President Barack Obama's eldest daughter Malia's decision to take a year off before attending Harvard University in 2017 has made headlines recently.
The Atlantic, for example, unpacked what a so-called "gap year" is and how common it is in Europe vs. the U.S.
Perhaps more headline-grabbing than Obama's decision to delay her education is the blistering racsim that followed her announcement on social media and news website comment sections. The comments ranged from disparaging remarks about Obama's supposed "black privilege" in the age of Affirmative Action the user felt "steals" positions from white students, to others which called her a "little ape" or even the N-word.
The talk became so vile that Fox News was forced to shut down its comment section in its coverage of Obama's decision.
"None of these people commenting seemed to consider that a black child, who fluently speaks a foreign language, may just be intelligent enough to qualify for admission to the prestigious university," Bipartisan Report's Carissa House-Dunphy reported.
"It doesn't take a Harvard degree or a gap year to figure out that Malia's college path is all part of Obama's plan to radically transform America," Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke wrote with sarcasm. "Though it may take a Harvard degree and a gap year for Malia to figure out why so many people think that's true."
But racist comments and epiphets leveled at a young woman just graduating from high school doesn't mean the press shouldn't preclude Malia from the press' microscope, Vox argued. Smart or not, reporter Dylan Matthews argued, Malia's acceptance to Harvard is a reminder that nepotism and elitism is alive and well in America's Ivy League.
"There's nothing wrong with Malia choosing to go to whatever school she wishes (as a Harvard alum it'd be hypocritical of me to say otherwise)," Matthews wrote. "But the increased concentration of powerful social networks in a tiny number of educational institutions is at least slightly concerning."