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Author Topic: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)  (Read 9421 times)

John Galt

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #60 on: November 16, 2005, 03:49:53 PM »
I think that this thread is stupid, quite frankly. Not the responses, but the original post. I mean, here he was juding someone's intelligence based on her not knowing the definition of moot or not being able to gain the meaning of the word in context. Then the guy attributed this to affirmative action in progress. Please, I bet he wouldn't come here and tell us about the time he got his ass handed to him in a class discussion by some black kid. That's affirmative action in progress too, ya know. The entire post had this air of superiority, like he was so much better than this kid that he had to post her mistake for all of us to see and ask "Should I help her out" because I feel soo bad. Please...that is just insulting. I bet the kid he was talking about could spell sentence.

I don't have a problem with pointing out flaws in affirmative action, but the OP was in no way indicative of any flaw of affirmative action. I mean he talks about the person's writing ability, but fails to note that law students are notoriously bad writers. Even the top schools have had to implement mandatory writing courses because students on a whole suck at it. He talked about her not knowing basic words...so what? As lawyers we're all going to have to go to the dictionary every once and a while. The main problem is that he does not establish that this individual received any sort of boost in the admissions process. For all we know, this girl might have had a better GPA and LSAT than the OP. Maybe she is having a tough time adjusting to the rigors of law school, or maybe she'll end up doing better than the OP when grades come out.

 Do I think his post was racist? No. Do I think he gave off a undeserved sense of superiority over this individual he wrote about? Absolutely.

angmill08

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #61 on: November 16, 2005, 03:50:24 PM »
The problem isn't always in the way someone expresses themselves. Some people are just LOOKING for racism, even when it's not meant. I like to think that most intelligent people (and I would hope that most if not all people in law school are intelligent) would be willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but, well... The whole PC culture has also ingrained in nonminorities a fear of criticizing because so many people are quick to scream racism.

Granted, I hear from my boyfriend about his being accused of racism all the time (he's a teacher). It was especially ironic when he was accused of only chastising someone because the kid was black... and he was one of a handful of white teachers in a prodominantly black inner-city school. Almost ALL of his students were black.

I've heard a lot of whites on this board say things like this. And in fact, when I was in college (at an overwhelmingly majority white school) I might have thought the same thing. But in the past few years, I've been living in a majority black environment and I have never felt this... in fact, I often wonder why my black neighbors don't call racism more, when it so obviously affects the way we have gotten different treatment from the police, from city staff people, from loan officers. (Just to spotlight three situations where I saw/heard about a neighbor and I being in a similar situation and getting different treatment.)

I find it irritating when white people say that our culture on the whole has become "too PC" or that people in America, in general, "make" race a big deal, with the implications that "they" (blacks, liberals, PC nazis, someone other than the complainant, basically) is to blame. In my experience, when you are in a majority minority community, there isn't nearly as much inter racial anger, resentment & suspicion as I notice, say, on this board or when I was in college. Not that people aren't aware of race, but there is just less hostility, resentment and anatagonism about it.

So I hypothesize that the suspicion and resentment come from the power (im)balance in some of these situations. I don't think that very many people are out there "looking for racism."
I mean, when you have elite educational insitutions where, like someone else posted, only 2.5% of the students are black, it's obvious that the US legacy of racism and segregation is still affecting our present. In these hyper-segregated situations, the results of racism are obvious, and I think that situation puts race and racism front and center and creates a lot of tension.
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blk_reign

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #62 on: November 16, 2005, 04:17:55 PM »
ang.. on point as always...
We're not accepting this CHANGE UP in the rules. Period. American presidents have been in the bed with organized crime, corporate pilferers, and the like for years. And all u want to put on this man is that his pastor said "Gotdamn America?" Hell, America.U got off pretty damn well, if you ask me...

jg983

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #63 on: November 16, 2005, 04:29:27 PM »
My problem with the "PC culture" is two-fold: 1) It seeks to limit the lexicon in a way that isn't helpful and ignores actual problems where they lie -- for example, I've been called "racist" simply for using the words "black" and "African-American" to describe different people, in the first case because I wasn't "acknowledging his cultural heritage" and in the second because I assumed someone had cultural roots in Africa merely because of his skin color. Ridiculous. The second problem is that entire topics of discussion are eliminated because they are inherently "racist" or "sexist" or "ageist" or "shapeist" or whatever other stupid label people want to apply to them. I remember when Lawrence Summers made some remarks to the effect of "maybe women simply don't do as well as men in math because aptitude in certain areas has some relation to genetics, and specifically sex." That's an interesting idea. But everyone was so offended by the mere suggestion that women just aren't as good at math, at the very high end of the scale, that instead of thinking about what he said, they just called for him to resign. I also read a story in Ms. Magazine about how science and "the media" are inherently biased against overweight people -- what the author called "shapeism" (I can't even make this *&^% up). I'm sorry, but when we reach the point at which scientists can't say "obese people need to lose weight if they want to live for a while" without fear of being criticized for their discriminatory attitudes, we have a cultural crisis.

It seems to me that we've cultivated such a culture of victimization that people are incapable of sorting out real problems from their fantasies of oppression. And I find all the whining and nitpicking pretty damn boring.

Miss P

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #64 on: November 16, 2005, 06:20:40 PM »
I think that this thread is stupid, quite frankly.

I'm a latecomer to this, but hear, hear.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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Miss P

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #65 on: November 16, 2005, 06:53:09 PM »
Some of the dumbest people at my law school are white. What explains that?
I am pretty sure there have been studies done that show that URMs consistantly perform poorer on average than other students in law school.  Of course there are going to be many exceptions in both directions, but that does not negate the empirical evidence. 

