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Author Topic: A Black Woman's View  (Read 6589 times)

risingMC

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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2005, 11:12:23 AM »
I wish people would stop assuming that poor URMs, and poor people in general are not going to law school and/or don't read this board.
I'm poor. I'm a URM. I'm going to law school.


Its not an assumption, its a fact, and you're an exception to that fact. Go to any top tier law school in the country and tell me what you see. You don't see many poor, or URM students. The majority of law students are Caucasian and they come from middle, upper class, or wealthy families. This, however, shouldn't deter you or any other poor URM from applying, getting into the top law schools in this country and defying the odds. Much kudos to you in reaching this far. ;D   

Yup, and it's much, much worse at the top schools. The vast majority of the small pool of URMs who reach that level are obviously well off, so poor URMs are an even smaller segment of an already small pool.

jwilcox1024

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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2005, 01:19:34 PM »
My suggestion would be to base preferential admission standards on socioeconomic conditions rather than race. This would still help the truely downtrodden minorities as well as those whites who have lived through difficult circumstances. It would also eliminate the AA cases of minorities who are middle class or above who have had the same opportunities (or more) as the average non-minority. By removing these individuals who seemingly do not need AA I think it would help maintain support for the system; it is easy to become angry at the system when you see a well-off minority get into a top-notch program with less than stellar numbers largely because of a checkbox.


I'm going to break my own rules for a second if I may and hop into this AA discussion because its still rather peaceful at this point and the ears seem to be open.

The suggestion for the socioeconomic status is a valid suggestion, but still doesn't address the entire problem.  By basing AA on socioeconomic status ONLY, a presumption attaches that race is no longer a factor so long as an individual has money.  This may seem to be true to some extent, however in America in 2005 (some 40 years past the civil rights movement) race is STILL a factor in everyday life at an arguably equal footing to one's socioeconomic status. 

We all recognize the power of the mighty dollar.  What we sometimes to not recognize are those factors that either allow or deny generations of individuals access to the mighty dollar.  The "good ol' boy" network is alive and well today much like it was in the 1900's.  In law firms in particular, it's even worse.  Two people walk into an interview, one shares the same race as every partner in the firm, the other does not.  Who gets the job?  Even if they both got the job, who foreseeably gets to become partner?  It doens't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.  So what does that have to do with AA in school admissions? 

Everything. 

We all have parents and grandparents. We all came from some family somewhere who either had been denied access to the mighty dollar, or was granted access to the mighty dollar.  Unfortunately, race kept some families in while others out, and still does in 2005.  So to exclude race from the criteria pool of AA is not addressing the problems we still have.

Socioeconomic status DEFINITELY should be included in the consideration of who AA should help, but I don't think we're quite to a level of progress yet where we can preclude race from the equation.  I wish we were.


Sands

I am not going to argue too much with what you said. I would point out that I am advocating socioeconomic rather than just economic considerations in lieu of AA. If you can show how poor race relations directly affected you and held you back I think it can still count in qualifying you for preferential admissions treatment. I would need to think more, and look at a lot of research data, before I could make a claim about whether this system for making up for race is better than the current checkbox approach. Basically, I would need to know whether the assumption that ones race is a close enough (meaning 80-90% accurate) predictor of that social hardship or not.

My main comment is about hiring/partnership, though. If the picture you are painting is accurate I find it rather depressing. It seems to indicate we need AA to reach a critical mass of minority lawyers so that minorities have the same opportunities in their enclave as whites do in theirs, but that the best we can hope for is a system that is "separate but equal" in a true sense -- if I misread you I apologize in advance. I would instead hope we can reach a point where we are for the most part color-blind.

I do not know that AA helps reach that goal because it creates some strains on race relations than it helps to wash away. Right or wrong, many have a tainted view of minorities in certain places and view them as "different" because they were treated differently, in a preferential manner, at various stages of the processs; and yes, I understand that some-to-many may have been treated differently in a negative manner as well along the way, but I think most people gloss over this.

My conjecture is that the best thing we can do for race relations is to remove these points of strife while still giving the downtrodden a hand up at certain stages of the process. The best thing that happens for race relations is when people of different races live and interact with each other on a regular basis, and I think the effect of that will be even more magnified if the above-mentioned stress is removed.

