Law School Discussion

Specific Groups => Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students => Topic started by: mjb on March 12, 2006, 01:44:29 PM

Title: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: mjb on March 12, 2006, 01:44:29 PM
So I am a minority with a minority wife with two minority kids wanting to go to law school. I have a good job now and I dont know if i/we could afford going to law school at the big places because of costs of living and tuition. I believe I got good numbers and I could land a sizeable scholarship at Washington and Lee and the cost of living seems really low. I looked into the school and I really like how they seem to run things down there and I'd really like to attend.

Now comes maps.google.com. I realized where Washington and Lee is located. Is this any place for a minority to ever venture into? Should this area be avoided at all costs? Funny enough lexington is right next to a town called lynchburg!!! Do I spare my family burning crosses and look elsewhere? Anyone have any experience with this school and area?

Thanks.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Lenny on March 12, 2006, 02:19:17 PM
Wow.  I understand your worries given our location at first glance, but I sincerely hope you are kidding.  Otherwise, your comments suffer from the same prejudices that they bemoan.  I hope you know that very few people (I hope no one, but never say never, right?) that are qualified to get in to W&L Law, or any other law school for that matter, would choose to patronize a place that harbored such beliefs.

Now, to answer your question completely honestly, Lexington is certainly a small, southern town.  The school is named, in part, after Robert E. Lee, if that tells you anything.  That said, you would certainly not be the first minorities to venture down to Lexington.  There are plenty of African-American residents and students.  I certainly can't speak for minorities, but my observation is that while it may be an adjustment from life in a large city, it is far from unbearable.  Your best bet is to find out for yourself.  Come visit the school and the town and ask to speak to or get a tour from an African American student.     
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Alamo on March 12, 2006, 02:38:47 PM
Let me start by telling you as a white male, I don't have the best perspective for assessing discrimination.  But as someone who grew up in the nearby town of Waynesboro, I do have a lot of perspective on the area.  I grew up there, moved to DC for a few years, and now live in Chicago.  I will most likely be returning to attend LS at W&L. 

Virginia is not the deep south, but there is a fair amount of ignorance in the rural parts.   This is mostly due, I believe, to almost no black residents in the area.  Out of my high school class of 128 students, I think 5 were black.  It's probably gotten a little more diversified since I left 10 years ago, but if you venture far outside of Lexington you're likely to see a lot of Nascar-lovin, cowboy boot and camoflauge wearing rednecks.  You will also see the occasional rebel flag.  If you scan the radio, you will hear many country stations, but also rock, pop and NPR.  You will not see burning crosses - the KKK has been defunct for over 60 years, and never actually burned crosses anyway, it just makes for good fiction. (http://www.kkklan.com/fierycross.htm - it's a historical site, not propaganda)

W&L, however, is a top-25 law school, and based on this influx is far more diverse than the surrounding areas (Jerry Falwell's Liberty University is in Lynchburg - don't go there).  I went to undergrad at UVA, and although it was only 25 miles from my hometown, intellectually and demographically it might as well have been across the country.  I would also say that it is the 21st century, so I don't think things are quite as bad as they used to be.  You'll also find that while country folk have a reputation for being reflexively hostile to outsiders, they treat one another far better than most people who live in cities or the suburbs, and are on-the-whole welcoming towards people who are friendly and trustworthy. 

As an intelligent, family-oriented human being, personally I would love to see you move there, because the only way many people will lose their prejudices is by seeing people face-to-face that don't conform to their preconceived notions.  I think it would be a learning experience for you as well - I got out of my comfort zone moving to a big city, and I recommend living experiences in a variety of locations.  I highly recommend a visit so you can see the campus, town and surrounding countryside for yourself instead of relying upon the wave of stereotyped responses that this post will most likely generate.  If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me. 
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: shaz on March 12, 2006, 02:43:25 PM
dude don't let it scare you.  don't be naive either.  i don't care what someone tells you about the area.  it's in the south.  i have never been to lex, but i have been to norfolk, richmond and alexandria.  the areas are pretty nice actually.  i only experienced one obviously racial incedent and that was in pentagon city.  you should be ok.  like any college town, don't make waves with the townies.  you'll be fine at w&l.  i have heard that crime is nearly non-existant and the library is open 24/7.  take the money.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: mjb on March 12, 2006, 07:12:03 PM
I didnt know it was named after general lee! That is somewhat frightening. A few miles from a university founded by falwell? Yikes! I think I will steer clear of this area.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Alamo on March 12, 2006, 07:27:22 PM
I didnt know it was named after general lee! That is somewhat frightening. A few miles from a university founded by falwell? Yikes! I think I will steer clear of this area.

