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Messages - JayDee/P-Head

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Studying for the LSAT / Chat Transcripts
« on: July 07, 2006, 04:40:13 PM »
To all,

First, this is an excellent idea.  I'm glad that the discussions have already started.

Now, a problem: I currently am a student in Japan, and as such will not be back stateside until mid-August.  Until that time, since I have class at the time when the discussions are scheduled, I will not be able to participate in any of the chat sessions until I return. 

Is it possible for us internationals to have access to the chat transcripts after the discussion? 

I look forward to contributing more after getting back to the states.

Until the next time...


Simple question: how long does it take before LSAC publishes your score?  I'm trying to determine just when would be the earliest I could send my applications out this fall.

Just BEING African-American does not a disadvantaged person make.  That is why the whole system is so utterly absurd on its face.

What evidence do you have that justifies such a statement?  Disregarding a certain minority of blacks who, on the whole, are outliers in the sense that they are of high socioeconomic status and privilege (after all, finding exceptions to any rule is quite easy, yet is not necessarily helpful when analyzing general characteristics), what empirical evidence leads you to conclude that being African-American does not come requisite with certain disadvantages in the US?

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: What drives AA?
« on: May 20, 2006, 05:47:57 PM »
A little history, courtesy of (sorry, I don't have the time at present to obtain an academic piece from JSTOR).  Note the text The Shape of the River; I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it might be a good text to consider in reference to the history of this issue as it relates to higher ed:

The terms "affirmative action" and "positive discrimination" originate in law, where it is common for lawyers to speak of "affirmative" or "positive" remedies that command the wrongdoer to do something. In contrast, "negative" remedies command the wrongdoer not to do something or to stop doing something.

In 1962, James Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality, held a meeting with then vice president Lyndon B. Johnson. Farmer proposed that a program that he called Compensatory Preferential Treatment should be put in place in order to advance the equality of the black race. In 1965, Johnson (then president) renamed Compensatory Preferential Treatment "affirmative action" in a famous speech at Howard University, which became the national justification for moving the country beyond nondiscrimination to a more vigorous effort to improve the status of black Americans:

    "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, 'you are free to compete with all the others', and still justly believe that you have been completely fair."

It was a counter-argument to the previously prevailing notion of meritocracy. The skills that merit-based admission rewards are cultivated in children by parents with money. Affirmative action was to be a method by which minorities could eventually develop those skills in their own children.

During the Nixon administration, affirmative action was adopted as a federal mandate for companies with federal contracts and for labor unions whose workers were engaged in those projects. This "revised Philadelphia plan" was spearheaded by Labor Department official Arthur Fletcher.

In the 1960s and 1970s, affirmative action became overwhelmingly popular on campuses across America as mass student protests spurred schools to actively recruit minority applicants. National excitement died down in the late 1970s, and quickly turned to national controversy. Some theorize affirmative action has brought about vast improvement in the class stratification of minorities. From 1960 to 1995, according to data in The Shape of the River by William G. Bowen and Derek Bok, the percentage of blacks aged 25–29 who had graduated from college rose from 5.4 to 15.4%, the percentage of blacks in law school grew from below 1 to 7.5%, and the percentage of blacks in medical school increased from 2.2 to 8.1%.

A few words from Emile Durkheim:

"One sort of heredity will always exist, that of natural talent…A moral discipline will therefore still be required to make those less favored by nature accept the lesser advantages which they owe to the chance of birth.  Shall it be demanded that all have an equal share and that no advantage be given those more useful and deserving?  But then there would have to be a discipline far stronger to make these accept a treatment merely equal to that of the mediocre and incapable....But like the one first mentioned, this discipline can be useful only if considered just by the peoples subject to it."

Interesting quote from Durkheim.  Of course, there is a natural distribution of talent that is distributed across a population; this we cannot avoid.  However, I believe that even Durkheim, were he granted the advantage of the knowledge of a century's worth of social science research, would even have to acknowledge the fact that the ways in which such natural talent is nurtured and developed, and - perhaps more importantly - how individuals are positioned in order to use their natural talents, are informed by many structural factors, among them socioeconomic status, sex, and race  One's advantage or disadvantage in a society depends on not just their natural talent, but also on their location in a society stratified according to the above characteristics (and others as well). 

