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Particularly pertinent

And after the mess of Grutter v. Bollinger comes the first article I've seen on the topic of how one spots a minority.

Best line of the article? Definitely:

All of which raises the delightful prospect of an earnest college-admissions officer in the next racial-preferences court case explaining to the jury how he determined that Tiger Woods is not entitled to a plus because Tiger's black ancestry is cancelled out by his Asian genes.

This isn't an academic matter for me: my mother delights in telling how our family is (and can be proven to be) descended from members of two Native American tribes, and my father's from another member of one of them. I didn't claim that ethnicity when I applied to Michigan--I don't identify with that part of my 'heritage'--but what if I had? Anyone here think it would have been a farce if, instead of being wait-listed to U of M, I'd been admitted on basis of 'race?'

My first girlfriend back in high school was a white immigrant from South Africa, and she used to facetiously mark 'African American' on applications: she had, after all, been born in Africa. She used to refer to me as 'plain American' because my ancestors came from so many places it didn't make sense to count anymore. But here it's serious: what if she applies to the University of Michigan Law School next year?

One of these days, conservatives are just going to lose patience and start playing ugly. Next year we should sue on behalf of a German-American born in Peru but immigrated at age 16 claiming he's 'hispanic,' and ask the U of M to bring back old passbook-style systems to prove racial blood heritage. I don't look forward to it--it is, after all, pretty grim--but eventually someone's just going to pop and start playing the system.