If this is how you're going to judge a university, based on a view tangential associations that have nothing to do with the school, I don't think you should go there either.  This implies a bias eerily similar to those who would judge you based on your skin color.  I know this is a loaded statement, and I'm not pretending like I know how it is to be a minority, but if you expect other people to get beyond their preconceived notions about you, it won't happen unless you can transcend your own.

My wife (fiance at the time) is in a PhD program at UChicago - she wanted me to move to Hyde Park.  Having grown up in rural Virginia, I could've said things like "Louis Farrakhan lives in Hyde Park - I might be a target because I'm white!"  Based on the south side's rep, I could've said no, it's too strange, it's too foreign, I wouldn't be accepted and would be ridiculed as a slack-jawed yokel, beaten and mugged, if not murdered for my shoes.  But I didn't let the image stop me, although I was admittedly nervous about moving to such a big city, and it's been a great experience; I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

As a white male from rural VA, it really pisses me off when people associate me with Falwell just because we share a geographic area.  He doesn't speak for me, nor for the majority of people in Lexington (which, BTW, is over an hour away from Lynchburg).  Please, if you're going to insinuate that people in the area are bigots, visit the school and judge it based on actual experience - I think you'd be somewhat surprised, and that some of your preconceptions may be based more on the Beverly Hillbillies than on reality.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Lenny on March 12, 2006, 07:34:08 PM
Unbelievable.  These knee-jerk prejudgments are just the type of stereotypes and baseless, invidious reactions that you express concern about in your original post.  I mean, don't do us any favors by gracing W&L with your consideration, but the fact remains that you should practice what you preach.  Yes, W&L was renamed in 1871 to include General Lee, though before that it was "Washington College" in honor of George Washington.  Do you have any ludicrous concerns about President Washington and his connection to W&L?  
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: mjb on March 12, 2006, 07:51:39 PM
Unbelievable.  These knee-jerk prejudgments are just the type of stereotypes and baseless, invidious reactions that you express concern about in your original post.  I mean, don't do us any favors by gracing W&L with your consideration, but the fact remains that you should practice what you preach.  Yes, W&L was renamed in 1871 to include General Lee, though before that it was "Washington College" in honor of George Washington.  Do you have any ludicrous concerns about President Washington and his connection to W&L?   

I'm sorry if I feel a little aprehensive about bringing my family to that area. Yes I have strong preconceptions about the local population there I'll admit. The fact that its also named after a figure that somewhat represents the racist southern movement, in my eyes, is also a little frightening. No disrespect and if I come off as a jerk I apologize. Everything I've read about the university itself is great and that is why I was very interested! I don't expect anyone with the university to harbor hatred but I am unsure about the area.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: JamesD on March 12, 2006, 08:53:17 PM
I understand the OP's dilema about bringing his children there.  They would be black children growing up in an overwhelmingly white community.  I don't believe that black children should go to schools with ONLY other black students... but I do believe that diversity is a good thing.  His kids might be ostracized; they might do far better in a more heterogeneous area.

If he didn't have children to consider, it would possibly be another story altogether.

I'm a minority, and Washington & Lee seems just fine.  The people seem nice.  My big question is whether or not the campus is primarily segregated (I recognize that self-segregation would be the driving force behind this, so please don't female dog at me and act like I'm clueless about this fact-- any time I talk about campuses being segregated, people automatically assume that I think the segregation is imposed on black students by some outside force). 

Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: mjb on March 12, 2006, 09:03:37 PM
I understand the OP's dilema about bringing his children there.  They would be black children growing up in an overwhelmingly white community.  I don't believe that black children should go to schools with ONLY other black students... but I do believe that diversity is a good thing.  His kids might be ostracized; they might do far better in a more heterogeneous area.

If he didn't have children to consider, it would possibly be another story altogether.

I'm a minority, and Washington & Lee seems just fine.  The people seem nice.  My big question is whether or not the campus is primarily segregated (I recognize that self-segregation would be the driving force behind this, so please don't female dog at me and act like I'm clueless about this fact-- any time I talk about campuses being segregated, people automatically assume that I think the segregation is imposed on black students by some outside force). 