The Declining Significance of Race by William Julius Wilson.  I always agreed with his premise that race impacts upper class blacks much less than it impacts lower class blacks. 

Though Wilson's main claim may be empirically correct, I think it's foolish to not acknowledge the fact that race still impacts upper-class blacks to a degree that would not seem intuitively accurate.  In housing, blacks of any class level still are more likely to reside in poorer neighborhoods than their white counterparts; in assets, blacks of even the highest class levels are more likely to have much fewer assets than their white counterparts; and on education, blacks still realize lower returns on their investment in education in comparison to whites.  Of course, at extremely elite institutions, many exceptions will be present that seem to call the truth of the research to which I have just referred. Furthermore, if you look at Wilson's The Truly Disadvantaged, his "follow-up" to The Declining Significance of Race, his policy advice is quite interesting.  He states that socio-economic based affirmative action policies will attract more widespread support than race-based policies, and as such AA policies should move in that direction.   

However, what lies at the heart of the above research (especially the housing research) and opposition to AA (especially as observed on this forum) is the disdain for personal, individual sacrifice that is necessary to realize a more egalitarian society.  In other words, people on this board frequently state that a URM being admitted over them is unfair to them individually (implying that such a result is directly opposed to the notion of meritocracy).  I can empathize with that sentiment; however, the notion that people would like a more egalitarian, meritocratic society without having to sacrifice personally for that is nonsensical to me. 

I'd say the best approach is to do practice tests in a noisy environment.  This forces you to hone your ability to focus under less-than-optimal conditions.  That ability should help you out during the test, one way or another.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: When are you all taking the LSAT?
« on: May 20, 2006, 07:55:54 AM »
Sept 30th. 

Black Law Students / Re: Hip-Hop Music
« on: May 19, 2006, 04:57:47 AM »
Adding to the "international" flavor of the word many of us so affectionately use to refer to each other....

And this pre-dates the Dave Chappelle show.

Black Law Students / Re: Hip-Hop Music
« on: May 18, 2006, 07:18:03 AM »

My main issue is that hip hop is exported all over the world as a representation of Black Americans. A friend of mine who is in Yale Law School, was student body president at Stanford, all around doing big things - so as you can imagine he carries himself a certain way and presents himself in a way that doesn't really scream "rapper" - walked into a music store in China and the clerk greeted him with a "Yo Whats up my n-word!!"  :o

A story that has this beat, and straight from Oprah's mouth (said during an interview with Ed Lover on Power 105.1 NY last week):

Oprah decided to film a show interviewing Nelson Mandela at his house.  She went with her entire staff and television crew all the way to South Africa to visit him.  They get all the way down there, and when they arrive at the house, Nelson Mandela's guards greet Oprah's staff with "What's up my n-word?"  At first, they thought that they had misheard the guards, but when it was repeated they were shocked even further.  Finally, Oprah had one of her representatives pull the guard aside and inform him that referring to her staff using that term was unacceptable in her eyes.

Yet, who is to blame?  Are we simply to resort to criticizing the artists themselves for the music they put out there, or are we to also criticize the industry executives that determine which kind of images of black people will be broadcast?  And what can be done about it?

And also, I think we need to put videos in perspective.  I think it's all too easy to criticize videos as simply an extreme, denigrating depiction of black people; it must be remembered that, throughout American history, blacks in popular culture have been granted the (perhaps undesirable) space to express in a more unbridled, unrestrained form the behavior of mainstream white America.  In other words, videos are extreme, but also are representative of the desires and preoccupations of America.  And, as such, if parents are truly concerned with instilling their children with values counter to that of the American mainstream, they will make sure their children refrain from watching a whole lot of stuff on television, not just music videos.

PS. For NYers, Oprah also got Ed Lover to stop saying, "It's a celebration, b@#$#@"  He now says, "It's a celebration!"

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