The University School of Milwaukee expelled Barack Obama’s two nephews, and now his brother and sister-in-law are suing for racism. The Robinsons (Obama’s relatives) are not only pursuing legal action, but his brother-in-law, Craig was a guest on Good Morning America yesterday to discuss the situation. Whether any other American citizens would be given such media coverage if they were not related to a former president was not addressed, nor was the fact that this highly sought out private school has a squeaky clean long-standing rapport with the community. So is this a case of injustice, or a privileged family making a mockery of the court systems?
The school itself sent out a letter to parents to explain the situation. Whether or not it is standard protocol to explain the expulsion of every student that is ejected from the prestigious private school is unclear, but The University School of Milwaukee explained that the removal of the Robinson children had nothing to do with race. The letter claims that the Robinsons failed to fulfill their partnering commitments to the school, its teachers, and staff. What exactly these commitments are is not disclosed, but oftentimes parents are required to offer up a certain amount of volunteer hours or other campus-enriching involvement. The head of school, Steve Hancock, also noted that to date, the school has not been legally served, and former President Barack Obama has not commented.
The fact that Obama’s relatives went on national television to describe the situation before the school has even received the documents describing the nature of the lawsuit is questionable, but their allegations are serious and will be taken seriously. The Robinsons allege that the school moved to end the boy’s school contracts after they addressed racism in the classroom. They claim that the school was racially insensitive, especially in regards to socioeconomic status and ethnic stereotypes.
The Robinsons had their children enrolled in the school since 2016, but their 11-year-old son was expelled in 2021, and their 9-year-old son was later expelled in June of 2021. They have yet to express why they took so long to file suit, or speak out against the school’s actions, but now it is making national news and gaining attention across the country. Obama’s relatives also stated that their children are now “traumatized” by being forced out of the school and losing friends over the expulsion.
Whether the Robinson boys were expelled because the school actively supports racial bias, or because their parents did not do as they were required in order to remain members of the private school community is yet to be seen, but this seems to be a simple back and forth case of parents versus an institute of learning. Many wonder, if the situation were not involving former president Barack Obama’s family members, would it be receiving so much media support? As concepts like “white privilege” and Critical Race Theory are debated and even systematically invited into classrooms throughout the United States, it seems poignant to recognize how a minority family is gaining so much coverage over their personal battle for identity politics based on their connection to the country’s former leader.