Law School Discussion

Why Affirmative Action is Justified

PNym

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Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #580 on: September 10, 2007, 11:07:12 AM »
Heh.  I didn't say she was a "mere right-winger," though.  I identified her as a right-winger only in the context of establishing that even the most rabid affirmative action opponents, and ones with true right-wing chops, acknowledge the existence of the stereotype threat.  Thus, I described her not as having been blinded by ideology, as you suggest, but rather as not having been blinded by ideology (at least not enough to deny the existence of the stereotype threat).  Her "empirical sense" is not at issue here, though, given that she did not actually do any primary or peer-reviewed secondary research on the topic.

Well, as a former liberal myself, I do remember that liberals often characterize their ideological opponents as either mean-spirited and hateful, blinded by ideology, or generally lacking in intellectual capacity. I thought your "right-winger" remark was directed towards forwarding that propensity, which is why I wrote the reply I wrote.

I do see what you're saying, though, about Wax's allowing for the existence of the "stereotype threat." I don't think she would say that the threat's effects can be conclusively established by the studies conducted thus far, but she does allow that it may have an effect ("suggest that stereotype threat..." versus "establish that stereotype threat"; "Does this mean that stereotype threat plays no role? Not necessarily" versus "Does this mean that stereotype threat plays no role? No" ). I do think, though, that reasonable people can disagree with me on this characterization.

Also, you're going to have your anti-AA troll card pulled if you fail to recognize that someone who received her advanced degrees at Harvard and Columbia can be an ideologue.  Your friends won't like this argument one bit. ;)

Ha! Well, I agree with you on that. Still, her advanced non-law degree was an MD in neurology, not a PhD in Critical Gender Studies. I'd wager that a neurologist has a pretty good grasp of the necessity of finding empirical observations, versus endlessly spouting unsubstantiated theory and barely-substantiated conjecture. 'Course, I could be wrong on that bet.

ETA: FWIW, I agree with Wax that the stereotype threat is not the magic bullet some commentators would like it to be.  For one, I don't know how much it accounts for the test gap.  More important, even if it is a significant factor in testing disparities, I don't know how we can do away with it in order to make sure the same results aren't reproduced down the line.  I think the encouragement and reassurance Wax allows is a good start; in the law school context, academic support resources for struggling students and pre-orientation, skills-based training programs are other fine ideas.

Yeah, I definitely agree with you that encouragement does play a role in bolstering academic achievement (I can attest to this from my own experiences). I'm not sure that differential effects of encouragement or outright discouragement on the academic performance of different ethnic/racial groups is enough to morally or causally justify AA programs, but I do think that society as a whole benefits when the academic performance of its constituents is maximized, so it makes sense to, within reasonable costs, pursue policies that take steps to maximize encouragement and minimize discouragement.

Miss P

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Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #581 on: September 10, 2007, 01:42:55 PM »
PN, thanks for your honest and well-reasoned response.  I think our disagreement is primarily a matter of semantics at this point.  I agree that Wax brings up doubts about how and when the stereotype threat applies and the magnitude of its effects; I do not agree that this casts doubt on the existence of the stereotype threat overall.  This may be a distinction without a difference. 

I will leave it to others to defend the stereotype threat more robustly (whence Redemption?), as I am no more convinced of its salience it than Sackett et al. -- which is to say that I think it's worth considering when evaluating test scores but that it is not, to my mind, the primary justification for affirmative action or a sufficient basis for most educational policies.

Miss P

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Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #582 on: September 10, 2007, 08:58:33 PM »
Are you using "you're gay!" as a comeback? Really?

I don't know how he expects us to take him seriously.

Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #583 on: April 03, 2008, 11:07:02 AM »
Since we keep singing the same damn songs...

"I've seen it a lot
Every time to the world turns upside down
Believe it or not, everyone
Most of us feel like we're losing ground
Believe it or not, everyone, hate admitting fear
Believe it or not, most of us wanna know why we're here

Why we're here, but we don't and we won't
Until we figure out, Could someone deliver us?
And send us some kind of sign, so close to giving up
Coz faith is so hard to find, someone deliver us?
And send us some kind of sign, so close to giving up
Coz faith is so hard to find
But you don't, and you won't, until we figure out


Most of us have nothing to complain about
Most of us have things we could live without
Everyone need advice on how to get along"

You all should just read these words, read this thread, crack open a Molson, and just think a little bit, eh?

