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Author Topic: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?  (Read 18250 times)

John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #50 on: August 04, 2006, 05:48:47 PM »

However, a basic understanding of statistics and reality will confirm that such a policy would overwhelmingly support whites only. 1) Rich whites and Middle class whites score better on the SAT, LSAT than Rich URMs and Middle Class URMs. 2) Rich and Middle class URMs may or may not score better than Poor Whites. 3) Poor Whites score better than Poor URMs. If you agree to the factual validity of those three claims then you must also agree that eliminating race as a consideration would dilute the number of middle class and upper class URMs admitted in favor of their better scoring upper class and middle class white peers. And poor whites would get the bulk of the admissions slots based on this economic boost since they score better than poor URMs and since they outnumber all other ORMs. Thus, you are solidifying access to power based on race -and although that is not as visible as affirmative action, that sort of policy would be detrimental to the goal of racial progress in this country and equal opportunity...

...Fact of the matter is that people want to believe in the American idea that if they work hard and play by the rules then they will get ahead, yet they don't want to accept the obvious: that failure is the individual's fault. Using minorities as a scapegoat is common, but it certainly isn't a reason that we should eliminate a policy. A more plausible way to advance race relations is to increase the black middle class and getting people on the same level educationally, socially, and economically (within reason, through access to basic opportunities for upward mobility) so that we can start to understand each other across cultures. I think affirmative action certainly is a better solution than no solution at all.


Perhaps I am misunderstanding your point here, but aren't your statements contradictory. If URMs of middle and upperclass SES underperform their White economic and social peers, and also underperform some of their White and Asian socioeconomic inferiors, then how can we justify AA on the basis of increasing "the black middle class and getting people on the same level educationally, socially, and economically..." Once URMs obtain an improved socioeconomic station, is there not an expectation that they will perform (academically) in a manner that reflects their improved lot? Doesn't the idea that URMs with less impressive test scores (but access to greater resources) than poor Whites and Asians reap greater rewards (admissions) actually undermine racial harmony rather than "advance race relations"?

Well as I have already stated, standardized tests don't measure your academic ability (at least not the SAT or the LSAT). Those standardized tests do not measure smarts either. They only measure first year performance. Additionally, just because a person is on the same level economically does not mean that other variables have been eliminated that unfairly inhibit students from performing optimally on standardized tests. See Red's affirmative action thread for a exhaustive discussion on this. Additionally, you're making a pretty large leap in connecting class to opportunities (a link that has been taken for granted, but surely should be discussed particularly dealing within the concept of race). I fail to see a contradiction.


scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #51 on: August 04, 2006, 05:56:34 PM »
Do you care to explain how educational opportunities are inhibited soley on the basis of race?  I don't really see how this works.  If the minority is able to afford to go the the same type of school as the white, then what is inhibiting him or her (academically speaking)?

John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #52 on: August 04, 2006, 06:01:46 PM »
Do you care to explain how educational opportunities are inhibited soley on the basis of race?  I don't really see how this works.  If the minority is able to afford to go the the same type of school as the white, then what is inhibiting him or her (academically speaking)?

Do you really need me to go through all of the variables? And again are we talking about classroom performance or standardized testing with regards to the LSAT and SAT? Note how I've been silent and haven't made any arguments regarding classroom performance.

scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #53 on: August 04, 2006, 06:47:43 PM »
"just because a person is on the same level economically does not mean that other variables have been eliminated that unfairly inhibit students from performing optimally on standardized tests."

If you could explain that statement. 

aerynn

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #54 on: August 04, 2006, 09:02:39 PM »
It is a measured fact that minorities underpeform on standardized tests, even after GPA and Socioeconomic factors are corrected for.  You have to accept that as a given.  See Red's thread for more detail on that.

It is also true that the tests were developed using majority students to make it work.  Those test sections on the LSAT?  Well, since more majority students than minority students take the test, the test is calibrated for the majority.  That is also simply given.

Now, with this fact pattern, you can either conclude that standardized tests do not fairly measure the abilities of minority students due to a hidden racial bias in the test, inherent in the methodology used to develop the test or some other social factor, or you can conclude minority students are just not as smart as white students.

(I'm going with the biased test theory, myself.)
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scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #55 on: August 04, 2006, 09:19:08 PM »
Ok, I've heard that theory, and it's always sounded odd to me, but I don't know enough about it to make any further comments.  However, wouldn't it be easier to fix this problem and change the LSAT than to keep using a problematic system like AA? 

aerynn

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #56 on: August 04, 2006, 09:59:41 PM »
How do you fix the LSAT for minorities without breaking it for the majority?  That, and the test makers have an interest in not admitting the test is biased.  It is also more profitable for them to not change the test.  Any major change would require years of testing to revalidate the test as a predictive tool of 1L performance for both minority and majority students.  The private testing company is not going to do that unless the schools refuse to use the LSAT unless they do.  The schools aren't going to stop using the LSAT as long as the rankings depend on LSAT scores.  I guess you could try to get US News to stop using the LSAT in their rankings. 

What do you do when trying to get US News to stop using the LSAT, the schools to campaign to LSAC to change the test, and LSAC to reformulate and retest everything, assuming an unbiased test that is still predictive is possible?
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scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #57 on: August 04, 2006, 10:17:00 PM »
So you try to fix that with something that causes more problems.  It doesn't make sense to me. 

Maybe they could start doing some simple statistical analysis on what questions minorities miss and the same for whites.  At least do something.  If nothing else, minorities will be able to know what to work on to bridge that gap.  I don't know all the solutions, but I do strongly feel that AA is wrong, and isn't the answer. 

aerynn

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #58 on: August 04, 2006, 10:32:33 PM »
I don't think it causes more problems, except for a small group of people.  What problems do you think it causes?  That some people will hate minorities more?  I think that is a very tiny, very misguided group.  We, as a society, shouldn't pander to that group.  There are always people who will use minorities as a scapegoat for their problems.  This doesn't make it the minorities' fault, nor do we need to coddle that feeling.  Likewise with those who doubt the achievements of a minority because there is a system like AA that helps increase diversity and bridge the unfair gaps in our system.

Saying that doing a statistical analysis of what questions minority students miss paints minority students with the same brush.  While the majority is white American kids, minorities are hispanic, asian, black american, black carribean, black african, etc.  What if different questions are biased for or against different minorities?  You are back to scrapping the whole thing and starting over.  Which isn't a terrible idea, but in the meantime you need SOMETHING.  AA is that thing.

Again, I don't hear as much talk about rich kids and their advantages.  People aren't discussing banning test prep classes the way they do AA, although test prep classes gives a boost to people with time and money to spare.  Why is there such resentment toward minority candidates for an AA boost, but not to the wealthy for their extra tutoring, extra classes, extra parental support, etc. etc. etc.
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scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #59 on: August 04, 2006, 11:39:52 PM »
Tutoring is the same thing as studying.  And, there is no law mentioning test prep.  Eliminating that would be pointless.

Affirmative action does do those "small" things, but it is still simply an unfair tool.  I'm not blaming them for my inability to get into certain schools, but I also think that they should be subject to the same standards as me. 

You also say that people need to stop blaming minorities for their problems.  Why can't the minorities stop blaming the whites for theirs?