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Black Law Students / Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« on: August 07, 2006, 07:49:12 PM »
Like many of the women here, Jackie is offended by any suggestion that she is merely a sex tourist and that Andrew is, in effect, a prostitute.

'I see nothing immoral about it. I regard it more as a temporary love affair. He tells me all the things I want to hear, and I guess in return I pay for everything - meals, accommodation, transport, tours - and buy him gifts. But that is because I have much more money than he does. It is mutually beneficial,' she insists.

'When he tells me I'm the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and that he loves my body, I know it might not be absolutely true, but it's nice to hear. The affection, attention, intimacy and compliments are equally, if not more, important to me than the sexual aspect of the relationship.'

Jackie said Andrew raised the money issue the morning after they had first slept together. He told her he could not afford to pay his rent and needed to get his car repaired. She has been sending cash to him every month ever since.

Set on Negril beach, Sugar Mummies explores the pleasures and perils of female sex tourism. Playwright Tanika Gupta, who spent two weeks in Jamaica researching the subject, has focused on a group of British and American women seeking sun, sea, sand and uninhibited sex with good-looking strangers.

During her visit, she identified four types of female sex tourist. The 'Ibiza-type' are young, frisky and just looking for a good time. 'Many of them were sexy, beautiful, young and slim,' says Gupta. 'But because they didn't have that much money, the guys weren't interested.' The second group are in their mid- to late-30s and desperate for a baby, perhaps a cute brown one. She saw many simply looking for love, and finally what she called the 'grandmother-type': white-haired, sixty-something women walking along the beach hand in hand with fit, handsome young men.

'After about five minutes on the beach, I felt like Naomi Campbell,' Gupta says. 'No matter what you look like or what size you are, they have the patter to make you feel as if you are a supermodel. You see women melting in front of these guys and I can completely understand why.'

Although the playwright is not critical of the women who engage in sex tourism, ultimately she found herself increasingly disheartened by what she saw.

'A lot of the women talked about how big the men are and how they can go all night. I was shocked at the way they objectified the black male body. But what I found most depressing was that the whole thing is not real. So many of the women think they have found real love. It's all very delusional. At first I thought it was all about white women exploiting black men. But it's not. It's very mutual. The guys are just as exploitative and you come away thinking this is such a sad, sick world that we live in.'

Steamy, raunchy and often very funny, Sugar Mummies is the first play to explore the issue since Shirley Valentine, which was made into a film. Bellingham plays Maggie, a habitual sex tourist in her 50s. Ultimately she is a broken, tragic woman who says: 'Marriage is a compromise... you have kids, you nurture them, teach them, love them. They grow up and leave you. And then your man leaves you too.' In a disturbing scene, she ties up her 17-year-old would-be lover, Antonio, after he fails to perform for her physically.

The play is tough on the sex tourists, says Gupta. 'But what I hoped to achieve was an exploration of why these women feel so invisible in the West that they feel they have to go and pay for affirmation. It uses humour because there is something highly amusing about the fact that there are fifty-something women who believe these beautiful 18-year-old men have fallen in love with them at first sight.'

Others see such deals as an inevitable function of the global distribution of wealth and even a sign of growing equality between the sexes. Jeannette Belliveau, 51, a former sex tourist who is now happily remarried, has just written a book, Romance on the Road, about the steady stream of lonely women heading from the West to developing countries.

Belliveau became an 'accidental sex pilgrim' after the break-up of her first marriage to a 'difficult, complex Englishman'. In the book she recounts a decade of flings, some lasting one night, others several years long, with men from the Caribbean, Brazil and Greece. She said that she wrote her book partly to counter the negative views put forward by the small number of academics who have studied the subject.

She also wanted to 'normalise' the experience, which she says for many British and American women creates unnecessary feelings of shame, anxiety and secrecy.

'There is the view that these women are guilty of hypocrisy and that they are exploiting poor men. This is nonsense. Sex between two adults that doesn't harm either partner is without question a good thing. I learnt so much from it. It healed me after a painful divorce.

'When I was younger I was so idealistic about sex, thinking it was best allied to love. But I learnt that this is not always the case and I began to realise that the notion of a perfect kindred spirit was for starry-eyed youth.'

She believes female sex tourism is increasing because of shortages of suitable men, the hassles of the dating game back home and due to many professional women living in sexual exile, with fragmented social connections.

