Law School Discussion

A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS

redemption

Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2006, 11:32:59 AM »
....I think that we can do better in this thread, so I ask you all - given the situation she describes, what do you think should be done?

Red:
Let's start with you ..what do you think should be done?

Ok, give me a little while since I've so far been toggling between this and actually done some work  ;D

crazy8

Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2006, 11:40:49 AM »
....I think that we can do better in this thread, so I ask you all - given the situation she describes, what do you think should be done?

Red:
Let's start with you ..what do you think should be done?


Ok, give me a little while since I've so far been toggling between this and actually done some work  ;D
Exactly. Red, please don't take offense to anything I've said, but it seems like you've done a complete 180 from the previous thread where we discussed doing something about it.  I know you mentioned human rights is more your interest, but shooting down people's analysis, because it's not fresh and new bothers me.  Especially because I haven't seen in any of your threads (correct me if I'm wrong) where you've proposed ways to do something to change things.  That is why I strongly believe that it is time the black community look within ourselves to fix our problems.  Her ideas may be recycled, but everytime it's written, we should use it as our opportunity to energize ourselves to do somethihing.  Anansi suggested something in a previous thread: if all of us joined our local boys and girls club and gave youths (usually of the lower class) role models, maybe the class/educational disparity would lessen. It's not save the world, but you gotta start somewhere.

DJ Shadowolf

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Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2006, 11:44:28 AM »
Preach my sister

Deus Ex Machina

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Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2006, 12:26:26 PM »
Here it is.

My Thoughts on A.A.

What are the disadvantages of race in the struggle for success? They seem, primarily, to fall among three categories, financial, cultural and discriminatory. Which of these three factors has the strongest negative influence on the ability to succeed is a matter of almost endless debate since the latter two factors are almost impossible to quantify owing to an inherently personal and anecdotal nature.

Discriminatory Factors
Could one have no financial or cultural impediments to success and yet still be hindered by the bigotry of others? I think it is possible. All but the most scurrilous thinkers will admit that racism exists. Racism manifests itself in subtle as well as overt ways. Have you ever been followed around a store because the owner perceived you as a higher than normal shoplifting risk? What about being turned down for an apartment lease though your credit and references were impeccable? The fact is that when you are easily identifiable as a certain race you are also easily stereotyped and judged by less than enlightened people. If an individual whose race is commonly discriminated against demonstrates characteristics that suggest success for a particular endeavor it seems within the realm of possibility that those characteristics might be even more impressive in light of the fact that they were the victim of discrimination. Notably, this does not require that the individual even be aware of such discrimination.
   Is it possible to be white and experience these same influences? I suspect that, to a limited degree, it is (depending on the geographic area in which the individual lives.) There are countless small towns throughout the United States and most of them have (for lack of a better term) a set of “tracks.” The prejudice that an individual experiences when they live on the other side of this line of demarcation is often palpable. It is overtly demonstrated at the local stores, at school and can manifest itself in many of the same ways racial discrimination does. It imbues the individual with the sense that they fail to measure up to the standard of their society and can impact them in ways that are also detrimental. In virtually every rural town, but particularly factory towns, there is an area that is functionally thought of as a slum. In my personal experience these areas were referred to as “the gut,” short for “the gutter.” However, the major difference between this and racial discrimination is that with enough guile and/or sophistication an individual can disguise their geographic origins whereas disguising one’s race is an entirely different proposition.
Believe it or not, there are places in the United States where white people are systematically discriminated against. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the state of Hawaii has soon discovered it is no fun to grow up “Haole” in the islands. The racism there can be both subtle (when you are cut off in traffic or someone doesn’t hold the door to the elevator, it was probably a “Haole”) or it can be overt and violent such as the nearly ubiquitous “Kill Haole Day,” that occurs at most Hawaiian public schools. Various groups in Hawaii will argue that this racism is a backlash against the white oppression of pre WWII Hawaii but even if it were/is justified, it is still racism.

Cultural Factors
These types of distinctions are the most controversial because they are the least explored. In general, one is thought to be impacted by cultural factors simply because they belong to a certain race or geographic cohort. However, this type of categorization is precisely the type of stereotyping that perpetuates the myth of a substandard. The major question here is: does your environment/culture value educational prowess as part of its system of recognition? I.e. do your peers, parents and neighbors see advancement through education as a desirable means of success? Which group has the strongest influence on you is entirely individualized. This factor is not a function of race. An individual can grow up in a rural white trailer park and be faced with the same amount of negative impact because of the guns, interpersonal and domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, criminal activities and general disdain for educational achievement. What the relative numbers are is difficult to quantify. Many crimes in rural areas are never properly reported or for that matter statistically compiled. As a matter of purely anecdotal interest, I remember vividly the day I was told growing up that “We don’t have murders. We have hunting accidents.”  Nevertheless, the relative numbers are not what is significant, what matters is that as many individuals as possible, that meet the standards for having overcome significant cultural and environmental impediments to higher education, are recognized, so that they can be better served by an equitable affirmative action system. A system that doesn’t merely lump individuals into racial groups and zip codes as means of shorthand justice is the desirable goal.

