Law School Discussion

No more AA at Michigan Law?

Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #60 on: August 28, 2007, 02:31:04 PM »
I'm amazed that you're so closed-minded and blinded on this issue that you can't even acknowledge that basic fact -- there's a difference between underprivileged and privileged minorities, just as there is between privileged and underprivileged whites.

Aren't you refusing to acknowledge that there's a difference between "privileged" whites and "privileged" minorities?  :)

I agree.


Of course there's a difference.  Privileged minorities, while possessing the same educational and economic advantages, often have a different skin tone.

However, the idea that skin tone, standing alone, should be a basis for public policy is inherently racist and ridiculous.

Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #61 on: August 28, 2007, 02:34:20 PM »

So now you're attacking me just becuase you think I'm black?   ;)

heh.

He thinks you're intellectually inferior because you're black.  He's a bad man.

t...

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #62 on: August 28, 2007, 02:49:04 PM »

But again, such past (and even present) discrimination only justifies differential treatment in those cases where the individual is actually educationally disadvantaged as a result.  It doesn't justify it where the opportunities are now equal, which is clearly the case in at least some situations. 

I think this is the meat of our disagreement. I think that the effect of AA - upsetting the status quo and balance of power/privilege in this country, over-weighs the negative affect you describe. I think once power and privilege is a bit more proportional, race perceptions should naturally ease and AA can be abandoned.

You probably disagree, and don't think the current costs/effects of AA are worth it to remedy existing conditions. I can admire that, at least.  But then, what else do you propose?


t...

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #63 on: August 28, 2007, 02:51:05 PM »
Homework for y'all:

Dig up the statistics on how many minorities attend law school. Also find out how many minorities end up in positions of power - partners, CEO's, whatever.


awesomepossum

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #64 on: August 28, 2007, 03:19:07 PM »
I didn't read the middle few pages of the thread.

But to stay on topic, it's worth noting that proposal 2 was effective only during the second half of the cycle.

Therefore the people who were admitted in the first part of the cycle may have faced different admissions standards as compared to people in the second part of the cycle.  That's one reason it may be difficult to compare the results of last years cycle to this years.

Alan Shore

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #65 on: August 28, 2007, 03:38:23 PM »
There was an e-mail President Mary Sue Coleman sent us after last year's election.

Part of it said,
Quote
I am joined on these steps by the executive officers and deans of our university. We are united on this. You have my word as president that we will fight for what we believe in, and that is holding open the doors of this university to all people.

Today, I have directed our General Counsel to consider every legal option available to us.

...

Of course the University of Michigan will comply with the laws of the state.

At the same time, I guarantee my complete and unyielding commitment to increasing diversity at our institution.

Let me say that again: I am fully and completely committed to building diversity at Michigan, and I will do whatever it takes.

The full text can be found here: http://www.umich.edu/pres/speeches/061103div.html


The full proposal text was:

Quote
PROPOSAL 06-2
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO BAN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROGRAMS THAT GIVE PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT TO GROUPS OR INDIVIDUALS BASED ON THEIR RACE, GENDER, COLOR, ETHNICITY OR NATIONAL ORIGIN FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION OR CONTRACTING PURPOSES
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
• Ban public institutions from using affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes. Public institutions affected by the proposal include state government, local governments, public colleges and universities, community colleges and school districts.
• Prohibit public institutions from discriminating against groups or individuals due to their gender, ethnicity, race, color or national origin. (A separate provision of the state constitution already prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.)

Just FYI! I have nothing to add to the debate! :)

OperaAttorney

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #66 on: August 28, 2007, 06:49:15 PM »
Nope -- unwillingness to examine the issue honestly and in an open-minded manner = close minded. 

Pot ==> Kettle


So now you're attacking me just becuase you think I'm black?   ;)

LOL :)

I think you wish you looked like Brad Pitt!

OperaAttorney

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #67 on: August 28, 2007, 07:20:30 PM »
At some point we should also talk about improving public schools.  :(


Of course -- better K-12 education would be far more helpful than band-aid preferences at the college and graduate school level.

However, this would not affect wealthier folks that much, who can presumably already afford private schools. 

Better K-12 education would greatly improve the quality of minority students matriculating @ today's colleges and universities. But I've got to tell y'all about racism in private schools.

I first encountered racism as a teenager during the fall semester of my senior year at a private, Christian academy.  I hadn't take any honors courses, but I had performed extremely well as a junior, especially in Biology and Chemistry. In fact, I had helped several Honors Chemistry students with their homework even though I was enrolled in the regular Chemistry course. (They frequently asked why I didn't take the Honors Chemistry course).  Because of my ease with science courses and my stellar performance, I requested to enroll in the Honors Physics course, which led to a meeting with the vice-principal.  She told me she didn't think I could handle the Honors Physics course, because I had never taken an Honors class, and the Honors courses were much tougher than the regular courses.  In response I told her about my "unofficial" job as the Honors Chem tutor, but she acted like that meant nothing.  I also asked her if other students with no prior Honors coursework had ever enrolled in an Honors course.  As I expected, she revealed that some students had done so, but she emphasized that these were exceptional students. (Please note that the only non-A grade I'd received as a junior was in US History.)  At that point, I got indignant.  I wanted to ask if those "exceptional students" were white, but I decided to adopt a more diplomatic approach. (I didn't think showing out would do me much good since she was still the vice-principal.)  I prodded incessantly until she agreed to enroll me on a trial basis.  At the end of the semester I had the highest grade in Honors Physics, which meant that I could continue. End of story.