'Back home in the West, many strong-minded, feisty women tend to intimidate guys - they focus on their careers and neglect their personal lives - but many black men seem to like and loudly express an appreciation for headstrong, independent, bantering and financially sound women. It does not take a great sex siren in these places to draw men like a magnet.'

She is critical of those who regard it as prostitution or a hangover from slavery. 'It seems to me that these critics are implicitly saying, oddly like members of the National Front, that women shouldn't date or fall in love outside their race, nationality or economic group. Casual travel sex by women, whether they are 20 or 60, is in everybody's best interests. I don't see it as exploitation. I see it as adults having fun.'

It is Friday night and the party is at Alfred's Ocean Palace, a grandly named beach bar in Negril. The sky is black and clear with just a light scattering of stars. In the unlit bar area people sip rum or Red Stripe beer and share joints. A live reggae band is on stage and the sandy dance floor is bustling with dreadlocks and dope smokers. Pale, plump, clumsy women do their best not to look ridiculous next to the raw, natural and explicit moves of the Jamaicans.

Two English women, both in their late 30s, have been coming here two to three times a year since 2002. They have each had several Jamaican lovers. For them, it is harmless fun, but they have seen another side to it.

'Our friend came with us last year and fell head over heels,' says Anna, a nurse from Essex, who is standing arm in arm with Rodney, a good-looking 19-year-old. 'We warned her that the guy was a hustler, but she didn't believe us and said we were just jealous. They slept together, and then he started asking for money. For nearly a year, she sent him cash for rent, for a passport, for everything. When she missed a month, he phoned asking where his money was. When she said she couldn't afford it, he told her she'd have to find herself another beach boy. She was heartbroken.'

Anna goes to the bar and I ask Rodney if he loves her. He smiles. 'I have a lot of special friends,' he says. He pulls out his wallet and shows me photographs of five women. His 'special friends' are from Britain, America and Germany, with two from Canada. I ask who his favourite is and why.

'Connie,' he says with a dreamy-eyed grin, pointing to a white-haired but attractive American woman in her early 50s. 'She's got a lot of money. She pays for me to go to college, and when I'm finished she's going to take me to live in America with her. That is what we all want. To live in America or Britain.'

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

Black Law Students / Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« on: August 07, 2006, 07:48:44 PM »

Focus: Sex tourism in Jamaica
Sex, sand and sugar mummies in a Caribbean beach fantasy
A controversial new West End play will explore sex tourism in Jamaica, where lonely women flock for flings with young black men. But are these holiday romances sleazy or simply harmless?

Lorna Martin at Negril Beach
Sunday July 23, 2006


The following correction was printed in the Observer's For the record column, Sunday July 30 2006

The article below describes the Jamaican flag as bright green, red and yellow. This is Ethiopia's flag, favoured by Jamaica's Rastafarians. Jamaica's flag is green, yellow and black.


We're businessmen,' says Leroy proudly. 'We sell ganja, coke and good lovin'.' His grin spreads to his eyes as he touches fists with his friend Sean. It's a traditional male Jamaican greeting expressing good wishes, friendship and respect. Sean responds, bumping his closed fist atop Leroy's. 'Respect man, to the businessmen.'

It's 10am on Jamaica's breathtaking Negril beach. Bleached white sand, swaying palms and crystalline Caribbean waters stretch into the distance for seven miles. It looks endless and, on a first impression, this could be paradise. But Negril is not as dreamlike as it looks. It is no longer visited primarily for sun, sea and sand. Instead it is the destination of choice for an increasing number of British female sex tourists. An estimated 80,000 single women, from teenagers to grandmothers, flock to the island every year and use the services of around 200 men known as 'rent a dreads', 'rastitutes' or 'the Foreign Service' who make this resort their headquarters.

Female sex tourism is nothing new. It was reported in the late 1840s, when an Englishwoman went to Rome to take a lover. But in recent years it has grown in popularity. These days the women who participate are more likely to be single professionals than bored Shirley Valentine housewives. With females staying single longer and rising divorce rates, these holidays are expected to explode in popularity in the years ahead. Consequently they are the subject of a sudden flurry of books, films and plays examining the motivations of women who travel for sex, love and affection.

Earlier this month Heading South, a thought-provoking French film about a single 55-year-old sex tourist in Seventies Haiti, opened to rave reviews. Starring Charlotte Rampling, it tells the story of a disenchanted English professor who finds a new, more rewarding passion in the bodies of young black men which, she discovers, can be bought for sums trifling to the affluent. In the film Rampling's character Ellen observes: 'If you're over 40 and not as dumb as a fashion model, the only guys who are interested are natural-born losers or husbands whose wives are cheating on them.'

