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I wasn't impressed
February 12, 2014 3:30 PM   Subscribe

"33" is a video made by the students of color at UCLA Law School. There are 33 black law students at the UCLA law school out of 994 J.D. students, not including those pursuing an LL.M. degree, a one-year law degree program for international students.

On Monday, 120 students protested at the law school’s courtyard wearing shirts printed with the fraction “33/1100” – roughly ratio of black students to total students enrolled at the school.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (86 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
On the brightside, apparently black people are disproportionately not taking on crippling debt to get a useless degree. /end bitter JD rant
posted by NapAdvocacy at 3:36 PM on February 12 [27 favorites]


The representation at my law school was similar, and a lot of folks while I was there were attempting to put pressure on the administration to fix any number of the problems law school has with race: including, but not limited to, stricking underrepresentation of people of color on the faculty (often like, no joke, 4%); blatantly racist comments by professors with enough prestige not to worry about their job security; lack of class offerings that are relevant to serving communities of color (such as immigration law); and the abismal representation of the student body, which, because students of color (maaybe 15% at most law schools, including international students) and women were double-counted for purposes of "diversity", was almost 50% white male and where even being female puts one in the minority.

It is a really difficult task to change this culture at law schools, in my experience. This video is great and I will definitely pass it along to my peers. It gets at something that is really hard to quantify -- which is what one needs when one tries to work hard for internal reforms in the system. (Which is already difficult enough considering many of the same folks trying to do this kind of organizing are already really busy trying to get through law school against the odds and/or use their skills to provide legal services to communities that need it.)
posted by likeatoaster at 3:39 PM on February 12 [7 favorites]


Oh yeah, and scholarship opportunities, of course. There are so many financial traps in the way of law school, and they never really end. First it's tuition; then it's not being able to work a second job because in order to be competitive you have to work unpaid internships; then it's paying for books; then it's the fact that loan payments (and sometimes scholarship payments) don't come out until a few weeks after the start of the semester when you already had to have bought all your materials; then it's bar-prep costs; then it's bar admission costs; etc etc and on and on and on. And these costs are relevant for many even with a full scholarship! It's a crazy system not at all built for people who don't have significant resources and connections going into it.
posted by likeatoaster at 3:48 PM on February 12 [8 favorites]


For the record, likeatoaster's and these UCLA students' experiences are not restricted to individual law schools. The profession remains shockingly monochromatic. As of 2000, around 90% of practicing attorneys in the US were caucasian. It's gotten somewhat better but still remains disproportionately dominated by white men. The gender disparities have been closed more than the racial disparities, but still remain stark. The ABA has taken some measures to address the issue, as have LSAC and individual law schools, but they have been extremely unsuccessful. (See here for more detail from the ABA) The recession and a bleak employment outlook for the profession have made it difficult to bring in any new blood at all, never mind enough to shift the racial makeup of American attorneys.

Also, just a random error in the article, but LL.M. degrees are not exclusively for international students. They are commonly acquired by international students with law degrees from their home country, but they are primarily supposed to provide an opportunity for J.D. holders to specialize in some particularly arcane aspect of the law, such as tax.
posted by NapAdvocacy at 3:48 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


33/1100 is absolutely ridiculous and shocking.

I'm not so sure that the video is effective though. I doubt whether the faculty and administration care if any students feel lonely and isolated. These are lawyers.

The argument for more diversity is, as likeatoaster points out, diversity will make the range of viewpoints wider and provide better service to the community at large.

But it's just bullshit that there are so few people of color at UCLA or any other law school.
posted by maggiemaggie at 3:53 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


It's a hard thing, because this obviously needs to change, but on the other hand, I have a lot of continuing seething rage about the fact that the university clearly loved me because I was smart and Hispanic and queer, but that the people who actually had job prospects were white and mostly male. Realizing too late that you are advertising your politics when you submit transcripts to a job and they include classes on gender/orientation/racial issues, but a lot of the jobs require transcripts, and that this might be why enrollment in those classes is so low. Realizing how members of the Federalist Society were walking out with better jobs than the members of BLSA. And you get to be their Example of Diversity, but nobody else wants diversity, they want people who fit in.

It was a rotten time, and I have a feeling it was disproportionately worse for our black students, who were a similar fraction of the population. The vast majority of the "diverse" population was Asian and Hispanic, and most of the Hispanics were reasonably white-passing and upper-class. (I am the former, but not the latter.)

I will say that I didn't pay a dime in tuition, so there's that. But I got tired of it fast.
posted by Sequence at 3:53 PM on February 12 [11 favorites]


33/1100 is absolutely ridiculous and shocking.

It's not too shocking due to Prop. 209. Without being able to practice affirmative action, underrepresented minority applicants that have the qualifications to get into UCLA law school without the use of affirmative action are able to get into much better law schools that can practice affirmative action.

But it's just bullshit that there are so few people of color at UCLA or any other law school.

UCLA claims that 35% of its 2016 class are students of color which doesn't seem quite as bad as the 33/1100 ratio would have you think, even if minorities are still underrepresented based on the state's demographics.
posted by gyc at 3:59 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


I'm not so sure that the video is effective though. I doubt whether the faculty and administration care if any students feel lonely and isolated. These are lawyers.

maggiemaggie, you are spot on. We lawyers are a miserable lot and not easily persuaded by the suffering of those who are not "tough enough" to make it. In my experience, the biggest problem with lack of diversity is not the individual suffering of minority students, because frankly the overwhelming majority of lawyers are miserable anyway. Rather underrepresentation among lawyers leads to minority communities being dramatically underserviced by the legal profession and to the legal system responding poorly to the needs of minorities.
posted by NapAdvocacy at 4:01 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I wonder how that ratio compares to the total ratio for all current law students at accredited U.S. law schools.

Law schools work hard to try to have a diverse student body, but they are legally limited in what they can do in that regard. gyc's point about Prop. 209 is an excellent one, and applies to schools outside California, as well, where there is simply a limited number of black law school applicants, such that every school with a better than average ratio means some other school will have a lower than average ratio.

The actual legal profession is, in my view, a far more troubling picture in terms of racial diversity than the ratio at any particular school.
posted by The World Famous at 4:04 PM on February 12


UCLA claims that 35% of its 2016 class are students of color which doesn't seem quite as bad as the 33/1100 ratio would have you think, even if minorities are still underrepresented based on the state's demographics.