This turned out to be much longer than I intended it to be so I apologize for the length and somewhat scattershot approach.
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risingMC

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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2005, 02:17:51 PM »
I am not going to argue too much with what you said. I would point out that I am advocating socioeconomic rather than just economic considerations in lieu of AA. If you can show how poor race relations directly affected you and held you back I think it can still count in qualifying you for preferential admissions treatment. I would need to think more, and look at a lot of research data, before I could make a claim about whether this system for making up for race is better than the current checkbox approach. Basically, I would need to know whether the assumption that ones race is a close enough (meaning 80-90% accurate) predictor of that social hardship or not.

It's probably not that great. The vast majority of AfAms who go to law school, for example, are from middle- and upper-class backgrounds. I read somewhere that it's about 80%, and that number gets significantly smaller when you look at the elite schools. For latinos it might be a little different, since we've only recently started developing a middle class (and only in certain geographic areas). I don't know how this would play out for other URMs.

I think it's fair to say, though, that if you replaced or eliminated the race-basis of AA you wouldn't get nearly the number of URMs in law school that we do now. 

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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2005, 02:38:47 PM »
I am not going to argue too much with what you said. I would point out that I am advocating socioeconomic rather than just economic considerations in lieu of AA. If you can show how poor race relations directly affected you and held you back I think it can still count in qualifying you for preferential admissions treatment. I would need to think more, and look at a lot of research data, before I could make a claim about whether this system for making up for race is better than the current checkbox approach. Basically, I would need to know whether the assumption that ones race is a close enough (meaning 80-90% accurate) predictor of that social hardship or not.

It's probably not that great. The vast majority of AfAms who go to law school, for example, are from middle- and upper-class backgrounds. I read somewhere that it's about 80%, and that number gets significantly smaller when you look at the elite schools. For latinos it might be a little different, since we've only recently started developing a middle class (and only in certain geographic areas). I don't know how this would play out for other URMs.

I think it's fair to say, though, that if you replaced or eliminated the race-basis of AA you wouldn't get nearly the number of URMs in law school that we do now. 

That's very true, which brings me to my next question. How exactly does AA work in the admissions process? I heard before that if you check a urm box, you get extra points (say 20 out of 100) that non-urms don't get. Is that how they always do it?
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risingMC

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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2005, 02:52:26 PM »
No, that's not how it works at all. It's first going to depend on the school, and then it's going to depend on the ethnicity of the applicant. Stanford, for example, seems to really pride itself in recruiting Latino students, but make a distinction between Mexican and, say, Cuban heritages. Then there are others like Boalt, for whom decisions based on race alone are illegal and won't give you any kind of boost simply on race. Across the spectrum, though, it looks like Af Ams get the biggest "boost," followed by Latinos and (maybe) certain Asian nationalities. The jury's still out on where Native Americans fit in.

To summarize: it'll likely help at some schools, but it's nothing as quantitative as simple numerical boost.

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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2005, 03:59:48 PM »
in the immortal words of Chris Rock, "white man, you gonna be alright"

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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2005, 05:44:09 PM »
Quote from: jwilcox1024 link=topic=36519.msg613373#msg613373
I am not going to argue too much with what you said. I would point out that I am advocating socioeconomic rather than just economic considerations in lieu of AA. If you can show how poor race relations directly affected you and held you back I think it can still count in qualifying you for preferential admissions treatment. I would need to think more, and look at a lot of research data, before I could make a claim about whether this system for making up for race is better than the current checkbox approach. Basically, I would need to know whether the assumption that ones race is a close enough (meaning 80-90% accurate) predictor of that social hardship or not.

I don't think we need to get that scientific with this question.  Good old fashioned every day experience can accurately show you that the color of your skin still plays a substantial factor in social hardship, independent of one's ecomonic status.  Middle-class blacks still get stereotyped just like everybody else.

Quote from: jwilcox1024 link=topic=36519.msg613373#msg613373
My main comment is about hiring/partnership, though. If the picture you are painting is accurate I find it rather depressing. It seems to indicate we need AA to reach a critical mass of minority lawyers so that minorities have the same opportunities in their enclave as whites do in theirs, but that the best we can hope for is a system that is "separate but equal" in a true sense -- if I misread you I apologize in advance. I would instead hope we can reach a point where we are for the most part color-blind.

Yeah, tell me about it.  It makes you wonder sometimes whether all of this is worth it if you know that no matter which law school you go to or what you do when you get there, you still do not get to be partner at a law firm when you get out.  Have you actually seen the numbers of minority partners & associates?