At the beginning of next month the Royal Court theatre in London, never afraid of controversy, will go nearer the knuckle than ever when it stages Sugar Mummies. Lynda Bellingham, the Oxo Mum who became the wholesome face of family values in TV commercials, plays one of four middle-aged women who visit Jamaica to sample male prostitutes. There is lots and lots of sex.

Before it has even opened, the play has ignited a heated debate about the rights and wrongs of female sex tourism: is it harmless fun, a mutually beneficial business transaction? Or is it exploitation and, if so, who is the victim and who is the perpetrator - the women who fall for declarations of true love or the mostly poor, underemployed men who make them? What makes it different from male sex tourism, which is normally seen as sleazy and abhorrent? And is it, as many critics argue, perpetuating the racist myth of the hyper-sexual black man?

The gigolos working on Negril beach offer a simple explanation for their role in what is commonly, though euphemistically, called 'romance tourism'.

'For us it's a fun and easy way to make money,' says Leroy. 'For her, she gets some real good lovin'. All the English ladies who come here complain about the men back home. They say they are cold and selfish, mechanical and uncomplimentary. We know how to make a lady feel good.'

His friend explains that there is no welfare state in Jamaica. Staff who work in the hotels, which charge guests from about £120 a night, earn between £40 and £50 a week. The hard-working and high-earning but lonely western women who come to the island seem like millionaires. 'We are all poor in Jamaica. What we do is more fun and more money than working in a hotel.'

It can be extremely lucrative, but the idea that the men charge a certain price for a set service simply doesn't happen. There seems to be a mutual but tacitly agreed deception at the heart of the gigolo-client relationship. Payment is rarely mentioned because this would shatter the illusion that she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and he has fallen desperately in love with her. Instead, after charming the women and offering to be their guide, the gigolos set about, sometimes in subtle ways, extracting as much money as possible.

Leroy and Sean, who are both 22, spot two large white women who look around fortyish. They saunter towards them, taking in any obvious weaknesses.

'Good morning, beautiful ladies. Welcome to Jamaica,' says Leroy, offering his fist to one of the women. 'Respect,' adds Sean, as he gazes deep into the pale blue eyes of her friend.

In the distance you can hear other beach boys advertising some of their more conventional wares: 'Coconut, pineapple, mangoes, bananas, Marlboros.' Hand-painted signs, invariably in the bright green, red and yellow colours of the country's flag, invite tourists to stop for breakfast of ackee fruit and salt fish. Other stalls sell aloe vera massages, hair braiding, handmade jewellery and carvings. Even in the morning, it is possible to detect the unmistakable smell of marijuana wafting in the faint breeze.

The women awkwardly offer their fists in response and introduce themselves. They arrived the previous evening from Miami. It is their first morning on the beach.

'You are gorgeous,' Leroy tells one of them, whose attractiveness isn't immediately apparent. 'What part of heaven did you fall from?'

A policeman wanders past, observing but not intervening. Later he tells me it is usually the women who complain on the rare occasions that the force does apprehend hustlers.

She grins at her friend, clearly flattered but not completely fooled. 'Beautiful ladies, some of the men here will hassle you and rip you off,' he warns, appearing genuinely concerned for their wellbeing. 'You need someone to look after you. To show you around. Take you to the waterfalls, the Blue Mountains and the caves and the best parties.' He smiles coquettishly.

The two women look at each other like nervous schoolgirls and giggle. They say they think they are a bit too old for the men.

'No, you ageless,' Leroy continues, shaking his head. 'We are real men. In Jamaica, real men like the cat, not the kitten. And real men like real women. Mature and intelligent and beautiful women like you.'

To some people, their well-rehearsed chat-up lines might sound corny, a bit nauseating, somewhat transparent. But for plenty of women the words are just what they have been longing to hear. They agree to meet later that night at the reggae party on the beach.

When I ask Leroy what he does if he's not attracted to a woman, he responds matter of factly: 'Close my eyes and pretend it's Beyoncé.'

Not far from them, strolling along the water's edge are Jackie, a 38-year-old single woman who works in London as an advertising manager, and Andrew, 24. Jackie is short with dark hair and a plain but attractive face. She met Andrew, tall and slender but solidly built, during a holiday to the island with two girlfriends last December. She has returned to spend a week with him. Only one close friend knows she is here.