Black students are drastically underrepresented in much of the UC system, even if students of color are not so severely underrepresented (though 35% is pretty shoddy if you're aiming to be representative of California as a whole, if they're counting Hispanic students as students of color, which I assume they are).
posted by hoyland at 4:05 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


(though 35% is pretty shoddy if you're aiming to be representative of California as a whole, if they're counting Hispanic students as students of color, which I assume they are).

According to this, the 35% is EVERYONE who does not identify as Caucasian, or who didn't report.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:11 PM on February 12


if they're counting Hispanic students as students of color, which I assume they are).

Ethnicity identification standards decouple white/nonwhite from Hispanic. You can identify as white or not independently of whether you identify as Hispanic, in other words. Which only makes sense, insofar as anything to do with race does.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:13 PM on February 12


Ethnicity identification standards decouple white/nonwhite from Hispanic. You can identify as white or not independently of whether you identify as Hispanic, in other words. Which only makes sense, insofar as anything to do with race does.

Yes. The question is whether the count of "students of color" included people who picked both white and Hispanic. California is about 40% white and not Hispanic and just shy of 75% white (regardless of whether one is Hispanic).

It's not clear from roomthreeseventeen's link how they phrased the question(s), but you can add up the numbers and see that the 35% includes the 22% of people who didn't answer the question, some of whom are presumably white and not Hispanic.
posted by hoyland at 4:18 PM on February 12


Prop 209 really hit the UCs hard when it comes to black enrollment. It's especially difficult, of course, for the public system because the private institutions have no such restrictions. The best black students just get so much more actively wooed by the top private institutions that's it's not surprising that they tend to turn down offers from the UCs at very high rates.
posted by yoink at 4:23 PM on February 12


My law school was overwhelmingly white as well. The law firm I work at seems surprisingly diverse, but it's by far an exception. It's funny - you won't see a single law school or major law firm that doesn't have pages of lip service in their marketing about how important diversity is to them, and they maybe even list some "Most Diverse" rankings they've won. It's very convincing. But then if you look at the actual breakdown, you only see a handful of minorities. Every time. If seems as though women have broken through in the profession, by number if nothing else. But people of color? We're still stuck in the dark ages. And once you factor in partnership, well, forget it.

Feeling isolated, etc. in the classroom is certainly not to be ignored, but to me, law school is primarily a means to get a job. That's where the major problems lie. I've seen a number of disheartening things that have led me to believe that minorities are at a severe disadvantage in second-year summer associate hiring, and getting hired in general compared to white peers with similar transcripts and backgrounds. And then advancing once you do get hired. I really do think there's something seriously wrong going on with this profession and race. Any anecdata I can share may not be convincing in isolation, but the numbers are right there. (Law schools and firms are not above fudging up their statistics in clever ways, too.)
posted by naju at 4:28 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


why is the video not in black and white? seems it is representing it's issues in that mode anyway.
posted by Colonel Panic at 4:33 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


What is the university supposed to do? Implement *more* affirmative action? Instead of complaining to the administration these people should be actually trying to help those whom they claim to represent. If you want more blacks in law school, maybe you should make more blacks see that law school is a good place to go and teach them the skills necessary for them to attend.

Affirmative action is racism.
posted by jyc at 4:42 PM on February 12


In this world, it's who you know as much as what you know. In that light, affirmative action makes a lot more sense.
posted by Zalzidrax at 4:47 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


@jyc, sorry but no it isn't.
posted by RedShrek at 4:48 PM on February 12 [11 favorites]


If you want more blacks in law school, maybe you should make more blacks see that law school is a good place to go and teach them the skills necessary for them to attend.

Let's all make the blacks see
posted by Greg Nog at 4:49 PM on February 12 [31 favorites]


Doonesbury is actually more relevant than usual.

Joanie Caucus is attending her class's 20th reunion at Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley's law school, in the autumn of 1997. This was nearly a year after the passage of California Proposition 209, which ended affirmative action in admissions at California's public universities. The facts cited in this strip are accurate, as this contemporary news release shows.

Other relevant strips in this storyline were published 21 Oct. 1997 and 30 Oct. 1997.

The subject of affirmative action is discussed even more prominently in the storyline that starts with the strip published 1 Dec. 1997 and concludes with the strip published 6 Dec. 1997.
posted by The Confessor at 4:51 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Implement *more* affirmative action?

Prop 209: race-based preferences in admissions to public institutions of higher education are unconstitutional in California. There is no "affirmative action" in the UCLA law school admissions process.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:51 PM on February 12 [12 favorites]


What is the university supposed to do? Implement *more* affirmative action?If you want more blacks in law school, maybe you should make more blacks see that law school is a good place to go and teach them the skills necessary for them to attend.

Identifying that there is a problem is the first step in addressing the problem. So what is the University supposed to do? First, recognise that there is an issue to be addressed.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:51 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Proposition 209, enacted in 1996, forbids California institutions from considering race in higher education. Could we perhaps talk about these students and their message, and not about affirmative action which is irrelevant?
posted by ferdydurke at 4:52 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


[Your choice folks but I would really not get into a big argument about affirmative action here in this thread. It's not relevant to this case.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:53 PM on February 12


This issue is definitely not just California, but law schools/the legal profession all over the country, and is also old as heck, unfortunately.
posted by likeatoaster at 4:54 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Affirmative action is racism.
r u serious

ok look

The mistake you're making here is thinking "oh, white people don't have affirmative action," when this is obviously untrue. You don't get a ratio of 33/1000 students without affirmative action, it's just that no one acknowledges it. So the goal of AA (which, again, is illegal in CA) is to even out the AA white people are giving each other with enforced AA for other folks, so that our professions might actually have some vague resemblance to the society that they exist in.
posted by kavasa at 4:55 PM on February 12 [18 favorites]


Proposition 209, enacted in 1996, forbids California institutions from considering race in higher education. Could we perhaps talk about these students and their message, and not about affirmative action which is irrelevant?