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I'm sure I'm stumbing into an absolute minefield here, but what the hell is wrong with doing stuff on skin colour, I mean that is after all what everyone is actually trying to get at? Or are we so PC now we have to wrap our principles in legalese? And yes, I have seen Soul Man, and for that matter most of School Daze (confess to falling asleep before the end)
Probably the best rebuttal to that would be found in A Light in August, by Faulkner, but there are dozens of good literary rebuttals. Basically you then have to have some kind of dividing line--how deeply-coloured must one be to pass? And the growing prevalence of mixed-race marriages are blurring the distinctions anyway: as the extract indicated, are you going to grant a preference to a child of African/Asian mixed-race parentage, or not? This is why I think that strategy is particularly grim--because rather than attacking the principle, it merely seeks to make the practice so prohibitively expensive that it may be dropped in any case. The high road is merely to pass laws banning affirmative action, but I worry that road won't be taken.
Meaning no offense, but a significant number of "conservatives" appear to have lost patience and gotten real ugly. Go to: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/07/28/bush/index_np.html watch the ad, get the day pass, and read the article. I don't mind principled conservativsm, but some of these Young Republicans are scary. Cheers, LRC
Sorry, but that article doesn't scare me. Even if Salon didn't have one of the strongest biases of any online publication, the article reveals its bias in the first paragraph. Besides, 'chanting over' a 'protest' is pretty standard behavior, no matter how much the author wants to compare it to the Nazis. I'm not up for watching the ad, so I won't read the rest, sorry. :) Besides, comparing Young Republicans to Young Nazis is old hat and pretty disgusting.
OK, I broke down and read it.
That equation -- evil = communist = Democrats -- was nearly axiomatic at the convention. Ann Coulter's latest book, "Treason," which tarred virtually all Democrats as traitors, may have been denounced by conservative intellectuals, but its message has pervaded the party.
To which I'd reply that the author has obviously never been to a political rally of the Democrats. I've lived 15 years listening to an awful lot of name-calling. You think that young Democrats don't think the opposition is illegitimate? The left at Columbia University is famous for stealing and burning the right-leaning newspaper. If Anne Coulter has you scared for her hysterics, it's nothing in comparison to Naom Chomsky. Sorry, but that's just the normal ugliness of politics, and the Democrats have their fair share of it. I'll email you next time someone calls me a Nazi... And before you say anything about the comments of Young Republicans--I'm not about to condemn a movement for what a bundle of youngsters are saying in dorm rooms fueled by alcohol and the excitement of a political rally. That's the right-wing equivalent of some of the dafter things I heard said in dorm rooms at Oxford by people on the left: "Religion should be outlawed," etc. etc. These are people a bit silly (and not a bit bitter--check out the 'hey, I'd have gotten in if I'd been born black' comments, regrettable because statistically they're probably right), but will mellow with age.
Speaking as a Mich Law student, I think AA has definitely imporved the quality of our class. The breadth of experience and background not only facilitates interesting discussion, but it serves to expand our experience of learning the law as well. That being said, I think you bring up valid points against AA, but I guess my question is why are the exceptions to the rule so bad? Sure, some people slip through the cracks, but they are far outweighed by those who are helped in a genuine fashion and who are thus able to contribute to the growing diversification of our society. And, yes, I believe diversity is a laudable goal in and of itslef. Your views are understandable, of course, but I respectfully disagree with your conclusion.
Hmm... I didn't know I had a reader from U of M. Welcome to the site. You guys have some kickass architecture in Ann Arbor. I think what worries me is that by the standards according to Grutter, one of the most appropriate strategies would be to merely make the system so difficult to implement that it's no longer worthwhile. Every exception is a case; every case is ugly, but expensive; and eventually you bring the system down through less than honourable methods. And as for 'why are the exceptions to the rule so bad?'... well, I didn't get accepted to U of M law with a 175 LSAT. Had I been a minority, I think there's little question that I would have, at least on the basis of the materials filed in Grutter. I was a very borderline candidate. Now, does it seem just to say that if I went with what is probably a perfectly legitimate racial view of my heritage (I've a reasonable amount of Native American blood), an Oxford-educated white boy would have been vaulted to the front of the line? The problem is that you're not actually dealing with averages here, you're dealing with individuals, and for any given individual, the decision is a 100% up-or-down thing. So any unjust decision, by definition, harms a single individual--it's not spread over the class equally. As for diversity... I suppose I'm confounded why my Indian friends are somehow useless for diversity purposes, and my Japanese friends aren't particularly diverse. Indeed, if Martin, listed above, decided to bring his viewpoints to Michigan, I can't believe he'd be less useful from a diversity perspective than a given African American. He may be pasty eggshell white in colour, but how many full-blooded 'wave the red flag' nearly communists are there at U of M law school? And as for contributing to the growing diversification of our society: don't believe it. I'd recommend you read that article posted by Len above. It's got some very, very bitter men and women complaining about how they have been harmed by this system. I'd like to look at them and say, 'Don't be an arse, you failed or succeeded on your merits,' but given the present state of AA at U of M, no one here can say that with any degree of certainty. Unless you were guaranteed not to place or you got in, you just can't tell. Any system that 'educates' one successful candidate in the value of diversity while embittering ten unsuccessful ones may be good for the University's class, but is lousy for society as a whole.
