By an accident of birth, I was born Hispanic. I never held that my race or skin color should entitle me to preferential treatment for anything. I beleived that all that should matter were my skills, talents, and abilities. Now, that I'm older, wiser, and see how people abuse the system, I figured that being idealistic was hurting me and if illegal aliens were coming here and getting everything on a silver platter, I being a legal immigrant, law abiding, taxpaying citizen decided to play the game too.
So I checked off Hispanic and am now attending a free prep course given by law school for Disadvantage minorities. I got a scholarship while my white friend with the same LSAT score and GPA got nothing. What a riot. The majority of the students in the program are African American, but are the sons and daughters of doctors, lawyers, ministers and other other professionals. One of my classmates comes to school in a Jaguar.
Why should a person whose parents are upper class professionals be treated as a poor deprived underprivileged child because of their skin color or where they happen to be born? I dont think that is what AA was designed for.
Just my cynical observation
Well, the running logic of it is that, as a minority, you're experiences in the professional world will ultimately be disadvantaged compared to whites with the same academic background. That is, even if you are of equal socioeconomic status, attended an equally prestigious school, and attained equal grades to your white counterpart; they will still have more job opportunities and an easier time with job advancement.
Take AA arguments dealing with Asian Americans for example. As many people are eager to note, Asian Americans are actually very well represented in the general high-paying job market across the sciences. They sometimes make up as much as half of any given research institute's staffing. However, critics will note that despite these vast numbers of very qualified individuals, Asian American scientists/researchers/managers are almost never elevated above the middle-management positions that they attain after a decade of work. They are usually passed over for less qualified white males.
This is known as a "glass ceiling" and is typically true not only for racial minorities but also for women in general. You'll find this is probably true at law firms and corporate settings as well, which all cultivate an "old boys" type of culture.
You can, of course, overcome these difficulties in a number of ways, but most people would agree that it is a particular disadvantage that you would not have to deal with if you were only born white.
AA exists in recognition of the problem described above. Now, it is very arguable that recognition of the problem isn't an effective solution to racism in general, but that will
require that you offer a better solution. Most AA enthusiasts will note that ignoring the problem would lead to an unnecessary extension of the problem.
To me, AA seems like a social "healing balm" which is supposed to accelerate the already natural process of healing. Many people agree that given enough time
the seamless assimilation of professionals of all colors into all professions will occur, with or without help. However, AA supporters believe that there is an ethical obligation to not help the process along whenever possible. Or, I should say, more precisely many believe that it is highly unethical
to allow it to go on for longer than is absolutely minimum.
This is for the same reasons that Martin Luther King, Jr. criticized the white clergy in his Letter from Birmingham Jail. Allowing injustice now
and demanding patience because the problem will be fixed in the future is a terrible argument, especially when so many have waited so long.
By an accident of birth, I was born Asian and was given up for adoption, and thereafter I was raised in the American Southlands in a very poor white family. The plight of the poor is the same all around, but the poor of a minority are indeed particularly poor. They possess literally nothing and are often not seen as the seed of "America" in any case.
I know for a fact that I've been denied positions, jobs, etc. because I am Asian American. I also know that the way that I look on the outside probably got me into an undergraduate institution that should have been looking at the material I produced from the inside. But the question for this topic is as to whether I feel I should be priveleged in the selection process of a very
competitive specialty set of graduate schools.
The short answer is no, but the long answer is that I don't have to feel that I am owed something to recognize the social justice played out by such a mechanism as AA. The AA is incredibly unfair to a small minority of majority students on an individual level, but as a canvassing effect is wonderful to the potential diversification of the legal profession as a whole.
Plus, many people overemphasize the role that AA plays in the selection process. Sure, you may have taken your friend's spot, but just how many minorities applied to the school in the first place?
I'll quote you here where you say "I never held that my race or skin color should entitle me to preferential treatment for anything. I beleived that all that should matter were my skills, talents, and abilities
." This is precisely the thing that all minorities want at the entire spectrum of their career, from academic unto professional. However, it is a sad reality that hard work and skills do not equate the same things to minorities as they do for white professionals.
My own family in Arkansas is remarkably racist, and most really are if you get down to it. Racism is hardly a thing of the past, just more people are discreet about it. I don't know a single business owner in the town I am from (and I do
know them all) that would give more than a floor job to a black individual, no matter how qualified. A law firm here would be stupid to hire on a lawyer of Middle Eastern, black, or even Asian descent because the local clientele would never trust them and would always request a different associate. And, in that case, the law firm doesn't even have to be racist -- it's just the society in which we live.
But, as you've probably noticed, Arkansas seems to be a great deal different from where you are from. Hispanics aren't treated with any kind of respect (save grudging), so you'd never have grown up with the idea that you are merely American and undefined by your superficial aspects. The place where you grew up sounds like a wonderful, idyllic world full of laughter, cheer, and absurdedly rich minorities.
You would do well, I think, to recall that most places are not like that. Indeed, most white people aren't even that rich or have that high of a percentage of doctors, lawyers, etc. Your sample is skewed it appears, because if we take that a step forward, how many "African Americans" are doctors and lawyers?
If you live in an area where the white are on average poorer than the minorities, you live in the rarist of places. You are absolutely correct that what you describe is *not* what AA was designed to do. However, it is the only design which has been really produced and tested. It *does* manage to pick up many affluent minority members as you've noticed, but just remember how rare these affluent minority members are. If the AA inappropriately picks up 1 affluent African American for every 10,000 other non-affluent African Americans it is still a good program. It is also the most likely of the scenarios described, because of the aforementioned rarity of affluent minorities.
It would be a mistake to believe that the people who created AA did not anticipate just these kinds of things happening. However, they chose to ride the proposal out for a reason, and it is in my opinion a valid reason.
Apologies for the long, rambling nature of this post. I'm avoiding taking another preptest.