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Author Topic: what race to mark on LS apps?  (Read 10290 times)

Mr Shears

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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2006, 11:27:16 AM »
Race is what you feel. Without what you feel, there is no such thing as race. It is a social construct, if there ever was one. Period.

To quote someone else, "[t]his is utter nonsense."

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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2006, 11:58:00 AM »
Take *THAT* up with LSAC and get back to us.  In the meantime, they're asking what race you are at LSAC and at the schools we are applying to.

No, they are not asking you "what race you are". That's just plain wrong. When in hole, stop digging.

jnc18

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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2006, 12:06:22 PM »
(or if the situtation were revered and you were raised in a black community would youno longer be white)?  Would you not mark both?

Not that it is relevant, but to answer your question, no.  Most people wouldn't mark both in that situation.

Anyway, my point was that when people with trace amounts of native blood and no connection to Native American culture start claiming themselves to be Native American, it does nothing for the progress of "true" Native Americans (those who know every second of every day that they are Native American), who have been oppressed and abused in this country more than any other racial/ethnic group.  In fact, it probably impedes their progress.

And let's be honest, law school officials really couldn't care less if someone's great-grandmother was half Cherokee.  They're not asking out of curiosity.  They want people that can represent the underrepresented racial/ethnic group.  Therefore, there really is no point in even marking what race you are unless you are hoping for some degree of preference (or just really care that they have accurate, detailed statistics).

Mr Shears

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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2006, 12:15:28 PM »
I think that people are unintentionally (or intentionally, who knows?) mixing two separate aspects of the same issue.  There is certainly a difference between marking a race in order to ensure that it is properly represented in schools, i.e., Native American culture, and checking off a race because it is in your blood. 

The former requires that you are actually actively involved with said race's culture so that you can provide true diversity.  A person may very well be Native American by blood, but if he or she was brought up plain old white (or black, or purple), it is unlikely that he or she will do anything to further proper representation of the NA culture.

The latter, on the other hand, is simply indicating what you are.  If you have a black mother and a white father, you are black and you are white.  There is no getting around that.  I don't care what argument you want to use, you are what you are, not how you feel.  If everyone in my family tree is white, I cannot check black because I "feel" black.  That is a ridiculous notion.

The LS application is deceptive in that it appears to be simply asking what race you are.  However, it is apparent that the true purpose behind the question is to determine which URMs they can allow into the school to further cultivate the overall diversity of the student body.  In other words, in normal circumstances, if you are NA, check it; on the LS app, however, unless you actually can provide some sort of look into the culture, refrain from checking that box.

Just my two cents.

jnc18

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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2006, 12:47:25 PM »
I second everything Mr. Shears said.

redemption

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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2006, 01:31:50 PM »
I've got to say, the thread here has opened my eyes up to the way people view/interpret the question on the application.  I thought it was a straight question about what you 'officially' are, which I took to mean by lineage/blood.

Apparently, some people have taken it to mean a more cultural question.

Regardless, we can all agree that we know why it is being asked.  That doesn't necessarily mean it has to be answered knowing why they're asking it.  Indeed, I'd think it better to err on the side of answering it as clinically/antiseptically as possible, with a you-are-what-you-are approach.  Clearly, this is not how everyone else feels.

To each their own, I guess.  I'm white: Irish and German, it wasn't too tough to figure out what to check.  I can see the dilemma for other posters, but one thing is certain, they ARE asking you.

They ARE asking you SOMETHING, yes. They are asking how you would classify yourself, not what you "are". There is a purpose to the question, and that is either their stated reason ("diversity") or another reason altogether ("affirmative action"). Answering ethically is a matter of answering based on how you view yourself according to these two standards. How you view yourself is a matter of culture, not of genetics. It cannot be otherwise.

Many people, and especially geneticists, have tried to find a non-cultural marker for "race". They have not succeeded, and that is not entirely surprising, You will notice that law schools do not and cannot verify, or attempt to verify, the information on this self-reported and self-determined identification.

The categories themselves are not genetic or "racial" ones - they are cultural. There is no "african american" race, no "hispanic/latina" race, no "native american" race, and no white race. If a Nigerian were to arrive in the United States and apply to law school five years later (having received his citizenship), he could mark African-American, if s/he wanted to, but it could be viewed by some people and in some circumstances as bordering on unethical id s/he were to do so.

AH

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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2006, 01:34:25 PM »
I grew up emersed in Native Hawaiian culture, taught to identify with Native cultures, and to diassociate from white culture (of which there were no representatives with which to identify or any postivie associations).  However, I sincerely doubt anyone would advise I mark "Native Hawaiian" on my apps because it is not in my blood.  Further, I would not anticipate that anyone would suggest I not mark "white" even though I know very little about that ethnic group and have never identified with it in a positive or communal way, but since it is over half of my heritage I am expected to identify myself with a group that I have no way to relate to based on personal experience.

I agree with jay that people with trace amounts shouldn't try to wholly identify with a group for an advantage it may or may not afford one in the application process, but idk if that was ever the issue under discussion in this thread (from what I can tell we have been working with people who are at very least 1/4, but usually more).

I also agree with kev and shears that several issues are being conflated.  Again I must say, that everyone can only do what is best for them and not judge, especially without all the facts (cause when you do you'll meet the random person who grew up in the complete social exception to whatever rule it is you think you're creating).

EDIT:  I have to say that race is not an entirely social construct.  I wanted to go to private school back home, but was not allowed to attend because I was not Native Hawaiian in blood, regardless of whether or not I indentified with the culture.  If race didn't exist, then they could not keep me out of a school based on it.
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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #37 on: January 30, 2006, 01:50:12 PM »
EDIT:  I have to say that race is not an entirely social construct.  I wanted to go to private school back home, but was not allowed to attend because I was not Native Hawaiian in blood, regardless of whether or not I indentified with the culture.  If race didn't exist, then they could not keep me out of a school based on it.

That is the very best example anyone could possible give of race as a social construct. Do you think that you could go to a doctor and have him find your race in your blood?

AH

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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2006, 02:02:40 PM »
No, but you can trace a person's lineage to determine where or not you are related to people who lived in a specific area before settlers began to cultivate it.  Considerng records were not kept, it would be done through dna of known relatives of ancient peoples.
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jag227

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Re: what race to mark on LS apps?
« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2006, 03:30:23 PM »
Ok let's use my case as a case study. I'm thoroughly interested in your opinions. 

I am approximately 1/6-1/10 pure blooded native american. I don't have any tribal card. As I've allready discussed I recently found that I was related to both the chieftans of the Chickasaws and Cherokees.  The majority of my ancestors stayed behind in Alabama during the trail of tears.  Recently I have been able to document 1/12 of my lineage.  The chickasaw tribe used to return to my grandfather's land every year for a tribal meeting. My grandfather practiced the traditions.  My uncles practice the traditions.  My great grandmother was a shaman. Two of my great great great grandfather's were chieftans.  Obviously those before them who are documented were chieftans.  My line is well documented by both tribes. But, I had limited knowledge of this lineage until one year ago. 

Since then I have contacted both the Chickasaw tribe and LSAC.  Both confirmed that I qualify as a native american.  I am eligible for a tribal card with the Chickasaw tribe, but I have not applied. I appear fair skinned as most chickasaw do.  I have marked Native American on my applications.

What do you think about my case?

Edit: I am documented 1/12 undocumented between 1/6 and 1/7.5