'I'd heard about these guys who trawl the beach and I wondered what kind of stupid woman would fall for that kind of thing,' Jackie says. 'At first when Andrew approached me, I dismissed him. I hadn't come here looking for any kind of relationship. I came to get over one.

'But he persisted. He wooed and charmed me. He was funny and very complimentary. I was with my friends and I was a bit worried that they would disapprove. But I thought, "what the hell, you only live once". And I suppose there was a bit of me that wanted to do something slightly adventurous.'

Congrats! You should be proud.

Black Law Students / Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« on: August 02, 2006, 07:34:49 AM »
LOL! I hope someone will have mercy and shoot me if I EVER come off sounding as self-important as the writer of that article.

Black Law Students / Re: Black Law Student Discussion Board
« on: August 01, 2006, 01:39:46 PM »
Yah. Like the story said, if there's a prevalent stereotype about the fat, sassy black woman black filmmakers and comedians are some of the biggest culprits in perpetrating it.

I don't think the ad was offensive.

Black Law Students / Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« on: August 01, 2006, 12:03:35 PM »
Interesting article. I read Shelby Steele's latest book. I don't agree entirely with his philosophy but some of it is illuminating. It's unfortunate that a lot of people discount all of what he says because he has conservative views.

I totally agree with his point that some opportunistic Blacks have used racism as some sort of currency with whites who seek to appear morally superior and/or who fear being branded racist. That sort of BS has hurt Black folks so much and it needs to stop.

Black Law Students / Re: 2L/3L Fall Campus Interview Thread
« on: July 27, 2006, 06:01:42 AM »
I don't know about the braids, ladies. I went on two interviews for 1L summer jobs with my braids in and the interviewers kept staring at them the whole time! They were pulled back in a ponytail, too. I didn't get either of those gigs, even though I thought the interview went well otherwise. Of course, it could have been all in my head but I'm just saying..

The next interview I took out my braids and wore my natural in a tight bun and I didn't get any weird vibes. I ended up at a good firm this summer but I've never worn braids to work; I always keep my hair pulled back. It's a huge compromise but I really wanted to make money this summer.  :-\ For 2l OCI, I'll most likely rock the bun again although I'd really prefer to wear my hair in two-strand twists. But the way I see it, I need the job more than I need to wear my hair in twists. It might be different for other folks.

Black Law Students / Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« on: July 25, 2006, 06:57:17 AM »
Dates from '57 law
Established in 1957 as part of the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Division enforces the nation's antidiscrimination laws.

The 1957 law and subsequent civil rights acts directed the division to file lawsuits against state and local governments, submit ``friend-of-the-court" briefs in other discrimination cases, and review changes to election laws and redistricting to make sure they will not keep minorities from voting.

The division is managed by a president's appointees -- the assistant attorney general for civil rights and his deputies -- who are replaced when a new president takes office.

Beneath the political appointees, most of the work is carried out by a permanent staff of about 350 lawyers. They take complaints, investigate problems, propose lawsuits, litigate cases, and negotiate settlements.

Until recently, career attorneys also played an important role in deciding whom to hire when vacancies opened up in their ranks.

``We were looking for a strong academic record, for clerkships, and for evidence of an interest in civil rights enforcement," said William Yeomans , who worked for the division for 24 years, leaving in 2005.

Civil Rights Division supervisors of both parties almost always accepted the career attorneys' hiring recommendations, longtime staffers say. Charles Cooper , a former deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Reagan administration, said the system of hiring through committees of career professionals worked well.

``There was obviously oversight from the front office, but I don't remember a time when an individual went through that process and was not accepted," Cooper said. ``I just don't think there was any quarrel with the quality of individuals who were being hired. And we certainly weren't placing any kind of political litmus test on . . . the individuals who were ultimately determined to be best qualified."

But during the fall 2002 hiring cycle, the Bush administration changed the rules. Longtime career attorneys say there was never an official announcement. The hiring committee simply was not convened, and eventually its members learned that it had been disbanded.

Driscoll, the former Bush administration appointee, said then-Attorney General John Ashcroft changed hiring rules for the entire Justice Department, not just the Civil Rights Division. But career officials say that the change had a particularly strong impact in the Civil Rights Division, where the potential for political interference is greater than in divisions that enforce less controversial laws.

Joe Rich , who joined the division in 1968 and who was chief of the voting rights section until he left last year, said that the change reduced career attorneys' input on hiring decisions to virtually nothing. Once the political appointees screened resumes and decided on a finalist for a job in his section, Rich said, they would invite him to sit in on the applicant's final interview but they wouldn't tell him who else had applied, nor did they ask his opinion about whether to hire the attorney.

