Law School Discussion

[The Few] White Law Students [Who Don't Quite Get It] Discussion Board

CavemanLawyer

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CC, thanks for your coments.  You raise some interesting points.  I generally try to avoid the AA talks, but I'm interested to hear more about these rich black students you reference.  While I suppose the term will always be relative, what exactly qualifies as "rich" for the sake of your argument?  Also, I'd like to hear more about the rich black students living "similar lives" to white law school applicants.  I think it might be helpful to get some comparison statistics and anecdotes about blacks and whites of the same socioeconomic status with respect to access to quality education, safe schools, highly qualified teachers, quality health care (prenatal, pediatric, geriatric, etc.), fair housing practices, neighborhood/community amenities, social services, healthy and afforable food options, predatory lending practices (in the purchase of homes, automobiles, insurance, etc.), access to influential social/professional networks, legitimate discrimination claims, etc.  Just my two cents....  :)

Here's a little anecdote about a friend of mine who is a "rich black" who is also a beneficiary of affirmative action.  He is the son of parents from Grenada, so his family was not initially faced with the sort of limitations that a multi-generational African-American family is faced with, such as the cycle of poverty etc.  His parents are very wealthy, judging from the area they live in (an affluent mostly-white area in an affluent mostly-white city) and their house and cars etc, I would estimate safely that they make more than 150,000 k a year.  (they bought him a Chevy Tahoe, and then two years later a brand new Cadillac Escalade)  He attended mostly white schools, hung out with mostly white friends (including me) and took part in mostly white social clubs (Boy Scouts of America).  I took classes with him all throughout high school and I know what his daily routine was like.  He took AP classes with me and was never discriminated against by any teacher or classmate, at least in the classes that I had with him.  When you mention every aspect of a person's upbringing, he has had experiences equal to, and advantages to me in some ways.  For instance, he was able to afford preparation courses for graduate school tests and I was not.  Also, his parents fully paid his way through UCLA, while I worked part-time to fund college.  He recently got into a dental school, and although it might not be politically correct to say so, I'm sure affirmative action had at least SOME play in where he got into.  I know this is an extreme example and is not representative of the black community, but this is my personal experience with someone who has benefited from affirmative action.  I don't hold anything against him though because I think he earned mostly everything that he has achieved.  On the same street, there was also another affluent African-American who I did not know so well, but as far as I know his story is somewhat similar.  These sorts of cases and the cases of poor and disadvantaged whites and asians, are what lead me to think that race-based affirmative action is unjust.   

Miss P

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If there needs to be AA still in the country, it should be class based, instead of race based.  I completely agree.  I work in a high school where I see alot of poor blacks...and alot of poor whites as well. All of them are struggling to have access to higher education.

I don't know where you get the idea that these two programs are mutually exclusive.  It appears that almost all law schools employ some consideration of socioeconomic class based on elements of applications such as a check-box about being the first person in one's family to attend college or professional school, a section for listing the number of hours worked during the school year each year of college, and questions about parental education and occupation.  Furthermore, just as URM students can use optional diversity essays to discuss obstacles they have faced because of their race or how their race may contribute to the diversity of their class, poor white students can use diversity essays to discuss obstacles they have faced because of their poverty or how their class background may contribute to the diversity of their class.  It seems rather likely that schools take these factors into account; I don't know why else they would occupy such a central part of the application.

If you believe that racial disadvantage is merely an index of class disadvantage, I urge you to read some of the sociological research on racial differences in educational opportunities.  A good start may be this report on the impact of racial segregation on K-12 education.  In particular, the section titled "The Poverty Dimension in Segregation" may interest you.  It starts on page 14.

Hank Rearden

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::admires how Miss P still responds to all these posts::

naturallybeyoutiful

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Here's a little anecdote about a friend of mine who is a "rich black" who is also a beneficiary of affirmative action.  He is the son of parents from Grenada, so his family was not initially faced with the sort of limitations that a multi-generational African-American family is faced with, such as the cycle of poverty etc.  His parents are very wealthy, judging from the area they live in (an affluent mostly-white area in an affluent mostly-white city) and their house and cars etc, I would estimate safely that they make more than 150,000 k a year.  (they bought him a Chevy Tahoe, and then two years later a brand new Cadillac Escalade)  He attended mostly white schools, hung out with mostly white friends (including me) and took part in mostly white social clubs (Boy Scouts of America).  I took classes with him all throughout high school and I know what his daily routine was like.  He took AP classes with me and was never discriminated against by any teacher or classmate, at least in the classes that I had with him.  When you mention every aspect of a person's upbringing, he has had experiences equal to, and advantages to me in some ways.  For instance, he was able to afford preparation courses for graduate school tests and I was not.  Also, his parents fully paid his way through UCLA, while I worked part-time to fund college.  He recently got into a dental school, and although it might not be politically correct to say so, I'm sure affirmative action had at least SOME play in where he got into.  I know this is an extreme example and is not representative of the black community, but this is my personal experience with someone who has benefited from affirmative action.  I don't hold anything against him though because I think he earned mostly everything that he has achieved.  On the same street, there was also another affluent African-American who I did not know so well, but as far as I know his story is somewhat similar.  These sorts of cases and the cases of poor and disadvantaged whites and asians, are what lead me to think that race-based affirmative action is unjust.   

Thanks, caveman, for taking the time to type such a detailed and thoughtful reply.  I'm especially interested in hearing more about the part I highlighted above.  It'd be helpful for me to hear more about your opinions on how this statement relates to your friend (who you say is not representative of the black community), as well as to how it relates to you personally.

Miss P

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Thanks, caveman, for taking the time to type such a detailed and thoughtful reply. 