Quote from: jwilcox1024 link=topic=36519.msg613373#msg613373
I do not know that AA helps reach that goal because it creates some strains on race relations than it helps to wash away. Right or wrong, many have a tainted view of minorities in certain places and view them as "different" because they were treated differently, in a preferential manner, at various stages of the processs; and yes, I understand that some-to-many may have been treated differently in a negative manner as well along the way, but I think most people gloss over this.

My conjecture is that the best thing we can do for race relations is to remove these points of strife while still giving the downtrodden a hand up at certain stages of the process. The best thing that happens for race relations is when people of different races live and interact with each other on a regular basis, and I think the effect of that will be even more magnified if the above-mentioned stress is removed.

This turned out to be much longer than I intended it to be so I apologize for the length and somewhat scattershot approach.

You are right on about the social stigma.  No matter which way we chop it up though, either by race or economics, as long as there is remedial program aimed at assisting those less fortunate, those more fortunate are almost always going to feel that the beneficiaries do not "deserve" to be here.
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jwilcox1024

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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2005, 05:50:16 PM »
You are right on about the social stigma.  No matter which way we chop it up though, either by race or economics, as long as there is remedial program aimed at assisting those less fortunate, those more fortunate are almost always going to feel that the beneficiaries do not "deserve" to be here.

I agree, but I think one reason why socioeconomic factors might be a plus is because they make it harder to identify those helped out by the remedial program.
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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2005, 06:06:13 PM »
[quote author=Christina link=topic=36519.msg613567#msg613567

That's very true, which brings me to my next question. How exactly does AA work in the admissions process? I heard before that if you check a urm box, you get extra points (say 20 out of 100) that non-urms don't get. Is that how they always do it?
Quote

No, that's not how AA works.  Unfair point systems and quotas are illegal, unconstitutional, and are not proper uses of AA. See Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003) outlawing unfair point systems and see also Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978) outlawing quotas.

First of all, understand that "fair" point systems are used by admissions committees at school all over the nation.  You get points for things like being from a different state, speaking a different language, and also things like your mom and dad having attended the college before.  That's called being a legacy.  How do you think George Bush got into Yale with insufficient test scores (after being rejected from U. Texas Law).  If your parents attended here, check the box.  If you are female, check the box. If you are a minority, check the box.

The thing is, the points that are awarded can not be "unfair".  What is unfair?  Unfair is giving 5 points for legacy but giving 50 points for minority status.  They have to be comparable.  If you're going to award somebody 10 points for being a legacy, then you have to award somebody about the same amount for being a minority if these are considerations that you want to add to your admissions process.  Basically, "fair" means keeping the numbers down to a reasonable level so that unqualified applicants can not simply "check a box" and make it in over qualified applicants.

Those are the rules for schools who use point systems.  Other schools use different admissions systems.  Some don't have point systems at all.  Its up to the school on what they use, and what that school's compelling interest in diversity is.  If they have a low number of latino applicants, a school may wish to add reasonable weight to qualified latino applicants.  If they have a low number of white students, they can do the same.  (see FAMU Law's 2005 graduating class)
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Re: A Black Woman's View
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2005, 06:11:19 PM »
My suggestion would be to base preferential admission standards on socioeconomic conditions rather than race. This would still help the truely downtrodden minorities as well as those whites who have lived through difficult circumstances. It would also eliminate the AA cases of minorities who are middle class or above who have had the same opportunities (or more) as the average non-minority. By removing these individuals who seemingly do not need AA I think it would help maintain support for the system; it is easy to become angry at the system when you see a well-off minority get into a top-notch program with less than stellar numbers largely because of a checkbox.
The idea has some merit, but there are several problems. Part of the purpose is to get certain groups that face additional obstacles beyond just poverty, into the schools. If blacks, hispanics, and native americans are underrepresented, then AA is trying to help get a more diverse group. I agree that it sometimes benefits those that are already fairly priveleged rather than those in the most need, but it is still better than no system in place.

Also, there are more whites than anybody in this country, so filling many of the AA spots with poor whites would not help to get a more accurate representation of the countries population into law schools.

In addition, as a middle class white male, with two awesome open minded parents and no specific hardship to deal with, I am not sure that I think it is fair that whites with a screwed up background should get a big leg up over myself. It is complicated. The personal statement and background information give schools the ability to look on a case by case basis.

In my case, I believe my stable background and interesting family help to make me a strong candidate for law school. I don't know what is best, but a system that is trying to open itself up to underrepresented groups that have often been victims of systematic overt and subtle racism may have more of an argument for help than poor whites.
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