I think that some of you are missing my point. Its not so much my concern that newly hired black associates may face ignorance or awkard stares in their place of work. My concern is that a young minorities' credentials may be questioned by their colleagues and others because of a program that gives preferential treatment to some at the expense of others. A degree from Michigan or Harvard or some other prestigious school allows for a certain standing in the legal community. And I feel that AA degrades this accomplishment, especially if someone can look upon a person of a particular racial or ethnic background and provide an alternative explanation for why that particular person has found the career success that they have. Without an alternative explanation--without affirmative action--no lawyer of minority status who has earned a spot in one of America's top law schools or legal firms will ever again be mistaken for anything other than what they really are: one of our country's best and brightest legal minds. Moreover, to address those of you who say that what others say or think about you does not matter at all, I say this: You are lying. Nobody goes to law school for purely altruistic reasons. We all are a little bit self-interested. We want others to respect our accomplishments and congratulate us on our successes. And if getting into Michigan, Harvard, Stanford or (insert T14 school here) is a less impressive accomplishment depending on ones race, I really feel bad for the black or hispanic kid with the top numbers--the kid who worked his way into his 1L spot only to see other, lesser applicants from a similar racial category gaining admission because of a de facto quota system.
I'm touched that you are being so considerate. To think, you are advocating against AA because you have somehow come to the conclusion that it is actually against the best interest of minorties. As a person of color, I thank you for your concern. But don't lose any more sleep over it. It may make you feel better to know that if I do manage to get into a "top" law school, I will be eyeing a few of my colleagues suspiciously and wondering who got in because daddy's a particularly generous alum.
QuoteI'm touched that you are being so considerate. To think, you are advocating against AA because you have somehow come to the conclusion that it is actually against the best interest of minorties. As a person of color, I thank you for your concern. But don't lose any more sleep over it. It may make you feel better to know that if I do manage to get into a "top" law school, I will be eyeing a few of my colleagues suspiciously and wondering who got in because daddy's a particularly generous alum. I think the point you raise is an excellent one. Not only do certain racial, ethnic and gender groupings sometimes receive preferential treatment in law school admissions but the daughters and sons of generous alumns and others with "connections" often do as well. I feel this practice should also be eliminated. In my opinion, only fair, objective criteria should be evaluated, while all other factors should be absent in making admission decisions. Its the legal profession we are dealing with here--fairness and equality, in the purest sense, is what we should striving for in every regard.
One reason people may be writing off your concern is that the point you're making is to some degree irrelevent (I mean no offense by that). A Harvard grad is a Harvard grad. If they graduated and passed the bar, then by definition they were qualified to be at Harvard. People can say that they only got to Harvard b/c they were black. But no one can say that they graduated b/c they were black, and no one can say they passed the bar b/c they were black. If anything your example would only prove that AA is a legitimate policy. A minority with lower UG numbers was still just as successful as every other applicant. Great! AA works.
So basically you are attempting to compare the role AA plays in a process by which students are accepted or rejected to schools offering advanced professional degrees --based, at least to some degree on merit--to a program that helps to provide lunches to underpriveleged youths? To clarify, I never said I would oppose programs to encourage more minority applications to law schools, especially programs that would help reduce the financial burden that often accompanies the application process. I was never arguing that the perception of poverty was the problem with AA, so your comparison of free lunch programs and the role played by AA in the law school admission process does not really address my point, which strictly dealt with notion of merit.If a young, black law applicant with the drive and determination to go to law school needs financial assistance, then I am all for it. He/she can take the LSAT for free, receive free study materials, and get all of the application fees waived when they decide where to apply. At that point, however, I feel that it should become entirely about merit and about ones previous accomplishments relative to the other students applying at a given school. Personally, I would like to see "blind" applications, which would leave out entirely ones racial group belonging. In addition, I would like to see the Personal Statements standardized in the topical sense, which would allow all applicants to address a particular issue/subject, thereby leaving race/socioeconomic status and the like entirely out of the equation. I understand that some groups have an easier time than others in getting to a point at which they can be successful law school applicants. This is unfortunate. But so long as their are programs to "level the playing field" with regard to the financial requirements that come with applying, I dont feel that additional assistance is needed. Additional assistance beyond that point, as I stated previously, will only be a burden for those minority students who earn their spots. I would like to see the day where a Harvard grad is a Harvard grad, a day where no one could downgrade ones accomplishment by appealing to a certain program. When a newly ordained African American man with a Harvard law degree first sets foot in a courtroom, I hope the opposing council, in a moment of sheer terror, mentions to one of his associates, without qualifying the accomplishment,"I think this guy is a Harvard grad, Oh, Sh%t," rather than, "This guy is from Harvard I think. Oh well, he IS black."
This has got to be the weakest argument ever for eliminating affirmative action. We should eliminate a beneficial program because of the way people percieve all blacks in higher education? First, those people would be ignorant for generalizing, and second, African Americans are quite aware of the social challenges they face once out of school. It would be good for both the 3.4, 156 and the 3.9/174 to remember that high performance will eliminate any doubts.Clarence Thomas seems to be stuck on this point as well. But were it not for affirmative action, he would not have been a Yale graduate, he would not have been head of the Civil Rights Commission, he would not be a Supreme Court Justice irrespective of his ability. Affirmative Action opened up the doors of opportunity for him - doors that would have been closed otherwise.People are going to have their perception's of black folks regardless. I'm more worried about the social ramfications in a society without affirmative action.