Oh, Nat, I know you're trying to be generous, but let's get real.  Caveman's response isn't thoughtful because he carefully chronicles the experience of one extremely non-represenative person (a "friend" of his, no less!) and makes it (and the vague wisp of another outlier anecdote) the basis for his take on race relations in this country.  That's just not thoughtful at all.

jarhead

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Re: White Law Student Discussion Board
« Reply #165 on: May 10, 2007, 05:59:00 AM »
Excellent answer...I've always felt that it is inappropriate to have "Black Entertainment Television" because there is no need to segregate by race any longer.  And, if there were "White Entertainment Television", there would surely be a huge outcry and it would definitely not be allowed.

You're exactly right--separate things for blacks ended decades ago, so why try to bring it back by creating separate forums for black students?

Personally, it bothers me that law schools still ask for our race on their applications.  If everyone shall be treated equally, regardless of race, why is this even relevant?  I checked "decline to answer" on all of mine, perhaps for fear of being discriminated against for being white--honestly.


someone has probably already spoken to this but...just about every other every channel on tv is "white entertainment television."  bet may not be the best example because in my opinion they are too focused on videos, negative stereo-types, and non-sense i prefer tvone but beside the point. the fact is that there is a difference between legal separation of the races, sanctioned and enforced by the government, in complete opposition to the supreme law of the land and based on the premise that one race is inferior to the other and so therefore forever subjected to second class status. there is a big difference between that and having one or two cable channels that cater to black/african-american culture and interests among the hundreds that cater to whites and whites only. finally I AM SO SICK OF HAVING THIS CONVERSATION WITH WHITE PEOPLE (yes i know its not all of you just speaking to those who still make this stupid argument). you complain about AA all the time, you don't even know what it is  :-X! someone other than a white male whos worked just as hard, but most likely several times harder, to get themselves into a position to even be considered for the one or two positions that will go to somebody other than a white male, and suddenly the world is unfair cry me a f-en river.

CavemanLawyer

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Thanks, caveman, for taking the time to type such a detailed and thoughtful reply.  I'm especially interested in hearing more about the part I highlighted above.  It'd be helpful for me to hear more about your opinions on how this statement relates to your friend (who you say is not representative of the black community), as well as to how it relates to you personally.

Sure nat.  The reason I said that he earned mostly everything that he has achieved should be quite clear.  Although it's impossible to say definitively, affirmative action probably played SOME part in his acceptance at UCLA, and it probably played SOME part in his acceptance to dental school.  I'm not saying that he didn't deserve to go to college or get into a dental school, I'm just saying that if it wasn't for affirmative action, he would probably have gotten into lower ranked schools.  Let's be perfectly honest, realistic, and politically incorrect here for a minute, I'm sure you can admit to that.  Just like most affirmative action law applicants, he probably would have gotten into a lower ranked dental school if all factors were the same except his race.  I don't see how this is deserved at all.  The school benefits no more than a lower-ranked school would benefit from his diversity .  If anything, students like him should not receive benefits from affirmative action because it leaves less room for legitimate affirmative action candidates who overcame significant obstacles to get where they are.  And responding to you Miss P.  Although his case is not representative, I'm sure you could find many people who could tell similar anecdotes, as well as stories of white or asian students who overcame significant obstacles and were not given affirmative action benefits.  Just because small injustices occur, doesn't mean that they aren't important, because a system that creates injustices is somewhat inherently unjust itself. 

7S

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Just because small injustices occur, doesn't mean that they aren't important, because a system that creates injustices is somewhat inherently unjust itself. 

I think what most bothers me about your post, is that you ASSUME that affirmative action played a part in your black friend's acceptance into a top dental school. You never mentioned anything that would detract from his getting into dental school on merit alone.

That line of thinking highlights your sense of entitlement.

Miss P

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And responding to you Miss P.  Although his case is not representative, I'm sure you could find many people who could tell similar anecdotes, as well as stories of white or asian students who overcame significant obstacles and were not given affirmative action benefits.  Just because small injustices occur, doesn't mean that they aren't important, because a system that creates injustices is somewhat inherently unjust itself. 

Yes, it's true, borderline applicants come out of the woodwork with these anecdotes all the time.  What puzzles me is your conclusion that you know whether students receive affirmative action consideration based on the results of their admissions cycles.  Your friend's educational and other advantages were undoubtedly apparent to dental schools if their admissions processes are in any way similar to law schools', and yet they may (may!) have concluded that his race somehow disadvantaged him or that his presence in the class presented a special opportunity in terms of a diverse learning environment for his classmates.  (Keep in mind that part of the rationale of diversity is to admit URM students of different backgrounds so that people do not make monolithic assumptions about the experiences of URM students.  Your friend may have specifically added to the diversity of his class by the fact that his experience as a very wealthy black man reared in a white neighborhood, in white schools, is atypical for black students at the school.)  In the alternative, you may simply misunderstand the typical evaluative process of a dental school's admissions committee, and he may have been admitted without any consideration of his race.

Furthermore, I'm not sure why I should trust your judgment that your friend's race has not in any way shaped his life and opportunities or why we should extrapolate your reading of this very atypical person's experience to a conclusion that race is not a valid consideration in admissions. You admit that he is not in any way representative of black applicants to dental or professional schools in general.  It is not unjust for a policy to be marginally overinclusive (though you have not at all established that it is overinclusive at all).

Finally, some friend you are.

I think what most bothers me about your post, is that you ASSUME that affirmative action played a part in your black friend's acceptance into a top dental school. You never mentioned anything that would detract from his getting into dental school on merit alone.

I kind of assume that most white people believe this whenever they see a successful black [law student, med student, whatever].