Mexican :)
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Alamo on March 12, 2006, 09:10:04 PM
I don't want to come off as a jerk either, and I understand your concerns.  It might not be the easiest life for them, but for you and your family as a whole, it might foster a genuinely meaningful, life-changing experience - more perspective is always better.  That said, kids can be very cruel, and if going to school in the area made them more racist, the trade-off would not be worth it.  If I were you, and I repeat myself here, check out the area (especially the surrounding public schools) for yourself and see if it feels right - you might be willing to give it a shot.  My feeling is that W&L brings in enough diversity that you can be happy in the area without venturing into the countryside where more rampant ignorance is more common, but I'll wait until I visit to the school to see how accurate this is.

As for small towns leading to increased self-segregation, I think the exact opposite is true.  If only a tiny fraction is a minority, opportunities to self-segregate are fewer simply because there are fewer minority students.  Being totally honest, I had more good minority friends in high school than I have since - they couldn't self-segregate very much, and had no choice but to interact with their non-bigoted WASP peers, and I'm very thankful for that.  Best of luck to you with whatever you decide - I'd love to see you attend W&L, make it more diverse and maybe even find out that small-town life has its own unique and wonderful charm. 
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Fred Hits on March 12, 2006, 09:14:14 PM
i really don't think you have anything to worry about----tho i must say the first time i also looked on a map and saw 'lynchburg' i was a little hesitent
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Lenny on March 12, 2006, 09:26:24 PM
MJB, if it makes you feel any better, the hispanic population in the Lexington area is actually pretty large.  At least large enough that the public schools have ESL classes, for whatever that is worth. 

And, I think Alamo is pretty on-point in his analysis of self-segregation in a small population.  Though racial and ethnic minorities make up a decent percentage of the W&L Law student body, X% of ~130 still isn't a whole lot of individuals.  So, self-segregation would lead to a pretty lonely existence, in my opinion, so it makes sense that, out of necessity, minorities wouldn't self-segregate.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: George JeffersonČ on March 12, 2006, 10:37:47 PM
Retard.  I'm multi-racial.  For census purposes, I'm classified as Hispanic, as is anybody with any hispanic blood.  What the hell is that Mexican stuff about?



Mexican :)
[/quote]
[/quote]

It is possible the op was referring to himself. Your post discussed him and his kids as if they were black, and I don't recall him stating his ethnicity, or the ethnicity of his family members. It is also possible that you know more about each other than either of you are letting on, and he was in fact calling you Mexican, but I doubt it.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: JamesD on March 12, 2006, 10:52:09 PM
Sorry, I thought he was calling me Mexican, which is often used as an insult towards non-Mexican hispanics.  I overreacted.  My fault.

Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: mjb on March 13, 2006, 06:14:12 PM
Retard.  I'm multi-racial.  For census purposes, I'm classified as Hispanic, as is anybody with any hispanic blood.  What the hell is that Mexican stuff about?



Mexican :)
[/quote]
[/quote]

You said I was black. I was saying im mexican.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: mjb on March 13, 2006, 06:15:01 PM
Sorry, I thought he was calling me Mexican, which is often used as an insult towards non-Mexican hispanics.  I overreacted.  My fault.



Its great to know that being called a mexican is an insult and one takes great offense to it! :(
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: mjb on March 13, 2006, 06:25:24 PM
There may be a few minorities in the town, but don't expect to meet any in class: http://officialguide.lsac.org/OFFGUIDE/pdf/aba5887.pdf



Thats really worrisome and I've seen its a trend for hispanics at most 5-20 schools. Is it that the top 5 gobble them up or what? I sure as hell hope so! I dont get it.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Alamo on March 13, 2006, 07:02:56 PM
There may be a few minorities in the town, but don't expect to meet any in class: http://officialguide.lsac.org/OFFGUIDE/pdf/aba5887.pdf



Thats really worrisome and I've seen its a trend for hispanics at most 5-20 schools. Is it that the top 5 gobble them up or what? I sure as hell hope so! I dont get it.

My guess is that a number of factors play into it, and I'll start with W&L specifically.  The foremost, probably is perception.  It's perceived as being racist (footnote: while Lee was controversial, he did oppose slavery, and nearly accepted the offer to command the Union army, but in the end couldn't stand the thought of fighting his own family in VA, where he was from - he's no MLK but he's no Nathan Bedford Forrest either), so minorities don't go there.  The ones who do consider going say: "Gee, there aren't a lot of minorities there, I don't think I'm going to be comfortable."  Where are these ultra-brave minorities supposed to come from if not from amongst yourselves?  You say there is no celebration of diverse culture - I say go there and celebrate, do the town and the nation a service and bring a little variety!  But don't expect it to happen on its own.  I think that you would be more welcomed than you presume, but I realize it does take a lot of courage. 

