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Author Topic: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?  (Read 3098 times)

nawwal

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2005, 12:27:25 PM »

  I believe that the Black encounter with America is vast and diverse and that there is no monolithic Black experience. With that being said, I believe that my experiences of growing up as Black and Jewish, while is strange and different are still part of the larger black experience in this country.
 
  I go to a fairly good national university and frankly many, if not most, of the black folks here are of bi-racial, or upper\stable middle class backgrounds. Most of the people that come to our BSU or NAACP meetings are children of professionals or those of fairly stable middle class backgrounds. Yes, there are plenty of exceptions to that and there are certainly a large handful that come from the ghettos or entered through special programs designed for inner city youth - some make it and some don't but those that do really thrive. And another LARGE portion of black students are children of Haitian and African immigrants and NOT descendents of African-American slaves. Do they deserve AA, is AA about mending an historical injustice? Is it about diversity? Is it a form of reparations for the descendents of African slaves? Is it just for anyone who is black? If it's the latter then what is black? Am I not black? Is only my cousin in the ghetto of LA black?

   So what qualifies a regular black experience in this country? I was beaten up as a kid for being black\multiracial; I was called shvartza, n-word and brownie cake. And surprise, my family didn't have a lot of money going up. But I had highly educated parents, and I grew up around white middle class people and that gave me an edge - I realize that. So, yes, I didn't have it as bad as what you described or as my first cousins who live in the ghettos of LA, who lived through the riots the police brutality, in and out of gangs, and daily and continues racism, etc. My cousin never even had a chance. And I declare that he is one of the smartest people I know, he could have been anything. He is the victim of a racist America. Affirmative action wasn't even an option for him.

I didn't post my remarks because I wasn't sure what I am going to mark on my application - I already have decided. I posted my remarks to get a serious discussion going about this question in general.

Think about the type of person, white or black, who has the time, the money and the access to be on an internet site like this debating this topic or applying to law school. I think that to be able to do all these things one must have some sort of privilege that others aren't even able to access.

Anyhow, if anyone would be willing to read and comment on my personal statement - I would really appreciate it. If you are willing to read it - please send me a personal message and I'll reply back with it. I certainly don't want my essay to come across as pop_tart is suggestions, because that is sincerely in my heart not how I view it and because that would obviously be damaging.


I love how the law school application process helps people come to terms with their minority status.....

If you have to even question as to whether AA is applicable to you, I'd say the answer is no. I don't think it's the kind of thing you need help deciding on by posting to a message board. Either you know it's applicable, or it's not.

I also don't think being followed around in stores or "white women clutching their purses tighter" when they see you is strong enough evidence to cry discrimination, and how such "discrimination" has fueled your interest to study law - especially when compared to other folks who have experienced worse (i.e. unjustly arrested "for fitting a description", denied education opportunites due to economic hardship, acted as a translator for their parents because they were the only child old enough to comprehend both adult conversations fluently, etc etc).

So boo-hoo-hoo, your self esteem is shot because some white lady *allegedly* felt "uncomfortable" around you - I'm sure the same white lady might clutch her purse if she was around Marylin Manson or Eminem (had they never been famous). It wasn't like this white lady accused you of rape, and tried to have you killed - which is what happened in The Massie Affair: http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=62-0670033995-0, or like she was Andrea Yates and you were one of the black (or black looking) guys she falsely accused of taking her kids. Yeah, those are extreme examples, but you get my point-- a clutched purse is bullsh*t when compared to the more serious issues and problems that exist.

Happy writing- hopefully your equivocation on your racial identity is and what it means to you won't shoot you in the foot as your write your statement. And I certainly hope it doesn't hint around the tone of "my mama's black, so give me a hand out"... the adcomm will see right through it. You might, however, be able to play up your diverse background by discussing your multi-ethnic background and how that has infulenced and shaped you as a person, etc etc.

Good luck.



angmill08

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2005, 06:08:09 PM »
...is AA about mending an historical injustice? Is it about diversity? Is it a form of reparations for the descendents of African slaves? Is it just for anyone who is black?

I think AA is a means to increase racial diversity among elites in the US, the lack of which has been caused by historical injustice.

Can anyone argue that AA is an equal/fair/reasonable exchange for racism? I can't. But it is a useful tool for increasing diversity and racial integration, which I think is key to breaking down racism.