Prop 209 is profoundly and crucially relevant to this situation and the campaign for Prop 209 was entirely a battle against affirmative action, so I can't really understand what you mean by saying that it's irrelevant. Black enrollment at most UC campuses plummeted in the wake of Prop 209. Leaving that out of the discussion is Hamlet without the prince.
posted by yoink at 4:58 PM on February 12 [8 favorites]


Should have previewed before hitting post, but yes: AA would obviously help here. Duh. Too bad they can't actually use it.
posted by kavasa at 5:00 PM on February 12


Identifying that there is a problem is the first step in addressing the problem. So what is the University supposed to do? First, recognise that there is an issue to be addressed.

But what is the problem here? Is it simply that blacks are under-represented in UC? Why? What are their application and admission statistics like? The article and video are missing that information.

I would suspect that the problem is more fundamental - like too many black students lack the background and/or interest to attend law school because our education system fails them long before law school is on the radar. And so simply adding more black students to UC, by whatever mechanism, isn't actually going to fix the problem. In fact it would just create a bunch more.

. . . and even if we fixed that problem right now, this very day, it would take years or decades to actually see that it worked.
posted by Vox Nihili at 5:01 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I disagree that affirmative action is not relevant to this case. I think lack of affirmative action is very relevant to this case.

In these kinds of discussions, I note, it is difficult in the extreme for a person of color like myself (and I'll note here that I am half Chinese, half Caucasian, by blood) who lives in the United States of America to feel any investment at all in sticking around or contributing to the discussion.

In previous remarks I've made mention that there are certain rhetorical gambits, comparisons and phrases that in my observation and experience essentially clear the room, thread or discussion of any sane person of color who doesn't have a gigantic chip on her/his shoulder and doesn't want to get in a fight where they'll lose friends. Use of these gambits, comparisons, phrases and rhetorical styles are essentially like Godwinning a thread as far as I'm concerned. I think they just clear the room of everyone who doesn't consider themselves white.

Because I'm a person who feels e owes a lot to Metafilter, Ask Metafilter and Metatalk, I'm not going to flame out. In fact, I have a great temptation to stick around, because I know a lot of you can be trusted to say and do the right thing. But I think in this instance, especially considering the kind of week I've had, it'll be the better part of valor for me to say this and skedaddle. See you all on the flip side, or perhaps another thread that has less of a chance of making people of color feel dismissed. Or at least this one.

I'm not going to say more about it in this thread, but I should think it would be obvious and perhaps more folks will argue the case here or in Metatalk.
posted by kalessin at 5:04 PM on February 12 [22 favorites]


This reminds me of an old spoof in the National Lampoon, I still remember it even though it was published way back in the 1970s. It was a parody of the New York Bar exam. It copied the format of a test answer booklet, with lines to write your essay answers. But the instructions said something like this: Hey don't react, don't move, don't make a sound. It may startle you but don't let anyone else see this: you already passed the Bar Exam. Everybody in the room has already passed the Bar Exam, except that one black guy. So you white guys have to pretend to take the exam, so he doesn't figure out it's a scam. His test booklet has real, tough essay questions that he will never complete, and he'll figure that's why he failed the test. But no matter how hard he tries, or how well he writes, he will never pass. So now all you have to do is sit there for the next four hours, writing in this test book. Make it look like you're struggling with a tough test, but all you have to do is write something like "Mary had a little lamb" over and over for the next four hours, and you're in. He will never figure it out. Of course if you blow it for us, you'll fail the Bar and we will make sure you are tied up in lawsuits for the rest of your life.

I can see that little has changed since the 70s.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:04 PM on February 12 [13 favorites]


And so simply adding more black students to UC, by whatever mechanism, isn't actually going to fix the problem. In fact it would just create a bunch more.
Like what?

And why doesn't it fix the problem? The single most significant predictor of your income as an adult is your parents' income. That's it. Middle class black parents have middle class black kids (and so on with everyone else).

It's also true that once you start changing representation in a particular area, you start weakening a lot of the gatekeeping mechanisms that keep people out. Once you start having classrooms where people are made to feel like shit just for who they are, you start having more people graduate from those classes. Sure, the way our education system is funded in this country is insane, but the fact that that's a problem doesn't mean we for some reason can't start addressing related problems at multiple levels.
posted by kavasa at 5:11 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


That's my law school -- class of 1990. We raised hell every year I was there about these issues, and now it's much worse. This is due in part to Prop 209, and in part to a "liberal" establishment that just believes things will get better, eventually, because reasons.

The lack of affirmative action is at least 50% of the issue here, and the fact that all the bright boys and girls in DC (and law schools across the nation) have refused to take this on is symptomatic of something... very tiring.
posted by allthinky at 5:17 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Someone should remake The Paper Chase movie with a black cast. I've heard it cited multiple times as influencing undergraduates to choose law. Perhaps it would affect this generation also. (I would want to watch it, at any rate.)
posted by michaelh at 5:18 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


My friend's husband, who is African-American, went to law school in the US and practiced as a lawyer. He then qualified (or something) to practice in Canada and went about getting a job in Vancouver, so that they could be close to his wife's family.

At law firm after law firm, he was told, "You don't fit in here", "We don't see a fit", "We don't think you've got the right feel" and even "You don't have the right look". At the last firm where he interviewed, the hiring manager said, "Oh. We had a black guy work here once. He quit." After that, my friend's husband decided to go back to California, where he had many job offers immediately and secured a high paying position within weeks. No one there has ever suggested he doesn't fit in.

When she said it was racist, I was at first resistant. After all, this is Canada and we're supposed to be a multicultural society. But, over the years, I have heard some very racist comments from lawyers in their mid 40s through 60s. And I have to wonder if perhaps racism was to blame.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 5:21 PM on February 12 [8 favorites]


Um, how many actually applied?