Elephant Lee

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Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #584 on: January 24, 2009, 08:49:30 PM »
A nugget tangentially related to stereotype threat:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/education/23gap.html?_r=4&ref=us

This has probably been posted elsewhere, but I have not kept up with the relevant threads.

Miss P

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Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #585 on: January 24, 2009, 08:52:42 PM »
A nugget tangentially related to stereotype threat:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/education/23gap.html?_r=4&ref=us

This has probably been posted elsewhere, but I have not kept up with the relevant threads.

Very interesting, and I hadn't seen it elsewhere.  Thanks, Jorge!

SSDD

Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #586 on: January 31, 2009, 01:22:39 PM »
I just have one question with regard to stereotype threat:

If all of this is based on the expectations of those around you (for example, black people worried about a negative performance causing them to land in an unflattering stereotype) could it not be based on something besides race?

The first thing that comes to mind is the way that whites from uneducated, working class backgrounds are portrayed.  I am a white person from a poor family (I assure you there are plenty of us), and many times (because of my accent, and where I am from) I have been labeled as a "redneck", "white trash", etc.  Those stereotypes certainly don't flatter my intellectual capability.  However, I have never expected any special treatment because of my background. Instead, I have always used the stereotype to catch people off guard, to suprise their expectations whenever I outperform them on whatever it is we are competing at. 

This is in no way an attempt to compare my "white plight" to the widespread discrimination against blacks.  I grew up in one of the most racist areas in the United States and I know that racism is still an enormous problem that must be addressed, even during the law school admissions process.  I just have a hard time accepting "sterotype threat" as a compelling argument for poor performance on the LSAT.

Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #587 on: February 01, 2009, 02:41:29 PM »
Im sorry, but Affirmative Action is reverse racism.

Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #588 on: February 02, 2009, 04:42:11 PM »
Im sorry, but Affirmative Action is reverse racism.

next you'll be saying it's racist to have a black law student discussion board.

and thanks for apologizing. but it's your parents who should apologize for raising you so poorly.

If more of the URMs parents would raise there people better we would not have to hear about this "socioeconomic" epidemic. 

Re: Why Affirmative Action is Justified
« Reply #589 on: February 09, 2009, 03:33:48 PM »
I just have one question with regard to stereotype threat:

If all of this is based on the expectations of those around you (for example, black people worried about a negative performance causing them to land in an unflattering stereotype) could it not be based on something besides race?

The first thing that comes to mind is the way that whites from uneducated, working class backgrounds are portrayed.  I am a white person from a poor family (I assure you there are plenty of us), and many times (because of my accent, and where I am from) I have been labeled as a "redneck", "white trash", etc.  Those stereotypes certainly don't flatter my intellectual capability.  However, I have never expected any special treatment because of my background. Instead, I have always used the stereotype to catch people off guard, to suprise their expectations whenever I outperform them on whatever it is we are competing at. 

This is in no way an attempt to compare my "white plight" to the widespread discrimination against blacks.  I grew up in one of the most racist areas in the United States and I know that racism is still an enormous problem that must be addressed, even during the law school admissions process.  I just have a hard time accepting "sterotype threat" as a compelling argument for poor performance on the LSAT.

And many Blacks and other URM's do the same thing. But you are missing the point: A debt has to be paid...period. Whites got over on Blacks for four centuries, and used Blacks to build a country they dominate and reap the fruits of. Now you expect people who were disadvantaged by these cruel acts to be satisfied to be (questionably) "free", as if freedom should be enough...while you have every benefit this society offers; Black Americans do not enjoy those same benefits.

And it isn't completely about slavery; most of the debt for slavery should be paid to the slaves. It's about all of the garbage that happened afterwards (Jim Crowe, et. al)...all the way until yesterday (1865-2009), Obama notwithstanding. That's the stuff that has hindered today's Black-America.

And before you bring up Ethiopians, Nigerians, Jamaicans, Dominicans or any other segment of the African diaspora, let me say this: they keep quiet, but they love to benefit from the battle African Americans have fought. They look down their noses at us, but they don't hesitate to get in line to benefit from AA when it comes to college admissions or government contracts, business loans for their parking companies or anything else. It's the same thing with Asians...they benefit from AA, too (even if less-so in grad admissions). 

My point is this, the only reason poor White males are so against AA is because they cannot fully take advantage of it. If they could, you wouldn't hear a peep out of them.