As for the top 20 in general, I think you have a point: the best of the best (HYS and maybe a couple others) really value diversity and are untouchable when it comes to reputation.  The ones just beneath, clawing to keep their top 20 status, are less willing to sacrifice anything in terms of hard factors (LSAT & GPA) to give a chance to those who have been disadvantaged and would add diversity, and would make it a better environment, but just don't have the stats.  That's pure speculation (obviously the specialty on this board), but I've got a feeling there might be some truth to it. 

And as far as the "Mexican" comment goes, I think that JD is just pissed about all Hispanics being lumped together as one, not that Mexicans are intrinsically bad, just that not all Hispanics are Mexican, but the perception of such reflects bigotry and ignorance.   
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: JamesD on March 13, 2006, 11:09:15 PM
My LSN profile says Hispanic... and I thought you had made the assumption that I was Mexican.. just because I was Hispanic... which pissed me off.  Clearly, I was wrong.  Its all good.

Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Shady Lady on March 30, 2006, 09:42:03 PM
I personally don't know much about W&L, but there is an article on being black at W&L published in this month's Vibe Vixen (yea yea, girly pop mag, but just read it, it's a good article -- "Red State Blues"). The author is a black female prof at W&L and shares her experiences. Might give you some insight.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: JamesD on March 30, 2006, 09:50:29 PM
She's actually very cool.  I've spoken with her at length.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Shady Lady on March 30, 2006, 09:55:06 PM
That's hype! Where and how did you meet her, and are you at W&L too? Can you associate with her experience?
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Fred Hits on March 30, 2006, 09:57:08 PM
i'd like to read that- can you find it anywhere?
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: JamesD on March 30, 2006, 09:58:41 PM
I emailed her asking her a ton of questions about Tulane (which is where she earned he law degree).  She was incredibly cool.  Very friendly.  Very down-to-earth.  Awesome person.  She seems to really like helping people, giving advice, etc.  She's great. 
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Shady Lady on March 30, 2006, 10:04:23 PM
Fred Hits, dont think it's online, but it's in this month's Vibe Vixen with Kimora Lee Simmons on the cover.

JD, that's awesome! Her article came across as really genuine. She's like a pioneer at W&L it sounds.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Lenny on March 31, 2006, 06:21:24 AM
I think "pioneer" may be going a little far.  She is certainly not the first minority professor, not the first female professor, and not the first female minority professor.  That said, you are correct in saying that she is an amazing person and a great professor.  Definitely a great asset to W&L Law.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: chacabuco on April 11, 2006, 04:14:14 PM
i'd like to read that- can you find it anywhere?
vibe vixen was recently added to the factiva database on lexis.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: jfields32 on April 24, 2006, 08:49:44 PM
I was looking there for undergrad. Also im a black male. They recruited me for basketball and i did an overnight and it was terrible.  I only saw like 4 black people there, and i really looked for them too.  Every1 seemed like so rich and preppy.  Than i went to a couple of frat parties which was good cause the girls there were really good to me.  Honestly i was just scared,the people in town when they walked by me would act as if i was a criminal.  Then at the parties i went to the keep acting like it was a big deal i was black, it came up numerous times.  I am also the type of guy who speaks his mind and lexington scared me because it is so rural and i felt if i said the wrong thing i could end up strung up on a tree.   
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: drama gal on April 24, 2006, 09:21:29 PM
Wow.  :( That sounds like a horrible experience.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: JamesD on April 25, 2006, 01:22:05 AM
W&L Law seems way different than W&L undergrad.  I would not have been able to tolerate going to college at W&L.  But the law school seems much more decent... not super rich or preppy... very accepting. 
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: mivida2k on May 05, 2006, 11:42:00 AM
The KKK is far from disfunct.  In fact their membership has grown.  There is ignorancy everywhere you go.  You just have to decided whether you want to deal with it and whether being around someone who wants to fly the flag of an enemy of the United States (and still say that they are patriotic) is what you want. 

The Southern Povery Law Center keeps track of hate crime stats.  You may want to contact them.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Alamo on May 05, 2006, 12:18:11 PM
The KKK is far from disfunct.  In fact their membership has grown.  There is ignorancy everywhere you go.  You just have to decided whether you want to deal with it and whether being around someone who wants to fly the flag of an enemy of the United States (and still say that they are patriotic) is what you want. 