If only 33 blacks applied and they took all 33, than that is not as bad as if 1500 blacks applied and they only took 33.
posted by Renoroc at 5:22 PM on February 12


What segregation and racism do is inculcate a sense of hopelessness and "otherness" that can be hard to overcome, if not impossible. I can see how this would work against a minority student whose race has been relegated to the bottom of the social ladder for centuries. Race is a social construct. The "assignment" of race (which has been going on forever) appears to be part of the human condition. It's a problem, and it costs our world enormous human capital. What to do? Everything we can to make ourselves aware of this construct and push back against its negative effects. It's a touchy subject, because all human beings are wired for status, regardless of color. The assignment of race as a classification serves our status needs. We have to keep deconstructing that, and bringing it to the surface - in law schools, and everywhere else.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:27 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


So the "problem" is not just getting the numbers higher. One issue for me is actually making it solely about numbers. We treat this issue like a solvable problem by just focusing on numbers, but the numbers point to something else. After I watched the video the thought I had is that here you have law students at the UCLA Law School and they are expressing deep seated despair, loneliness, exclusion, disappointment and a profound sense of being misunderstood and out of place.

THESE ARE LAW STUDENTS AT A PRESTIGIOUS AMERICAN LAW SCHOOL WHO ARE THERE SOLELY ON MERIT. By all standards they have "made it." These are potential members of the legitimate 5%, close to making a career that will get them very real power in society, and this is what they feel.

What is shocking for me is the realization that in this sanctum of privilege and elitism, it is still unsafe for these students. It is an indictment of the state of racial justice and social equality in the United States at the moment that even on merit, these students will never feel the privilege their classmates take for granted. Imagine the experiences of folks who never have a hope in hell of cracking the elite. There is no way to win.

The most powerful quote for me was from the man who says that when he looks out at his classmates he feels like he's in a different country. That is a truth that is heartbreaking to hear. So the "problem" is not merely better access to law school. Not by a long shot.

(PS I'm Canadian, and yes, Chaussette et. al. speaks this truth about this country as well...)
posted by salishsea at 5:27 PM on February 12 [15 favorites]


IF only 33 African American students applied, this is because they've already got the message that only 4.0s with 99% LSATs will get in.

Folks who think it plausible that only 33 Black students applied to UCLA law are playing a tune that's been around since the 1950s, if not before, and it's more than old -- it's reprehensible.
posted by allthinky at 5:27 PM on February 12 [14 favorites]


Renoroc, it wasn't just black, it was 33 students that were anything other than white. Here's the racial breakdown for UCLA undergrad, which is apparently 27.8% white. Tell me they couldn't recruit more from that population.
posted by kavasa at 5:29 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


From July 2013: UCLA Law Dean Misses the Point on Diversity. Worth noting her statement:

UCLA dean Rachel Moran said the law school encourages “thoughtful examinations” of this and other matters of importance to society, but defended the law school’s record on faculty and student diversity.

“UCLA has the fifth highest percentage of students of color among the top 20 law schools, and we are tied for the second largest percentage of women in our entering fall class, according to 2012 ABA data,” she said. “We are also very proud of our diverse faculty, which leads the top 20 law schools in the nation.”


The fifth highest percentage of students of color in the Top 20! How does that square with 33 out of 994? This is something you see over and over again in the way diversity is trumpeted by schools and firms. The actual reality never squares up with the creative accounting. I'd really like to investigate those claims the law dean makes, I doubt they hold up to any scrutiny whatsoever.
posted by naju at 5:40 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


I'd be really interested in how these statistics look at different schools, particularly as between mega-"upper tier" law schools and really good schools. The law school I went to was not particularly racially diverse that I recall, but because it had a night program (as well as a full-time program) and was a very good school but not necessarily a school that only people who had spent their entire lives on school could get into, I at least had classes with people who did other things and had other jobs, sometimes still -- who were nurses and insurance brokers and parents, rather than just, as they say, K-through-JD, which is what I suspect you get at a lot of places.

In other words, it doesn't address this problem at all, but purely out of curiosity, I'd be interested to know how the mix of students as far as background and economics would affect the statistics on race and whether getting out of the absolutely most super-competitive schools gets you a more diverse student body, not because of who's qualified, but because of who chooses to live life (and has the luxury of living life) in the very specific, particular way that going to a tip-top-tier school requires. I've always been INCREDIBLY glad I didn't spend those years entirely or almost entirely with people who had only ever been in school.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:42 PM on February 12


Renoroc, it wasn't just black, it was 33 students that were anything other than white. Here's the racial breakdown for UCLA undergrad, which is apparently 27.8% white. Tell me they couldn't recruit more from that population.

No it's 33 black students. 33/994 is 3.3% of the law school student population, which tracks with black students being 3.8% of the UCLA undergraduate population.
posted by gyc at 5:43 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Focusing on the ratio really seems to be hurting the real message, which is that professors are allegedly openly racist in classes. The ratio could be a function of any number of factors, such as opportunities for non-white students at schools that cost less than UCLA, for example (I mean $45,000 a year in-state for a UCLA law degree? A minority student with the grades and scores to get into UCLA law would be foolish to choose UCLA law over the other options those qualifications make available.)
posted by The World Famous at 5:45 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


I am generally in favor of Affirmative Action. But I will say this very firmly: Admitting more blacks does not help if there are not jobs available for them after graduation. The university does not have direct control over that part. As long as that's true, it is not actually a good idea to go to law school as a POC unless you are a) an ethnic minority that does not experience hiring-related racism in these contexts, or b) privileged in non-racial ways that make it easy for you to fit in with the majority such that literally your only disadvantage is your ethnic background. And there are just not that many already-upper-middle-class black kids and they're already something that the best schools compete for to make their class pictures look better.

The ratio does need improvement, but right now, if you're a smart kid from a seriously disadvantaged background, law school is not where you want to be. It's not impossible to succeed, but you're rolling dice you wouldn't have to roll if you went into something else.
posted by Sequence at 5:50 PM on February 12


I was wondering about that too, The World Famous. Basically if you're qualified for UCLA, you also have higher-ranked AA schools that are eager to accept you, and then you have race-based scholarships and, in some cases, free ride on tuition for comparable schools. The anti-AA policies seem to be harmful in ways beyond just the raw acceptance numbers.
posted by naju at 5:50 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


But I will say this very firmly: Admitting more blacks does not help if there are not jobs available for them after graduation.

Hey black people in America, just don't go to law school, 'cause there's no jobs of for blacks in law. Yeah, just wait until those jobs are there, then go for it!

The ratio does need improvement, but right now, if you're a smart kid from a seriously disadvantaged background, law school is not where you want to be.