What's the point? I was old enough to discern her unspoken sentiment. Would she have reacted differently if I were white?  I'm not certain, but I'd bet you she would have.  Her polite condescension would have discouraged most other students, but my mama didn't no raise no fool!  I was determined to take Honors Physics, and would have gone to any length in order to enroll in the course.

I'm currently studying for Summer School finals, so I'm letting TJ and Piggy battle the AA-bashers for now. I need to keep a high GPA. After all, I don't want to piss off  my future presumptious law-school classmates who may think I got into a t14 law school with pathetic #s due to AA.

Cheers,

PNym

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #68 on: August 28, 2007, 09:45:05 PM »
If you don't believe that minorities face an unequal playing field, or that because of the color their skin, or being of a particular ethnicity or gender a minority faces quite a different set of circumstances, scrutiny, image, and self-identity, then no argument is going to matter to you.

I'm shorter than 6 feet tall. Do I have as good of a chance at playing in the NBA as someone who's 7 feet tall? No.

If I were female, would I have as good of a chance at playing in the NBA as a man? No.

If I were a Southerner, would I enjoy equal chances of joining the Mafia as a Sicilian from New York? No.

If I were an aboriginal inhabitant of the rain forest who had only a few years of formal schooling and could barely speak English, would I enjoy equal chances of obtaining a position as a United States ambassador as a WASP who had lived in the States his entire life, spoke perfect English, and had been educated at the finest educational institutions in the world? No.

The playing field has NEVER been equal for ANYONE. Attempting to make the playing field equal would require an act of God, not man. For a human institution to even attempt rectifying the differential distribution of opportunities, innate abilities, and honed skills that has resulted from innumerate historical events, both incidental and accidental, would require that institution to have an incredible amount of power. And for people to grant any institution such unconstrained power would pave the road to serfdom.

If you don't believe that systematic discrimination has affected the lives of millions through no fault of their own, and you want to keep pointing to isolated "yeah buts," then there is nothing more we can say.

Of course people discriminate against each other. Heck, Kobe Bryant's parents were estranged from him for years because he chose to marry a Hispanic. But this discrimination isn't "systemic," if "systemic" means as a result of an intentional, coordinated decision amongst numerous parties, of the sort seen in apartheid South Africa. Rather, discrimination of this sort is ad hoc.

However, AA *is* "systemic" discrimination. Trying to rectify largely invisible "ad hoc" discrimination with a very visible policy that institutionalizes "systemic" discrimination makes little sense, if you take into account that the extent to which "ad hoc" discrimination influences a decision, versus how much of a decision is influenced by other factors, and how much of it is morally repugnant enough to merit a change in policy, is totally unmeasureable.

Is ad hoc discrimination even morally repugnant? I'd argue that it largely depends on the area where the discrimination occurs. Clearly, ad hoc discrimination that prevents equal application of the law is repugnant, but such discrimination in areas such as choice of spouse (or, for that matter, choice of heir to the family business) may not be.

If you want to admit that there was systematic discrimination in the past, and that there is systematic discrimination currently, but argue that "two wrongs don't make a right" and wail that affirmative action is just "reverse discrimination," then you're misconstruing what affirmative action really is and what it is being used for, as well as ignoring the reality of the minority's current position in society (and the power dynamic therein).

I addressed this point in my response to your previous one.

Furthermore, I asked whether "two wrongs make a right" to put Funia in the quandry of having to defend something she admitted was morally wrong. I don't agree that in all cases, two wrongs necessarily makes a wrong (which is what you've implied), but in this case I certainly do think that applies. Regardless, my employment of that question is largely tangential to my more substantiative arguments, rather than the main crux, as you have repeatedly posited with your numerous straw-men claims.

Affirmative action is certainly not ideal, but as of right now it is necessary. Perhaps some of you have a better solution?

How about institutions not providing politically-enforced privileged lowering of standards for politically-favored groups, and instead investing, with the cooperation of the groups, in means for those groups to meet the normal standards? That would translate into providing better schooling opportunities for those who would be future URMs, so they could meet the normal institutional standards.

Such a policy would rob the AA industry of a clientele, but would improve the human capital of the URMs, and this improvement of capital, which would allow them to succeed on their own right, would allow other groups to esteem URMs as worthy of respect, not handouts. I think this is a worthy trade-off.

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #69 on: August 28, 2007, 09:55:29 PM »
I think once power and privilege is a bit more proportional, race perceptions should naturally ease and AA can be abandoned.

So, envy of the greater wealth and influence that people of a different skin color hold is what aggravates identity politicians, and to appease these envious people, we should redistribute wealth and influence?

Who should do the redistributing?

And should we appease the envious?

And are racial relations currently truly acrimonious, or is that assertion without evidence? As evidence to the contrary, I can offer my own undergraduate experience: of my 4 college roommates, two were black and one was Mexican, and I never encountered any examples of racial discord in all the time I spent with them.