Financial factors
   While not completely distinguishable from cultural factors, money is the great equalizer in this society. Children of all races that grow up in upper middle class and wealthy affluence have a tacit advantage over those who don’t. They have the opportunity to excel without most of the impediments faced by children of lesser financial classes. As I said before, there is still the possibility that one could have no financial or cultural impediments to success and yet still be hindered by the bigotry of others; however, I am skeptical that this is the norm.

Conclusion
   Obviously the answer is not to do away with affirmative action; it is to fine tune it so that it serves the entire society in a way that recognizes the potential of all under represented categories of people whether the impediment is discrimination, financial need, cultural barriers or, and this is key, all of the above. Therefore I offer the affirmative action index.
Financial impediments (indexed and cross referenced with national and state standard of living figures)
0 points for upper middle to upper class affluence
1 point for middle class
2 points for working poor
3 points for poverty
Environmental-Cultural impediments (indexed and cross referenced based on national and state crime statistics, education levels etc)
1 point for every 5 years you lived in a zone that fell more than 10% below the national average maximum of 4
Discriminatory impediments
3 points if you are a member of any underrepresented racial/ethnic group
Multiple impediment factors
If an individual receives points from 2 or more factor groups they receive an additional point
Here is an example
 
20 year old, African-American, upper middle class, family moved out of bad environment 10 years ago.
3 points discriminatory impediments
0 points financial impediments
2 points environmental impediments
1 point multiple impediment factors
Total: 6 points

20 year old, White, poverty lived in bad environment 15 years
0 points discriminatory impediments
3 points financial impediments
3 points environmental impediments
1 point multiple impediment factors
Total: 8 points

20 year old, Hispanic (non white), poverty lived in bad environment 20 years
3 points discriminatory impediments
3 points financial impediments
4 points environmental impediments
1 point multiple impediment factors
Total: 11 points

Now if all of them apply and score within the same LSAT band (not the same actual score for reasons that are statistically obvious) and have the same relative GPA the Hispanic student gets the nod because they had to overcome more to achieve the same.
What the exact percentage of seats set aside in each entering class should be I have no idea but could be the explored further.

Disclaimer: I am thinking out loud here people! I wanted to share this as a starting point for further discussion. Am I willing to amend this and listen to constructive criticism? Yes. I have done my best to write this from a purely personal standpoint it is not a research paper it is my intuition and life experience, an editorial if you will. I am not married to this expository essay. I am more than open to hearing why you do or don’t think it will work or how it can be improved or scrapped but please don’t attack me for trying.

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Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2006, 01:06:49 PM »
Great, It good now lets build on it.

You could add to cultural the lack of a traditional culture.

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Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2006, 01:16:06 PM »
everything is flawed. The rule in quality engineering is that nothing is perfect nor is no two things are alike no matter how you measure it. One can set a tolerance to some standard. 


Deus Ex Machina

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Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #36 on: March 24, 2006, 01:21:23 PM »
I'm not sure how to interpret an outright dismissal without supporting arguments. I would like to see the holistic Boalt method employed everywhere but remember that relies on every ad comm. having to be as enlightened and welcoming as Boalt is (and last years numbers seem to imply they are not even living up to their own standards but are moving towards a more scorecentric methodology)
Much of A.A.s problem is as discussed in the linked article it’s a perception problem. poor whites believe their spots are being taken by URMs when the fact is that everyone's spots are being hoarded by the affluent. A point system thatat least attempts to display quantitatively why one applicant is picked over another will help with the image issue.
I think perhaps you are confusing the flaw in standardized testing that judges people on an inherently racist/classist/culturalist scale with my index which awards points in order to mitigate those inherent flaws in standardized tests.

Deus Ex Machina

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Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2006, 01:46:09 PM »
Ok, my chance to disagree out of hand. It has been my experience that revolution is not preferable to reform despite its flaws. I'd love to go back and stick the apple on the tree in Eden too but it won't and probaby shouldn't happen. People start wearing haute couture instead of fig leaves and they aren't going to change in favor of being naked with everyone else.

Put another way...You might be able to equalize the pressure from two seperate spaces most quickly by opening a door between them but you wouldn't want to be around if that door was a hatch on a plane at 30,000 feet.

crazy8

Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2006, 01:57:49 PM »
We really should try to mitigate the AA discussions in here, from those that occur on the AA thread

Deus Ex Machina

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Re: A must read article by Lani Guinier, Professor of Law at HLS
« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2006, 02:06:34 PM »
link em