So I don't know if any one person "deserves" AA. But we all deserve a society that's not racist. I think AA has helped us move towards that over the past 25 years, and as long as it continues to do so, I'll support it.
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hammer101

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2005, 07:18:27 PM »
...is AA about mending an historical injustice? Is it about diversity? Is it a form of reparations for the descendents of African slaves? Is it just for anyone who is black?

I think AA has helped us move towards that over the past 25 years, and as long as it continues to do so, I'll support it.

I don't think it has, actually, which is why I don't support it. I think shortly after it was implemented it moved a very small number of minorities into elite positions in our society, but I think today's AA recipients are overwhelmingly the descendents of those people. So I'm not convinced it's moving us toward diversity at all...Rather, I think the long term effect will be more stratification in minority communities and the creation of a permanent, AA-engineered minority upper middle class.
We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the state is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the state.
--Margaret Thatcher

angmill08

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2005, 11:17:35 PM »
I don't think it has, actually, which is why I don't support it. I think shortly after it was implemented it moved a very small number of minorities into elite positions in our society, but I think today's AA recipients are overwhelmingly the descendents of those people. So I'm not convinced it's moving us toward diversity at all...Rather, I think the long term effect will be more stratification in minority communities and the creation of a permanent, AA-engineered minority upper middle class.

What do you mean by "stratification in minority communities"? And what's wrong with a permanent minority upper middle class? I don't deny that AA primarily aids elite people of color integrate elite white institutions. No doubt it does. AA is not a revolutionary measure. But it's still better than nothing.
164/3.46 Undergrad GPA, graduated college in 1996.
Applied: UT Austin (ED), Univ. of Houston, George Washington U & American U.
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ImVinny!

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2005, 08:46:05 AM »
No, I actually think nothing is better than AA, really. AA needs to go, it is something that is making racism continue in our society and more and more people are getting outraged that people that are less qualified, in some instances, are getting in on little than their skin color. now THAT is the not fair part of it.

hammer101

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2005, 11:59:16 AM »
I don't think it has, actually, which is why I don't support it. I think shortly after it was implemented it moved a very small number of minorities into elite positions in our society, but I think today's AA recipients are overwhelmingly the descendents of those people. So I'm not convinced it's moving us toward diversity at all...Rather, I think the long term effect will be more stratification in minority communities and the creation of a permanent, AA-engineered minority upper middle class.

What do you mean by "stratification in minority communities"? And what's wrong with a permanent minority upper middle class? I don't deny that AA primarily aids elite people of color integrate elite white institutions. No doubt it does. AA is not a revolutionary measure. But it's still better than nothing.

I should have clarified that. Actually, instead of "permanent" I should have used the word "fixed." That's what I mean by stratification -- i.e., that AA is helping ensure class positions in minority communities become fixed and is basically creating an AA aristocracy. A permanent minority upper middle class is a great thing, but a modern day aristocracy? Not so much...

I reach this conclusion for (mostly) 2 reasons:

1) The standard of living for poorer minorities is getting worse, not better, making it that much more difficult for them to move up in the world;

2) AA makes no pretention of even reaching out to disadvantaged minorities. As you said, it helps elite minorites become a part of elite white institutions.

So, here's my way of looking at it: If you're "elite," you do not need assistance by definition. From my perspective, there's really no other conclusion I can reach. Also, if the only justification for contiuning a policy is "it's better than nothing," that policy is ready for the ash heap.

I say this not to berate you or start a fight, but rather to show how we're looking at the same facts and reaching vastly different conclusions.
We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the state is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the state.
--Margaret Thatcher

nawwal

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2005, 01:36:43 PM »
No, I actually think nothing is better than AA, really. AA needs to go, it is something that is making racism continue in our society and more and more people are getting outraged that people that are less qualified, in some instances, are getting in on little than their skin color. now THAT is the not fair part of it.

Vinny, with all due respect - I think youíre full of it. Why? I don't know if AA needs to go or stay and I don't have the answers to all the paradoxes of this world or of this issue. However, I do know that AA is NOT responsible in anyway for racism. In my experiences I have found that White people feel entitled to things, and in my experiences, many feel that they are better then black people and MANY are racist and don't even realize it.

 Racism is a major disease in our society that permeates every level of society including its laws. AA is not responsible for that, America is. I don't know if AA is the solution to racism but I do know that its not the cause of it and I don't really think it fuels or creates new racism in our society. I think it gives people with existing prejudices a pretext and a cause to express their negative feelings towards minorities.