The changes extended to the hiring of summer interns.

Danielle Leonard , who was one of the last lawyers to be hired into the voting rights section under the old system, said she volunteered to look through internship applications in 2002.

Leonard said she went through the resumes, putting Post-It Notes on them with comments, until her supervisor told her that career staff would no longer be allowed to review the intern resumes. Leonard removed her Post-Its from the resumes and a political aide took them away.

Leonard said she quit a few months later, having stayed in what she had thought would be her ``dream job" for less than a year, because she was frustrated and demoralized by the direction the division was taking.

The academic credentials of the lawyers hired into the division also underwent a shift at this time, the documents show. Attorneys hired by the career hiring committees largely came from Eastern law schools with elite reputations, while a greater proportion of the political appointees' hires instead attended Southern and Midwestern law schools with conservative reputations.

The average US News & World Report ranking for the law school attended by successful applicants hired in 2001 and 2002 was 34, while the average law school rank dropped to 44 for those hired after 2003.

Driscoll, the former division chief-of-staff, insisted that everyone he personally had hired was well qualified. And, he said, the old hiring committees' prejudice in favor of highly ranked law schools had unfairly blocked many qualified applicants.

``They would have tossed someone who was first in their class at the University of Kentucky Law School, whereas we'd say, hey, he's number one in his class, let's interview him," Driscoll said.

Learning from others
The Bush administration's effort to assert greater control over the Civil Rights Division is the latest chapter in a long-running drama between the agency and conservative presidents.

Nixon tried unsuccessfully to delay implementation of school desegregation plans. Reagan reversed the division's position on the tax-exempt status of racially discriminatory private schools and set a policy of opposing school busing and racial quotas.

Still, neither Nixon nor Reagan changed the division's procedures for hiring career staff, meaning that career attorneys who were dedicated to enforcing traditional civil rights continued to fill the ranks.

Yeomans said he believes the current administration learned a lesson from Nixon's and Reagan's experiences: To make changes permanent, it is necessary to reshape the civil rights bureaucracy.

``Reagan had tried to bring about big changes in civil rights enforcement and to pursue a much more conservative approach, but it didn't stick," Yeomans said. ``That was the goal here -- to leave behind a bureaucracy that approached civil rights the same way the political appointees did."

Black Law Students / Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« on: July 25, 2006, 06:56:51 AM »

Civil rights hiring shifted in Bush era
Conservative leanings stressed
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff  |  July 23, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is quietly remaking the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, filling the permanent ranks with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights, according to job application materials obtained by the Globe.

The documents show that only 42 percent of the lawyers hired since 2003, after the administration changed the rules to give political appointees more influence in the hiring process, have civil rights experience. In the two years before the change, 77 percent of those who were hired had civil rights backgrounds.

In an acknowledgment of the department's special need to be politically neutral, hiring for career jobs in the Civil Rights Division under all recent administrations, Democratic and Republican, had been handled by civil servants -- not political appointees.

But in the fall of 2002, then-attorney general John Ashcroft changed the procedures. The Civil Rights Division disbanded the hiring committees made up of veteran career lawyers.

For decades, such committees had screened thousands of resumes, interviewed candidates, and made recommendations that were only rarely rejected.

Now, hiring is closely overseen by Bush administration political appointees to Justice, effectively turning hundreds of career jobs into politically appointed positions.

The profile of the lawyers being hired has since changed dramatically, according to the resumes of successful applicants to the voting rights, employment litigation, and appellate sections. Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Globe obtained the resumes among hundreds of pages of hiring data from 2001 to 2006.

Hires with traditional civil rights backgrounds -- either civil rights litigators or members of civil rights groups -- have plunged. Only 19 of the 45 lawyers hired since 2003 in those three sections were experienced in civil rights law, and of those, nine gained their experience either by defending employers against discrimination lawsuits or by fighting against race-conscious policies.

Meanwhile, conservative credentials have risen sharply. Since 2003 the three sections have hired 11 lawyers who said they were members of the conservative Federalist Society. Seven hires in the three sections are listed as members of the Republican National Lawyers Association, including two who volunteered for Bush-Cheney campaigns.

Several new hires worked for prominent conservatives, including former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, former attorney general Edwin Meese, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, and Judge Charles Pickering. And six listed Christian organizations that promote socially conservative views.

The changes in those three sections are echoed to varying degrees throughout the Civil Rights Division, according to current and former staffers.

