hell share fewer details about his three daughters on social media sites from now on.
In our interview, Robertson didnt back down from his critics or apologize.
I just asked a question, a reasonable question given the state of affairs around the country, he said. Our government should treat all citizens the same, and it bothers me that you have government funded entities that play favorites.
Heres the thing: The debate over affirmative action wont get resolved in 140 characters or a 500-word column. That doesnt mean the conversation shouldnt happen. It means theres a time and a place for it.
I shared a father-daughter moment of my own on Twitter this weekend.
I wrote, Me: As long as youre living under my roof youre gonna do what I tell you. Ella, 4: Then Im gonna go on the roof.
Heres the thing: In 14 years, Ill be the one shouting from those rooftops where Ella is going to college.
For other stories from our news partner, go to utsandiego.com
Copyright Do you have more information about this story? Click here to contact usCopyright 2012 by U-T San Diego. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.