Hey, you white kids from dying small towns? Don't go to law school.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:55 PM on February 12 [11 favorites]


I'm a realist and a social justice worker and I've seen lots, but for some reason this particular conversation is leaving me feeling very, very, sad.

:(
posted by salishsea at 5:56 PM on February 12 [4 favorites]


I went to one of the top 10 "diverse" law schools in the country and there were exactly 2 black men in a class of probably about 450-500. Significantly more black women though. Maybe 20 or so? I'm guessing on that count, but still there might have been at most 30 black students in the entire class and probably not that many.

I've been told that there are astoundingly few applications from black men trying to go to law school.

And this is at one of the most liberal diverse law schools in the country.

I have no idea what the answer is or how to fix it. I remember it was a topic of discussion a few times when we were discussing affirmative action in class. Everyone agreed it was really messed up and no one had a clue what to do about it.
posted by whoaali at 5:57 PM on February 12


Re: the pool issue, I know that my school at least had a program where students of color were able to be "ambassadors" to local high schools and colleges to encourage folks of color to apply. The problem was, of course, that there were already so few students of color AND they were already being heavily leaned on for things like admitted student panels, committees and everything else that administrators wanted POC for. So, a small number of people were basically being asked to shoulder the vast majority of work in fixing the problem, while also trying to be competitive with their white peers in a notoriously racist market. Its unfair, is wack, im not sure that it works all that well, and its just another way that law school administrations pass the buck on the issue.
posted by likeatoaster at 6:02 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Focusing on the ratio really seems to be hurting the real message, which is that professors are allegedly openly racist in classes.

33 is the name of the video, but the focus of the video is on the students' experiences (and not just the black students, and some students who are black (& non black) and female also have perspectives.)

They talk about how they feel uncomfortable and alone and everyone looks at them when the discussion turns to race in any way. They talk about a lot of things.

Part of the point is definitely to encourage more admissions so that these students don't feel like they're standing apart and yea, so they don't see so much racism in classes.

But part of it is to share this experience with other people, those who identify and those who might not or might want to try. I feel like so often when minorities speak, some people want to say that they shouldn't have, or they're asking too much, or asking the wrong question, or asking the wrong way. Sometimes they're not only asking though, they're telling, and people would do well to listen.
posted by sweetkid at 6:04 PM on February 12 [10 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher, while I didn't pay tuition, I ran up about $60k in student loans paying living expenses for my attempt at law school that failed because I did not fit in and I was not going to be able to find paying work upon graduation. Nobody is better off for having run up tens of thousands of dollars of debt. I'll revise: If you're a minority and you get into T6, absolutely, go. But right now? If you can't afford to pay for it all outright, what you are going to get is a lot of debt and a significant chance that you're going to walk out of it unemployed. Sending more people into debt does not fix the problem.

Yes, I would apply similar advice to white kids from poor families, and to Mexican kids, and basically everybody who does not look and act like the stereotypical law school student. If you don't place VERY high or have money to burn, it is a terrible risk right now.
posted by Sequence at 6:06 PM on February 12


33 is the name of the video, but the focus of the video is on the students' experiences (and not just the black students, and some students who are black (& non black) and female also have perspectives.)

The way it's presented is leading just about everyone in this thread to focus on the ratio, which is problematic, since the ratio is a) not the main problem, and b) a problem about which the school can do very little.

Hey black people in America, just don't go to law school, 'cause there's no jobs of for blacks in law. Yeah, just wait until those jobs are there, then go for it!

It's not that there are no jobs for blacks in law. It's that there are no jobs for anyone in law. Now is a really terrible time to go into law, period. Other than that minor point, your sarcastic advice is actually really, really good advice. Don't go to law school right now, no matter who you are.
posted by The World Famous at 6:12 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


I went to one of the top 10 "diverse" law schools in the country and there were exactly 2 black men in a class of probably about 450-500. Significantly more black women though. Maybe 20 or so? I'm guessing on that count, but still there might have been at most 30 black students in the entire class and probably not that many.

I've been told that there are astoundingly few applications from black men trying to go to law school.


The black undergraduates at my university skew heavily female (almost laughably so, if it weren't so egregious--you'd count black men in dozens at a school with 30,000 undergrads). It's almost certainly a product of structural racism. The university certainly has room to improve its appeal and reputation among young black men, but they're also disproportionately targeted by police and disproportionately incarcerated, which makes it harder to go to college.
posted by hoyland at 6:13 PM on February 12 [6 favorites]


To me, the most moving part of this video (and part of the reason I posted it) is the part where the young woman talks about not even speaking up in class anymore. She feels silenced, tuned out by her peers because of her perspective. To me, that's more than loneliness or an inability to "buck up" and be a lawyer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:16 PM on February 12 [12 favorites]


I understand the serious issue of under-representation in law school.

But it did make me feel sad when the young women were saying things like, "I'm all alone," or "There is no one here I can relate to." Though the white students around them might not feel alienated due to race, they don't know whether those students feel just as alienated because they are also the first in their family to go to college, or they don't fit in with the middle class students. Or maybe as simple as being a foreignor - I know that when I went to grad school, I may have looked and sounded like a white American, but I'm not one, and I was constantly bumping up against cultural expectations that I just didn't understand (and stepped on many feet, and was on the outside) because I didn't understand American culture or the culture of American higher education (which is very different from Canadian).

I'm not saying racial isolation isn't real or is just the same as class isolation or cultural isolation. I just think that there are white students who could relate to them and who would see them as people and not representations of their ethnicity - but are they projecting just as much on the white students as they feel projected on by the white students? They could be also reaching out to students who share similar experiences with them, even if they do not share a race/ethnicity.

But what do I know about race, not being an American? One of the things I did learn while I was in the US was that, even as people made incorrect assumptions about my background based on my race, I never did understand their assumptions about race. Our racial issues are just split on different lines. (3% representation for black students in Canada wouldn't be so bad - only about 4% of Canadians identify as Black. We're not that much whiter than the US, but the majority of visible minority Canadians are Asian).
posted by jb at 6:28 PM on February 12


It's not that there are no jobs for blacks in law. It's that there are no jobs for anyone in law. Now is a really terrible time to go into law, period.

We can acknowledge this, and also acknowledge that there may be racism in the industry as mentioned above. The two matters are not mutually exclusive.