The Southern Povery Law Center keeps track of hate crime stats.  You may want to contact them.

From the Southern Poverty Law Center website:

"Since the 1970s the Klan has been greatly weakened by internal conflicts, court cases, a seemingly endless series of splits and government infiltration. While some factions have preserved an openly racist and militant approach, others have tried to enter the mainstream, cloaking their racism as mere 'civil rights for whites.' Today, the Center estimates that there are a total of 5,500 to 6,000 Klan members, split among scores of different -- and often warring -- organizations that use the Klan name."

In other words, what's left of them is in shambles, and they're not considered any more inside the mainstream in rural virginia than terrorists are within the Muslim mainstream.

And with what do you substantiate your assertion that Klan membership has grown lately?  Every source I've seen says the exact opposite.

The ignorance that may or may not pervade the area (depending on who you ask) notwithstanding, W&L Law is a bastion of enlightenment.  The Law School publishes the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice; while I cannot speak to its quality or reputation, the fact that W&L law publishes this journal does speak for the respect that diversity commands at the law school.  There are people from all backgrounds at the school - I talked to many of them at the admitted students weekend I went to.

Also, you say "There is ignorancy (not a real word, BTW) everywhere you go.  You just have to decided (sic) whether you want to deal with it . . ."  This is a blatant contradiction.  Ignorance is everywhere you go, so we all have to deal with it, unless we all want to stay in our safe little homogenous groups wherever we go.  Is that what you would have us do?  I think that's terrible, both for us as people and for the world we live in.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: denk on May 29, 2006, 02:32:48 AM
Quote
- the KKK has been defunct for over 60 years, and never actually burned crosses anyway, it just makes for good fiction.

This is 100% insanity.

Even the questionable website you provided showed pictures of cross burnings taking place in the 80's.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: gopyiz on May 29, 2006, 02:27:40 PM
This will come off as abrasive, but this is one of the more ignorant threads I've come across.  I know I steered clear of going to Columbia because it's in Harlem and we all know black people live in Harlem and that black people like to shoot and rob people.  Right?  This is about on the same logical level as your assessment of Washington & Lee.  Also, they must do a lot of lynching in Lynchburg, just like there is a lot of harrisoning in Harrisonburg and a lot of St. Petering in St. Petersburg.  Lynchburg's name is derived from settler John Lynch, who constructed a ferry in 1757 across the James River at the modern city site and had nothing to do with bringing about the term lynching.  Additionally, all of this is moot as W & L is not even located in Lynchburg.  To the OP, if these types of generalizations are actually guiding your decision as to where to attend law school, rather than actual research, then I have a feeling you may be foregoing a lot of great opportunities because of your ingrained bigotry.  Opinions like yours do just as much to propagate racial tension as those who you so fear.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: denk on May 29, 2006, 02:40:48 PM
Quote
This will come off as abrasive, but this is one of the more ignorant threads I've come across.   I know I steered clear of going to Columbia because it's in Harlem and we all know black people live in Harlem and that black people like to shoot and rob people.  Right?  This is about on the same logical level as...

Sorry, but I totally disagree.  First off, I worked at Columbia, and lived in Washington Heights (where the rents are not outrageous) causing me to travel through Harlem to go to work.

I suggest we disambiguate between appropriate discrimination and unfair discrimination.

Appropriate Discrimination: Taking the FACT that a certain area has a history of crime into consideration.

Unfair Discrimination: Taking an attribute (ie SKIN COLOR) as a determiner for a completely unrelated attribute (ie., intelligence.)

These two things are not related.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Lenny on May 29, 2006, 04:13:27 PM
I'm assuming you understood that gopyiz was being sarcastic when discussing Columbia and Harlem.  If not, pay attention a little better.  If you did get the sarcasm, then I have absolutely no clue what your response is supposed to mean.  Maybe I am just dense - I mean, I did go to W&L and we all know its just a bunch of ignorant rednecks with pickup trucks, gun racks, and pointy white hats down there. 

Gopyiz - thanks for a very good post.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: denk on June 05, 2006, 05:45:03 AM
Oh, yes - I completely get his post.

My point was that it *was* sketchy at times, having to walk through that part of Harlem to get home and back.  And Washington Heights DID used to be gang/drug/murder central in NYC.  It's better now, but a lot of New Yorkers don't realize it.