AA isn't perfect, but people like Vinny aren't giving any other alternative or suggestions for trying to correct over four hundred years of oppression and racial injustice. I have a white friend who argues that AA is wrong but is a strong advocate for reparations. He says when reparations come, AA will go. Well, I respect that - at least he is being constructive. So címon, lets say it like its, keep it real.

hammer101

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2005, 01:55:37 PM »
No, I actually think nothing is better than AA, really. AA needs to go, it is something that is making racism continue in our society and more and more people are getting outraged that people that are less qualified, in some instances, are getting in on little than their skin color. now THAT is the not fair part of it.

Vinny, with all due respect - I think youíre full of it. Why? I don't know if AA needs to go or stay and I don't have the answers to all the paradoxes of this world or of this issue. However, I do know that AA is NOT responsible in anyway for racism. In my experiences I have found that White people feel entitled to things, and in my experiences, many feel that they are better then black people and MANY are racist and don't even realize it.

 Racism is a major disease in our society that permeates every level of society including its laws. AA is not responsible for that, America is. I don't know if AA is the solution to racism but I do know that its not the cause of it and I don't really think it fuels or creates new racism in our society. I think it gives people with existing prejudices a pretext and a cause to express their negative feelings towards minorities.


AA isn't perfect, but people like Vinny aren't giving any other alternative or suggestions for trying to correct over four hundred years of oppression and racial injustice. I have a white friend who argues that AA is wrong but is a strong advocate for reparations. He says when reparations come, AA will go. Well, I respect that - at least he is being constructive. So címon, lets say it like its, keep it real.


I agree. Even though I oppose AA I'll readily concede the reverse racism argument is a canard (and for reasons you elucidated pretty well so I won't repeat). The solution is so much tougher, but at a minimum, we must begin by providing poorer minorities more educational opportunities -- they need better schools, teachers and most importantly, a home environment conducive to learning (this last element is the biggest challenge. It's more of a class issue than a racial one though. I'm from a small, predominantly blue-collar town and many bright people I knew in school didn't succeed because their family lives were a mess).

If we can implement the above, we'll be on our way...but, of course, that's much easier said than done. It's much easier to paper over the problem with AA than implement real change.
We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the state is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the state.
--Margaret Thatcher

angmill08

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2005, 03:05:23 PM »
Actually, instead of "permanent" I should have used the word "fixed." That's what I mean by stratification -- i.e., that AA is helping ensure class positions in minority communities become fixed and is basically creating an AA aristocracy. A permanent minority upper middle class is a great thing, but a modern day aristocracy? Not so much...

I reach this conclusion for (mostly) 2 reasons:

1) The standard of living for poorer minorities is getting worse, not better, making it that much more difficult for them to move up in the world;

2) AA makes no pretention of even reaching out to disadvantaged minorities. As you said, it helps elite minorites become a part of elite white institutions.

But how is AA assuring that class distinctions in minority communities become fixed? It seems to me like the "fixed-ness" of class distinctions (i.e., lack of mobility) has nothing to do with AA and everything to do with the education/environment in poor communities (of all races) and in middle class communities of color. AA doesn't really affect this, since it is a policy that generally aids the elite minorities.

It seems to me like the lack of mobility in the US is a problem facing all kids who grow up poor, and AA doesn't affect it much at all. People often say that there should be a better system in place for bringing educational opportunities to poor kids. I agree. But AA isn't the reason that such a system doesn't exist. It doesn't exist because the majority of voters aren't in favor of programs that would shift resources from the wealthy to poor communities or poor people.
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Applied: UT Austin (ED), Univ. of Houston, George Washington U & American U.
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ImVinny!

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Re: I consider myself black but is AA meant for me?
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2005, 04:10:50 PM »
"AA isn't perfect, but people like Vinny aren't giving any other alternative or suggestions for trying to correct over four hundred years of oppression and racial injustice. I have a white friend who argues that AA is wrong but is a strong advocate for reparations. He says when reparations come, AA will go. Well, I respect that - at least he is being constructive. So címon, lets say it like its, keep it real. "


Have you not read any of my other AA posts? I am always advocating a new idea for this AA, it should be based on socioeconomic status. That is my idea of a solution. Where have I just been complaining and not trying to bring up new ideas to fix the problem (that would make me something I am not: liberal)