It's a bad time for anyone to go into law, but black graduates appear to still be more disadvantaged than white graduates in terms of getting hired and progressing in legal careers.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:32 PM on February 12 [6 favorites]


They could be also reaching out to students who share similar experiences with them, even if they do not share a race/ethnicity.

I think it's kind of weird to assume that they're not doing that, honestly. (You'll note the interview with the Muslim student.) But if you're talking about getting stopped by police for being in the "wrong" neighborhood, not many of your white classmates are going to have a frame of reference for that experience.
posted by hoyland at 6:37 PM on February 12 [7 favorites]


She feels silenced, tuned out by her peers because of her perspective.

thay seems odd to me, because the job of a law student is to regurgitate black letter law 90% of the time.
posted by jpe at 7:20 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


This is awful, but not being a CA resident I had no idea AA was no longer a thing for state schools. Who votes for such a piece of shit law?

As an American white male: jesus, dudes--has a whinier, more entitled, more selfish, more frightened bunch-of-shits than us ever walked the earth? No one is asking for special status, they just would like to share the status we enjoy without merit of accomplishment. Ugh.
posted by maxwelton at 7:26 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


thay seems odd to me, because the job of a law student is to regurgitate black letter law 90% of the time.

Huh. That was not my experience at all.
posted by The World Famous at 7:27 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


everyone looks at them when the discussion turns to race in any way.

This seems bizarre to me--granted, my law school was more diverse than UCLA seems to be (which is itself bizarre, because Los Angeles), but--seriously--no one cared about what any other student had to say about anything. Law school was not a participatory experience; it was solely a "is this going to be on the final" experience. Maybe UCLA is a very different kind of school where people care about your experience or perspectives, but in my school, the less participation, the better.

Law school is in no way a community like undergrad (to the extent your undergrad experience was an enriching community experience--as mine was). It's baby birds chirping for nutrients and pushing the others out of the nest. It was god awful.

That was not my experience at all.

Man, I totally went to the wrong school, then, because that was 100% my experience.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:30 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


This seems bizarre to me--granted, my law school was more diverse than UCLA seems to be (which is itself bizarre, because Los Angeles), but--seriously--no one cared about what any other student had to say about anything.

I have a *lot* of friends who are lawyers and this was not their experience. Most went to top 10 schools but not all. They reported pretty heated discussions about race, gender, class, and how they related to law.

Not to discount the experiences here of people who did go to law school, but how can this not be so? The law is subjective and formed by cases that set debatable precedents.
posted by sweetkid at 7:35 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


I have a *lot* of friends who are lawyers and this was not their experience. Most went to top 10 schools but not all. They reported pretty heated discussions about race, gender, class, and how they related to law.

Re heated discussions: that was certainly my experience, but I went to law school in Australian and Canada.

Regurgitating black letter law is about the most useless thing any lawyer could possibly do. In the real world, you can always look that stuff up.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:41 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


But what is the problem here? Is it simply that blacks are under-represented in UC? Why? What are their application and admission statistics like? The article and video are missing that information.
...
I would suspect that the problem is more fundamental - like too many black students lack the background and/or interest to attend law school because our education system fails them long before law school is on the radar.


I think you started out by pointing out - correctly - that the video was lacking a bit of context, making it easy to make assumptions. Then, you immediately go about making assumptions.

I, too, felt that the video lacked quite a bit of context. However, I thought about it, and I decided that this must have been a conscious choice on the part of the participants. They've obviously consciously decided to avoid arguments about affirmative action and racist behavior on the part of fellow students and faculty.

I'm sure there must have been some incidents if some of them were feeling that raw and vulnerable. I was struck by the obvious pain that they seemed to be experiencing. They were avoiding any kind of accusations of improper behavior or systemic failure, and trying to connect on a personal level. They were actually trying to reach out, to get their fellow students and faculty to understand their situation.

A lot of people here have done a better job of making the rational case for affirmative action. Personally, I am of the thought that affirmative action can have positive or negative effects depending on the situation and how it is actually applied. This is a situation so unbalanced (33 out of 1100?) that I feel like it's worth putting some priority on diversity as a goal. Not to mention the fact that the suffering of these students points to something unhealthy and in need of remedy.
posted by Edgewise at 7:47 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


I'm curious where these law schools are where the students are regurgitating black letter law to professors and each other all the time, and the Socratic Method is apparently not used. I felt like an outsider because I don't drink, for crying out loud. I can only imagine how much worse it felt for my black classmates.
posted by The World Famous at 7:47 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


How can this not be so?

It's because law school is not where you're taught to debate (in my experience); it's where you're taught one professor's take on the precedents and are given three hours at the end of the semester to parrot that perspective back to the professor to get a grade.

It's not an intellectual exercise; it's rote memorization and speed regurgitation, with your entire future prospects on the line. Get a gold star from professor xyz in fed courts? Become a clerk. Disagree with her take on choice of law? No clerkship for you!

Personally, as capricious as this was, I think it's consistent with my experience as a lawyer. No one cares what a lawyer thinks; it's always reducible to the argument your client wants you to make.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:55 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


my, jesus, my.

The things they say.

But 33 is a paltry 3 percent of 1100.

terrible numbers.

especially, in light of the fact / given that people of color have been the world majority for a very long time now. I don't get this "minority" word, myself.

may I just say that this made the thread for me:
Affirmative action is racism.

r u serious

ok look
if MeFi had a tuner, this would register as pitch-perfect.
posted by simulacra at 8:23 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


I teach at a public law school in California, but not at UCLA. Law school can be a brutal and agonizing experience for anyone, but particularly for students from underrepresented groups, and I believe it is worse in Law than in almost any other department in the University.

Law in the United States is about race. It's impossible to teach Constitutional Law effectively without discussing how slavery formed the terms of the Constitution and how the history of racial exclusion affected the interpretation of the Constitution, and so on. And it's not just Constitutional Law. Criminal Law raises issues of race. Property Law raises issues of race. It's hard to find a legal topic whose development was not affected by the nation's racial history.