My point is that the examples (about Harlem N. of Columbia) were silly.  It definitely is a more dangerous place than, say, downtown Portland Oregon.  An elderly man was knifed in my subway station the day before I moved in.  A Julliard student was victim of a ritualistic murder in the neighborhood a week later.

And - the South, in general, IS a much more hostile place for people of color than is the North.  These are just the facts.

I believe that if a person (1) Isn't ready to accept the risk of a semi-dangerous neighborhood and (2) they don't have $1200/mo to spend on their room in a shared apt, they should avoid Columbia.

I also believe that if a person of color prefers to be in a minimally prejudiced environment, then they should avoid the Deep South.  That's just freaking common sense.

And these two beliefs are based on facts, not irrational stereotypes.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: SCgrad on June 05, 2006, 06:27:48 AM
I didnt know it was named after general lee! That is somewhat frightening. A few miles from a university founded by falwell? Yikes! I think I will steer clear of this area.

go to cooley.  he was a great man.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: Alamo on June 05, 2006, 08:16:33 AM
I also believe that if a person of color prefers to be in a minimally prejudiced environment, then they should avoid the Deep South.  That's just freaking common sense.

I can't argue with this.  But W&L is not in the deep south.  Not only is none of VA really deep south, but Lexington is in the Shenandoah Valley, which almost became part of West Virginia in 1863, and before that was included with West Virginia in an 1850 measure to divide the state that narrowly failed.  It was never heavily slave-owning territory, and the area has a different character than the deep south.  Not to say that you won't experience any more prejudice in the Lexington area than in Berkeley, but it's not Mississippi.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: denk on June 05, 2006, 12:26:05 PM
Interesting - thanks.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: pop_tort on August 13, 2006, 08:38:30 AM
After reading through this thread, I think the interesting yet sad reality is that in 2006, minority applicants have to keep these kind of issues in mind when choosing a school. I will even admit that I allowed the same factors to work against my decision to attend a higher ranked school in IN.

Yes, it does sound silly to say "XYZ city doesn't have a lot of minorities" but I think what people are really saying is that when there are more minorities present in a city, they know that perhaps whites are more tolerant of their presence. Comparing the harshness of Harlem to that in Lexington is a bunch of crap. You can get beat up/mugged/assaulted in LA, Miami and other parts of NYC just as easily - and the attackers don't necessarily care what color you are (AND your attackers are not necessarily going to be black!!). I think the OP's justified concern is not necessarily about being attacked in Lexington, but having to face subtle discrimination because of his race/ethnicity. I don't think you can truly empathies with what it feels like to be followed in a store, ignored when you walk in a restaurant, racial jokes made in front of your face, your kids being snubbed at school, and you know why it's happening. It really break you down, and some people would rather not place themselves in that kind of environment. Those may be hard words to hear, but until you've walked a mile in another moccasins.....

These type of decisions do not propagate racial tension as was said earlier. If anything, this is just one more person of color trying to navigate through current and continual racial tensions - certainly tensions that they did not bring about. Although we are forty years past the civil rights movement, the reality is that there are still places in this country where people of color are not welcome. Where minorities still ignored when they walk into establishments, where they still get stared at, ignored, asked snidely if they speak English, and many times harassed.

Many of the posters here seem truly bothered that a person would pass up a good school because of an issue of racial dynamics, but this is one more factor that a minority has to deal with. How many of you can say you looked at the percentages of minority students at various schools and took that into account when you submitted your apps? If you say, "well it doesn't really matter" then I consider you to be very lucky to be in a position where those factors don't really matter for you. But for others, these kind of factors are important to evaluate in the decision making process...Everyone wants to be in a place where they are comfortable, happy, accepted, and treated with basic dignity... where you are simply just a "student" and not labeled as "the asian/ the latino/ the black student"..... and not all campuses and cities are conducive for these kind of needs when it comes to people of color.

I think it's very wise for the OP to consider the experiences of his family and himself, and not solely just consider the reputation of the school.
Title: Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
Post by: wannaB1L on August 16, 2006, 10:50:07 PM
You know I have been in the south for several months and I never had any problems, and actually found that I really liked southerners. They were some of the nicest folks I have ever met. It is sad that this Mexican has such stereotypes about southerners. And the basketball guy who said he had problems when he visited W&L- seems like all the problems were in his perception. He felt and thought these things, but what actually happened to him- not a thing.