Saturday, August 28, 2004

Quck comment of diversity

I just read a small article about where a yale professor responds to what some college kid said in a letter to the New York Times about diversity. http://www.nylawyer.com/news/04/08/081204h.html
He starts out by expounding on an elitist attitude that the kid will not get in with just good grades. He talks about how basically most people that apply don't get in. Thanks Yale professor. Thanks for removing us of the myth that it was easy to get into Yale Law School. Sarcasm should be noted here. Next he says that the numbers don't lie. He than doesn't really give us any substantive numbers. he says how the largest percentage of people ends up being white males and how when he went to law school they discriminated against women and minorities. This still doesn't answer the question.
Also, I think that there is a fundemental difference in their arguments. The kid is writing complaining that he may lose his spot to a less qualified student. He is saying that he may have better scores, but the other student is a minority and gets preference because of that. He never said that diversity is a bad thing. He is angry because he is not truly being evaluated on his merits. I think this is his argument, but I haven't read the article so I am just guessing based on what generally the argument is.
The yale guy is saying that this kids success "depends on blaming some group other than themselves". Isn't this exactly what the kid is complaining about? Someone says that they are disadvantaged because they have been underrepresented as a race, that being someone elses fault, and that they deserve a competitive advantage for this. Apparently white males can't make this argument but everyone else can. Then I am sure the Yale guy would answer me by saying that no we are not trying to wrong past injustice we are trying to create diversity, which, in fact, the Supreme Court said is a valid reason for admissions policies like ours. I think that this is a dire misunderstanding of what diversity is. Diversity, in this context, is said to bring new and unique viewpoints to the learning experience that all can benefit from. That is what flows from diversity. The only problem is that you can't prima facia assume that just because someone is a minority that they have a diverse viewpoint. I know many minorities that are much more 'mainstream' than I. So why is it automatic that they are more diverse than I. Bad argument professor.
Next I would say that the Yale person kills his own argument. He says that they only take the crust of the crust and that basically nobody gets in. If they have all these thousands of applications that they get and he wishes he could accept more than he can, then I am sure he can find qualified applicants with the same minority status that he wants whom have exceptional grades and exceptional LSAT scores. The way he talks about it he shouldn't have to dip into lower scores to secure his commitment to diversity. Also if you are so commiteed to diversity than wouldn't it be prudent to take kids that score far lower than everyone else. I mean if all you have are kids that scored in the top 5 percent of everything that is not a very diverse pool.
I think people get so stuck on this ideal of social justice they want to promote, that they sometimes will think of any reason they can to promote it. They will also look at issues in a very acute way. This professor also says that this kid's undergraduate institution will be frowned upon. He said that they look more favorably upon 'better' undergraduate institutions. Wait a second, if you are truly committed to diversity then wouldn't you want kids from a host of differing undergraduate institutions and not just upper crust ivy league schools? These people throw out diversity hoping that it will justify affirmative action. This is what is happening here. They can't use past injustice to justify it and rightly so. They throw diversity out there hoping it will work. They treat diversity like it was written in the Ten Commandments. Seriously these higher education people eat up diversity. The only problem is that they don't really want true diversity. They want to put it on paper and the fact that they have 15% black students, and 47% female students and 8% asian students isn't true diversity. If you claim diversity as a goal then you have to take action that is reasonably related to accomplishing that goal. These places don't.
I am sick and tired of people saying that race doesn't matter and then turning around and saying we are putting a giant emphasis on race. That makes it matter. I think we should get rid of racial statistics. People should stop thinking in terms of race. Our goal should be that nobody really cares what percentages of what race are in your school. When people say that because we have this certain percentage of different races we have diversity they are handicapping those they are trying to help. Also they say they want it to reflect proper distributions in society. In other words if society at large, in the U.S., is 18% black then higher institutions should be about 18% black. This professor wants the kid who wrote the article to "come back to the real world". He should take his own advice. Just because our society is one percentage of a certain race has little bearing on whether or not qualified applicants from that race apply at proper percentages to purport these statistics. Also to me that limits those races. Whose to say that a school couldn't be 50% black. It is not the same as the 'real world' distribution, but if those kids deserve to be there then they should be there. Sometimes setting up to specific of expectations creates a situation that will only allow those exact expectations to result. Kind of a self fulfilling prophecy. Oh well I am glad I didn't apply to Yale Law School, because I would hate to be taught by someone who is so pretentious.

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