At the same time, the kinds of cases the Civil Rights Division is bringing have undergone a shift. The division is bringing fewer voting rights and employment cases involving systematic discrimination against African-Americans, and more alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians.

``There has been a sea change in the types of cases brought by the division, and that is not likely to change in a new administration because they are hiring people who don't have an expressed interest in traditional civil rights enforcement," said Richard Ugelow, a 29-year career veteran who left the division in 2002.

No `litmus test' claimed
The Bush administration is not the first to seek greater control over the Civil Rights Division. Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan tried to limit the division's efforts to enforce school-desegregation busing and affirmative action. But neither Nixon nor Reagan pushed political loyalists deep in the permanent bureaucracy, longtime employees say.

The Bush administration denies that its changes to the hiring procedures have political overtones. Cynthia Magnuson , a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the division had no ``litmus test" for hiring. She insisted that the department hired only ``qualified attorneys."

Magnuson also objected to measuring civil rights experience by participation in organizations devoted to advancing traditional civil rights causes. She noted that many of the division's lawyers had been clerks for federal judges, where they ``worked on litigation involving constitutional law, which is obviously relevant to a certain degree."

Other defenders of the Bush administration say there is nothing improper about the winner of a presidential election staffing government positions with like-minded officials. And, they say, the old career staff at the division was partisan in its own way -- an entrenched bureaucracy of liberals who did not support the president's view of civil rights policy.

Robert Driscoll , a deputy assistant attorney general over the division from 2001 to 2003, said many of the longtime career civil rights attorneys wanted to bring big cases on behalf of racial groups based on statistical disparities in hiring, even without evidence of intentional discrimination. Conservatives, he said, prefer to focus on cases that protect individuals from government abuses of power.

Hiring only lawyers from civil rights groups would ``set the table for a permanent left-wing career class," Driscoll said.

But Jim Turner , who worked for the division from 1965 to 1994 and was the top-ranked professional in the division for the last 25 years of his career, said that hiring people who are interested in enforcing civil rights laws is not the same thing as trying to achieve a political result through hiring.

Most people interested in working to enforce civil rights laws happen to be liberals, Turner said, but Congress put the laws on the books so that they would be enforced. ``To say that the Civil Rights Division had a special penchant for hiring liberal lawyers is twisting things," he said.

Jon Greenbaum , who was a career attorney in the voting rights section from 1997 to 2003, said that since the hiring change, candidates with conservative ties have had an advantage.

``The clear emphasis has been to hire individuals with conservative credentials," he said. ``If anything, a civil rights background is considered a liability."

But Roger Clegg , who was a deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights during the Reagan administration, said that the change in career hiring is appropriate to bring some ``balance" to what he described as an overly liberal agency.

``I don't think there is anything sinister about any of this. . . . You are not morally required to support racial preferences just because you are working for the Civil Rights Division," Clegg said.

Many lawyers in the division, who spoke on condition of anonymity, describe a clear shift in agenda accompanying the new hires. As The Washington Post reported last year, division supervisors overruled the recommendations of longtime career voting-rights attorneys in several high-profile cases, including whether to approve a Texas redistricting plan and whether to approve a Georgia law requiring voters to show photographic identification.

In addition, many experienced civil rights lawyers have been assigned to spend much of their time defending deportation orders rather than pursuing discrimination claims. Justice officials defend that practice, saying that attorneys throughout the department are sharing the burden of a deportation case backlog.

As a result, staffers say, morale has plunged and experienced lawyers are leaving the division. Last year, the administration offered longtime civil rights attorneys a buyout. Department figures show that 63 division attorneys left in 2005 -- nearly twice the average annual number of departures since the late 1990s.

At a recent NAACP hearing on the state of the Civil Rights Division, David Becker , who was a voting-rights section attorney for seven years before accepting the buyout offer, warned that the personnel changes threatened to permanently damage the nation's most important civil rights watchdog.

``Even during other administrations that were perceived as being hostile to civil rights enforcement, career staff did not leave in numbers approaching this level," Becker said. ``In the place of these experienced litigators and investigators, this administration has, all too often, hired inexperienced ideologues, virtually none of which have any civil rights or voting rights experiences."

and it begins:  If it were a White person I'm sure the responses would just be "congratulations."

Nothing but sour grapes... Hilarious. If it had been HLS, the poster would have said the exact same thing but switched YLJ with HLR. They're so predictable it's scary. Don't let it bother you.

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