I am assuming for the sake of this argument that you and the OP think that affirmative action means admitting URMs with lower UGPA and LSAT scores than their white peers, and that relying on these indices in a race-blind fashion would produce better matches of students to schools.

Yes, there have been studies like the ones you imagine, though most of them concerned with bar passage rates (not law school grades per se).  LSAC conducted a bar passage rate study in the late 1990s (published in 98) that most seem to agree is reliable(www.lsacnet.org/Research/LSAC-National-Longituinal-Bar-Passage-Study.pdf).

The study showed that African-American students with the same UGPA and LSAT scores as similarly situated (same-tier LS) white students earned lower grades in LS.  This implies that something else, aside from the UGPA and LSAT scores of the applicants, led to differences in LS performance.  (The same was true for Latino/a, Asian-American, and older students.)  The reigning hypothesis (I think) is that environmental features of the average law school (such as professors' lowered expectations of, classmates' hostility toward, and feelings of alienation among students in underrepresented groups) are to blame for the lower grades.  Ironically, this suggests that increased efforts to recruit and enroll URM students would be the best way to "help" URM students who have a hard time in law school.
 
So...I guess you can drop an controversial statement with the preface "I am pretty sure there have been studies done that show..." if you're the kid with the 180?  I'm not trying to be a jerk, really, but this is a pretty lame argument if you're trying to say that affirmative action puts URMs at a disadvantage.  :)
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.

Miss P

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #66 on: November 16, 2005, 06:58:45 PM »
It seems to me that we've cultivated such a culture of victimization that people are incapable of sorting out real problems from their fantasies of oppression. And I find all the whining and nitpicking pretty damn boring.

But I don't think the responses to the OP on this thread evince any such "culture of victimization."  Folks seem to be making arguments that weaken the OP's thesis about the meaning of one of his fellow students' in-class performance.  I think it makes more sense to address those arguments head-on than it does to take recourse in a more vague discussion of "PC culture" or whatnot. 

But while we're on the subject --

Perhaps you didn't really mean anything by it, but I think your use of the phrase "fantasies of oppression" is pretty revealing: oppression is simply not something anyone fantasizes about.  You can make a decent argument that extreme sensitivity over language is not productive or that not every disagreement about how to achieve fairness or equality or better health or whatever implicates discrimination in some way (and I think you do).  But your insensitivity about the real fact of pervasive discrimination and historical oppression undermines your claim to speak in the generalized interest.  This argument is much stronger if you acknowledge that there are deep racial (and other) divides, but show that the free and open debate you wish to have is not contributing to those (or that it may, in fact, help ameliorate them).

p.s. I like you Habeas, and I generally think you are thoughtful and interesting.  Please consider this one of those "jsia"-type posts, okay?
That's cool how you referenced a case.

Quote from: archival
I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.

jg983

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #67 on: November 16, 2005, 08:55:28 PM »
It seems to me that we've cultivated such a culture of victimization that people are incapable of sorting out real problems from their fantasies of oppression. And I find all the whining and nitpicking pretty damn boring.

But I don't think the responses to the OP on this thread evince any such "culture of victimization."  Folks seem to be making arguments that weaken the OP's thesis about the meaning of one of his fellow students' in-class performance.  I think it makes more sense to address those arguments head-on than it does to take recourse in a more vague discussion of "PC culture" or whatnot. 

But while we're on the subject --

Perhaps you didn't really mean anything by it, but I think your use of the phrase "fantasies of oppression" is pretty revealing: oppression is simply not something anyone fantasizes about.  You can make a decent argument that extreme sensitivity over language is not productive or that not every disagreement about how to achieve fairness or equality or better health or whatever implicates discrimination in some way (and I think you do).  But your insensitivity about the real fact of pervasive discrimination and historical oppression undermines your claim to speak in the generalized interest.  This argument is much stronger if you acknowledge that there are deep racial (and other) divides, but show that the free and open debate you wish to have is not contributing to those (or that it may, in fact, help ameliorate them).

p.s. I like you Habeas, and I generally think you are thoughtful and interesting.  Please consider this one of those "jsia"-type posts, okay?

I think you misunderstood -- my post was in response posts about the "PC culture," and had nothing to do with the original content of this thread.

On the second point -- I think we're saying exactly the same thing. I said "people are incapable of sorting out real problems from their fantasies of oppression." I'm not trying to ignore real examples of racism, sexism, etc., which aren't merely figments of peoples' imagination. I'm merely saying it's a shame that such legitimate examples are conflated with BS on both sides of the political spectrum. For the far left, the story seems to be that all people besides rich, white males are somehow oppressed by their very existence. For the right, the story seems to be that a lot of things that get labeled as "racist" or "sexist" really aren't, so it's alright to dismiss all examples of discrimination, etc. as hogwash. The problem is that spending so much energy on being politically correct -- and political in general, but that's another issue --diverts a lot of the attention from that sorting-out that's supposed to be going on. This is kind of abstract; hopefully y'all have some idea what I'm talking about.

Miss P

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #68 on: November 16, 2005, 09:00:53 PM »
Fair enough.  I still don't think of oppression as something anyone "fantasizes," but I do think, as I said, that your argument is a sound one (if not one I would advance).  Thanks for the thoughtful response.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.

dbgirl

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Re: AA in action (a sad story about a classmate who made an ass out of herself)
« Reply #69 on: November 16, 2005, 09:02:15 PM »
I'm having trouble understanding how the OP could actually claim he "feels sorry" for his classmate and that he wants to "help" her. It seems to me that he just wanted to give people who dislike AA another anectdote to "prove" it doesn't work.

Really, this kind of "sympathy" doesn't help anyone.
When you have somebody dying because they are poor and black or poor and white or because of whatever they are ... that erases everything that's great about this country.

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