Feelings on these issues are not evenly distributed. I can talk "dispassionately" about (for example) racial profiling in police stops, because I've never been the victim of racial profiling. My white students can do the same, and it doesn't affect their in-class interactions. What about my African-American students who may have experienced scores of suspicionless stops? What does it feel like to them to have their actual experience rendered as just another opinion in a discussion about the 4th Amendment, where their lived experience is taken as one side of a largely sterile argument? What does it feel like to represent your race every time you talk in class about racially-charged subjects? And in law, how many subjects aren't racially charged? What does it feel like if you don't speak up? Again, I've only had to wrestle with these questions as a teacher, not from my own, lived experience..

I've had students who have lived on the streets, students who have been the victims of domestic violence, students who have been supported by food stamps until the day that they left for college, students who have fled oppressive governments, students who have lived in foster care for the majority of their childhood, and so on. All of these "problems" are also legal problems. They are discussed, as they should and must be, in law schools. But they are not easy topics, and they are disproportionately hard for the students who have direct experience of them. Again, disproportionately, my minority and women students have experienced these and similar issues. Law school will be an appreciably more difficult experience for many of them, and at the very least faculty should be aware of that and do whatever is in their power to help. Videos like this help.
posted by ferdydurke at 8:27 PM on February 12 [34 favorites]


I wonder if someone has done the "People of Color to 'Dave' ratio" for law schools?
It's a metric occasionally used in discussing gender parity in comp sci.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:36 PM on February 12


In previous remarks I've made mention that there are certain rhetorical gambits, comparisons and phrases that in my observation and experience essentially clear the room, thread or discussion of any sane person of color who doesn't have a gigantic chip on her/his shoulder and doesn't want to get in a fight where they'll lose friends. Use of these gambits, comparisons, phrases and rhetorical styles are essentially like Godwinning a thread as far as I'm concerned. I think they just clear the room of everyone who doesn't consider themselves white.

Echoing this comment, but I don't have as much restraint as kalessin, so I'm just going to drop in my thought on affirmative action as another PoC and then head out before I have to deal with all of the predictable responses.

Sometimes, things in our society are going to be racist if you do, racist if you don't. In fact, a lot of things in a white supremacist culture are going to be racist either way. I can see how that might irk some brands of white "allies" who are looking for any way to squirm out of accountability for racism, but it's not about you; it's just the reality of life for PoC who can't win either way you slice it.

But that doesn't mean we throw up our hands and give up. Which is why if you're in favor of abolishing affirmative action, I want to ask you: what are you going to give us in exchange? Are you going to sever the ties between racism and class warfare, such that black people can actually get access to a decent level of education so they actually have the grades to enter university? Are you going to stop codifying white knowledge and white history and white values as "education" and devaluing diversity, so that people do not have to choose respecting their own culture and assimilating into a white one? Are you going to stop mandating a degree as a pre-requisite for access to even a comfortable lower-middle class living standard, such that we aren't all compelled to get one should we wish to break the ties between race and poverty that have weighed upon us from day one?

Sometimes I wish I and my peers could do without affirmative action either. But you know, between racism that at least acknowledges that there are issues going on, and racism that blinds itself to racism and pretends that the world is just when it is not just, I will always choose the first.

So if affirmative action makes you feel uncomfortable, that's good. That's because we're still not winning with affirmative action - we're still not being treated equally, because there is no way for us to be treated equally in a white supremacist culture. If that makes you feel uncomfortable and you want to abolish affirmative action because it makes you feel uncomfortable about how racist it is, I would advise you to push in the other direction. Don't push the issues under the rug where you can trample us without feeling uncomfortable all over again. Put it into plain sight, so you know exactly what you're up to and exactly what you're doing whenever you step upon us.

Someday, I hope we can achieve true equality. But for now? I'll take equity over equality.
posted by Conspire at 8:37 PM on February 12 [19 favorites]


I have a *lot* of friends who are lawyers and this was not their experience. Most went to top 10 schools but not all. They reported pretty heated discussions about race, gender, class, and how they related to law.

This was also my experience albeit not at a top 10. To the point where things got uncomfortable because people would get emotional and angry at each other and then take it to email after class. More than once someone left class crying or two people were so angry they stoppe talking for 6 months. Our class list serv had to be moderated in a fashion not unlike metafilter. There's plenty to debate about when it comes to the evolution of the law and history of the law. Hell even torts can get you riled up sometimes.
posted by whoaali at 8:49 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Amen to ferdydurke's comment. I took one class that explored everything about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 from top to bottom for the better part of a semester. How do you discuss that without getting into race? How do you talk about the Fourth Amendment and police misbehavior without race coming up, or the reality of incarceration rates, the biases of judges and juries? The handful of minority students in my classes hardly ever spoke up, sadly. The loudest voices were the white male students, without question, and there was often an air of entitlement about the way they expressed their views. The day we covered rape was especially ugly. The professor had to send a mass email expressing concern about how the discussion went. The diversity of law classes and faculty really does affect the quality of your educational experience. People weren't just regurgitating black letter law, there were discussions that often got heated. It's really easy to create an atmosphere where diverse voices feel silenced. Probably easier than you'd think at law schools, where honestly the blithely privileged and arrogant really aren't that uncommon.
posted by naju at 8:59 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Oh god, the listserv debates. We might have went to the same school, whoaali.
posted by naju at 9:01 PM on February 12


All other issues aside, I wonder if, statistically speaking, there are even 33 actual-lawyer-jobs awaiting all 994 of those students when they graduate with law degrees? My guess is probably either "no" or "actually, it's pretty damn close to that believe it or not."
posted by trackofalljades at 10:34 PM on February 12


What percentage of UCLA law students is Asian? (I apologize if that number's readily located but I wasn't able to find it with a quick Google search.) I ask this because my guess is that the number's quite high, if the percentage of UCLA undergrads who are Asian is any indication. Which would make this issue more complex than just "let's blame white males for rigging the system!".

I've seen the argument that to bring affirmative action back into the UC system would actually *help* white students while driving down admission rates of high-achieving Asian students, who would then have to get significantly higher grades and scores than every other ethnic group to be admitted. As an Asian American myself, I don't feel great about that. There's no way Asians have the same history of racial injustice in the US as blacks, but we definitely experience prejudice still, in the workplace, in the media, and in daily life; it wasn't that long ago that we were still separated in internment camps. I think there's a real possibility that bringing back affirmative action would in turn stack the system against another minority group, and that should be taken into consideration.
posted by hummingbird at 11:04 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


People interested in this discussion should check out "David and Goliath" by Malcolm Gladwell (I know, I know, but please don't stop reading yet), which has en entire chapter on law school and minorities. He investigates these themes of scholarships, as well as the performance of minority students at 1st-tier and 2nd-tier schools vis a vis grades and post-law-school success.