While you're right to say we shouldn't judge the Young Republican movement as a whole based on the comments of those interviewed, you're wrong not to condemn them for some of the views they have. Aren't they committing the same error you avoid? "I was mugged once by blacks, they must all be bad. I see blacks not working in DC, I'm going to assume they're all on welfare and shiftless welfare queens." Or what about the Hoefstra leader who dislikes MLK for threatening the white people and dividing the country? There may be rational reasons for being a conservative / republican (although I can't find them ;), but overt racism is not one of them, and is condemnable. Your apology to say they will mellow with age is not reassuring: look at Coulter, Chomskey, Pat Buchanan, Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, Louis Farrakan. Indeed, as a person ages, the more intractable on politics they tend to get. Is it just coincidence that those who switch political positions tend to do so in their earlier age?
No, Eric, I'm happy to condemn a good bit of what they said. They sound like... well, pretty dumb undergrads in a room trying to impress each other, pretty women of the opposite sex, or the reporter there talking to them, and probably need to have someone older and wiser tell them what an ass they're being. That doesn't mean I condemn them, just as I wouldn't condemn someone else on the other side of the aisle--I know what foolish things I said when younger, and hope no one kept the hard copies. :) But that doesn't scare me. Trust me, if you've ever been to a Socialist Worker rally (and yep, I have on a bet), you'd see people just as silly on the other side of the aisle. Sure, they're activists who are overstating their point, and their points are ridiculous in some cases, racist in others (and unfortunately, probably right in some cases). And at least in my experience, most people mellow with age. The folks you mention are those who have gotten themselves mixed in the whirlwind that is professional politics or professional commentary, and I would think they'd be exceptions to the rule.
See... you went and recommended my citation anyway, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. :-)And feel free to email anytime you want, even if it's because you're disappointed you're not being called a Nazi. And even as we speak, I'm collecting the hardcopies of every foolish thing you have said when you were younger; there are advantages to forsaking the law for professional geekery. :-) Cheers, LRC
Heh, well as a graduate of UC Berkeley, I'm well aware of the ridiculous things people on the extreme left can do and say. I had to walk to class where idiots would chain themselves to buildings for whatever inane little crusade they had that day. But these people weren't the head of the school's College Republican chapter. These people do not and never will wield influence like Jack Ambramoff, "a powerful right-wing lobbyist and former College Republican chairman, who exhorted the next generation to fight hard, lest "the ascension of evil, the bad guys, the Bolsheviks, the Democrats return." That's what frightens me. The difference for me is that extremists on the left are truly a lunatic fringe (you don't see mainstream party pundits saying "we should storm the buildings, kill the CEO's, and convert them to Communism"), while speakers at a mainstream Republican rally can include Ann Coulter right next to Tom Delay (not this rally in particular of course). Sigh, I'm probably going to have to give up blogging for awhile, it just takes too much out of me. Btw, I look forward to you coming to Columbia. I'm a big fan of having multiple viewpoints in class, and I think you'll see what I mean. A lot of times, the vocal people are primarily heavily liberal with one or two libertarians ranting in response, and I get bored/aggravated that they dominate the discussion. Let's hope you interject something in the middle of that. Not that I'll be in any of your classes next year to enjoy it. :)
Ah, Eric, the thing is, I've heard Jack Ambramoff speak (well, seen him on TV), and 'powerful right-wing lobbyist' is... perhaps not an overstatement, but he's one of many lobbyists. He's got a wicked sense of humour, and Republicans, particularly when you get them charged up, are prone to overstatement. Remember that many of these folks don't laugh at the excesses in "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God," they consider it world-class rhetoric. I didn't hear the speech, but I'm pretty certain that while you wouldn't enjoy it, the whole thing wouldn't be as extreme as the Salon article has made it appear. Certainly, if it were it would be more entertaining than anything I ever heard in D.C. I think you'll agree that Salon (founded by liberal activists) isn't entirely an unbiased source. Of course, find the whole speech and link it[1], and we've got a sensible debate, but until then I'm not panicking about my party going all Millenium. I think you'll find though, that even if you were in my class, unless things change you'd be woefully disappointed. I spent five years at Oxford being pretty much the lone conservative and political nutter, and it's tired me out, so keeping my head down and doing the work seems the best strategy. To be honest, I doubt I have the willpower to keep up that kind of sustained battle week after week. (I reserve the option to be proven wrong, however. :) ) Anyway, hope you don't give up blogging, since I'm short on Columbia 2L blogs to read. As I'm in a dormitory, I more than likely won't be living with any. [1] Yes, it's my blog, so if you'd like, I'll see if I can find a copy.
Some have already started playing dirty. I read on the PR board ( a suspect source, I know) that one guy had changed his race to cuban on his birth certificate, something that can't apparently be stopped by law, and applied to Columbia with a less than stellar GPA and LSAT. He was admitted. I think more of this will happen in the future. In the end, your race really is all about self classification. Some people of mixed race choose to identify differently than others. It really does create a mess.

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