Most importantly, perhaps, he amends his previous conclusions about affirmative action at law schools. I loved reading his re-analysis of the situation based on new data and new interviews. His revisiting of the topic leads to a much more nuanced conclusion than established in the earlier book (which I think came from the original Freakonomics).
posted by whatzit at 6:06 AM on February 13


What percentage of UCLA law students is Asian? I ask this because my guess is that the number's quite high, if the percentage of UCLA undergrads who are Asian is any indication.

According to the PDF that got linked to above, 18%, compared to 14% of the state being Asian, so Asian students are overrepresented, but not to an extent that I'd think to remark on it. (That's the PDF with 22% of students not answering the ethnicity question.) Which is interesting because Asian students are quite overrepresented in the undergraduate population (at least at Berkeley and UCLA; I didn't check all UCs). I can imagine a few things causing this: 1) Asian students are not applying to law school. 2) Asian students not getting in. 3) The UC undergraduate population not reflecting the law school applicant pool. I suspect it's some combination of 1 and 3. I'd be curious if Asian high school students in California are more likely to go to a UC than a white student with a similar academic profile. That might explain part of what's driving the undergraduate demographics, but also the difference in the law school demographics if a ton of white Californians who went to private colleges then apply to UCLA for law school. (The law school is only 70% in-state, compared to UCLA undergrads being 80% in-state, which is presumably also a factor, but not a huge one.)
posted by hoyland at 6:53 AM on February 13


Luke-warm off the wire is news that the California legislature wants to ask the citizens if they want to repeal Prop 209.

People interested in this discussion should check out "David and Goliath" by Malcolm Gladwell


If you're more point'n'click than library hound, go here, here.

Of course, if, as he says, professional outcomes are equal regardless of law school admissions input, then the logical next step is to adopt racial quotas across the board.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:18 AM on February 13


Hey, you white kids from dying small towns? Don't go to law school.

Based on everyone I know who's gone to law school recently, that seems like solid advice. It seems like a terrible idea unless you're independently wealthy and/or have a guaranteed job at the far end of it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:31 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Under Repped Minorities -- blacks included -- get a massive boost in law school admissions. I mean, it's above and beyond any other academic area in the US. Law school is more favorable to URM applicants than any other field.

But, still, blacks are underrepresented in top law schools.

Fixing this by simply admitting more, regardless of qualifications, really is not a meaningful fix. URM students already consistently get lower grades than their peers due to being admitted into institutions that are 'above their weight class' so to speak.

The issue here is nothing short of the immensely complex and difficult issue of relative racial performance and relations. You're not FIXING anything by just mandating a school admits more black students. Then the school might have 10% black students; and the black students would carry (even more than already) a reputation of being substantially less intelligent than their peers who were accepted with a higher avg LSAT/GPA. (which has a strong correlation with IQ, despite also having a large variance). But in aggregate these students would be less intelligent and capable.

Have you solved anything? No.

It's mostly not UCLA's problem. It's everyones problem. Blaming it on them is to totally fuck up the causality of it all.
posted by jjmoney at 8:56 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


kavasa: "Affirmative action is racism."

Affirmative action is (often) race-based. And always fraught with problems. But that doesn't mean it's not preferable to the alternative; in a very real way it's grade-school busing for adults.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:11 AM on February 13



Vox Nihili: "And so simply adding more black students to UC, by whatever mechanism, isn't actually going to fix the problem. In fact it would just create a bunch more."
kavasa: "And why doesn't it fix the problem?"

Bluntly: because the problem can't be solved at that end. It can only be bandaged and duct-taped.

You can give a victim of inner-city, mostly-minority, poorly funded schooling a college education or even a job, and that's great for his/her personal wellbeing, and certainly increases diversity and cross-cultural awareness... but it doesn't erase nor rebuild the damages of the educational malnourishment the child grew up with.

Equality will absolutely, undeniably require equal kindergarten, elementary, and high school education. And that isn't possible while schools in the US are funded by school districts smaller than cities. It probably isn't possible without funding at the state level, to avoid house-buying parents moving to more affluent nearby cities.

Vox Nihili: ". . . and even if we fixed that problem right now, this very day, it would take years or decades to actually see that it worked."

Yes, that is true. In fact, as with so many paradigm-shifts, it requires the current generation to die off, or at least age out of active control - true for evolution theory acceptance, true for colorblind hiring policies..
posted by IAmBroom at 10:11 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


It's not a matter of money. Where I lived in the US, the local (poor and majority-minority) schools had more money per pupil than the suburban (and majority white) schools next door did.

Housing & eductional segregation is the problem. If you only go to school with kids whose parents did not go to university and who work in low-paid jobs, you have a lot harder time first conceiving of getting an education and then actually working towards it. No one in my family had gone to university and I spent most of my teen years assuming I wouldn't. But I went to a school where I had middle class friends and so at least I had some idea of what the possibilities were, and I was surrounded by very literate adults.

But I've met a bright kid (and good at math) from a highly economically segregated neighbourhood who declared that he was going to be a mechanic when he grew up; when I asked about engineering, it turned out that he had never even heard of engineering. How could he be inspired to work towards something he'd never even heard of? (The same kid had never been at the public library which was a 20 minute walk from his house. That was a choice his parents made - one I don't understand. My teenage-single-mom-on-welfare took us to the library weekly. But then again, maybe it was cultural -- she knew middle class people).

If you really want to improve the educational attainment of poor, including underrepresented minorities, you have mix people together so that kids learn about other ways of life.

Put that way, it sounds like I'm advocating some kind of cultural genocide - which creeps me out. But it's really about increasing equality of opportunity, which can only be achieved by increasing equality of lifestyle now.
posted by jb at 12:46 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Racism At UCLA Is Slightly Out Of Control​
posted by homunculus at 6:29 PM on February 26


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