Ethical URM question

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
FreeLPeltier
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:09 pm

Ethical URM question

Postby FreeLPeltier » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:51 pm

Very longtime lurker here

I have some questions about URM status that are slightly different from the usual “am I URM” type questions.
Here is some background info
1.I am part AA and part NA. I do identify with both to a degree, but I am white in appearance so my personal experience with prejudice has been limited to the immediate rural area in which I was raised. Very few of the people I run into in my daily life are able to spot my heritage. Of those that are, the reactions are rarely ever negative.

2.I do not have a tribal card, but I can document my history if asked.

3.I also belong to (not too specific here) a couple of “social” demographic groups that are not overly represented in law schools, or the field of law in general.

4.I have always struggled with the issue of claiming Caucasian vs. NA/ AA.

5.I have generally chosen to go with Caucasian because I have escaped most of the problems (because of my appearance) that I have seen my family members (father, cousins, etc.) experience due to their appearance.

My Questions:

1.Is it ethical/unethical for me to choose only Caucasian since that is not the truth?
2.Is it ethical/unethical for me to identify myself as AA/NA since I don’t look the part and therefore am not subject to the same level of discrimination (outside of my home community) experienced by obvious members of those communities?
3.There is something(s) unusual about my socioeconomic background that is “under represented.” Does this count at all in the URM equation?

Thank you for any and all responses.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18418
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby bk1 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:54 pm

You are white, correct? You don't clearly say that you are just that you look it.

What do you mean "go by Caucasian?" Do you mean on ethnicity questions you have marked just Caucasian and not AA or NO.

My advice: Mark what you feel like you are. Let the schools decide what happens. If they give you a boost, that's their choice not yours. You're just filling out what ethnicity/race you are. This has nothing to do with who has faced more discrimination because it is not your call, it is the schools'.

FreeLPeltier
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:09 pm

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby FreeLPeltier » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:05 pm

bk1 wrote:You are white, correct? You don't clearly say that you are just that you look it.

What do you mean "go by Caucasian?" Do you mean on ethnicity questions you have marked just Caucasian and not AA or NO.

My advice: Mark what you feel like you are. Let the schools decide what happens. If they give you a boost, that's their choice not yours. You're just filling out what ethnicity/race you are. This has nothing to do with who has faced more discrimination because it is not your call, it is the schools'.


Yes, I meant that I usually mark Caucasian for ethnicity. I don't clearly say that I am white because I am the first generation in my family that "looks" white, so it is not a clear distinction in my head.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18418
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby bk1 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:07 pm

On forms where you could check multiple boxes (i.e. 2010 census), did you check all of AA, NA, White? Just curious.

FreeLPeltier
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:09 pm

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby FreeLPeltier » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:14 pm

Honestly, I have always been uncomfortable with ethnicity questions. I usually decline to answer if that is an option. on the most recent census, believe I marked all three. I have, however, just marked Caucasion on several occasions in order to avoid the appearance of gaming the system.

btw thanks for your serious reply

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18418
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby bk1 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:18 pm

FreeLPeltier wrote:Honestly, I have always been uncomfortable with ethnicity questions. I usually decline to answer if that is an option. on the most recent census, believe I marked all three. I have, however, just marked Caucasion on several occasions in order to avoid the appearance of gaming the system.

btw thanks for your serious reply


Marking what you feel comfortable with is the only thing you should do, but don't think that you are gaming the system. As I said earlier, this is completely at the schools' discretion, all you are doing is being honest.

So put down what you want to put down, whether that is one of your ethnicities, all of them or decline to respond.
Last edited by bk1 on Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
psychlaw
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:51 pm

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby psychlaw » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:18 pm

IMO put down what you most identify with. Dont worry about pleasing the admittance board or feeling guilty on this one. however, if you are just looking for a boost then, again IMO, you are doing a major disservice to those that truly need affirmative action. A friend of mine said, " A person that marks URM just for the boost is like the women who have babies just to get on welfare." A little crude, but I think it rings true.

Again this is all just my opinion.

FreeLPeltier
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:09 pm

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby FreeLPeltier » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:39 pm

bk1 wrote:
FreeLPeltier wrote:Honestly, I have always been uncomfortable with ethnicity questions. I usually decline to answer if that is an option. on the most recent census, believe I marked all three. I have, however, just marked Caucasion on several occasions in order to avoid the appearance of gaming the system.

btw thanks for your serious reply


Marking what you feel comfortable with is the only thing you should do, but don't think that you are gaming the system. As I said earlier, this is completely at the schools' discretion, all you are doing is being honest.

So put down what you want to put down, whether that is one of your ethnicities, all of them or decline to respond.


Thank you for your input. It is adding perspective

psychlaw - I agree with your point about boost = babies

User avatar
fugitivejammer
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:34 am

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby fugitivejammer » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:37 pm

I'm a bit unclear, but it seems that you are saying that you are mixed ethnicity of Caucasian, AA, and NA. If you chose to mark all those on ur app, I honestly don't think that brings up any kind of ethicial dilemma. I too am mixed, and have always felt a bit uncomfortable about marking those boxes, and sometimes kind of confused. At the end of the day though, law schools don't give URM boosts b/c of the hardships you must have faced from your ethnicity - that's where the Diversity Statement comes in where you can elaborate your own story. The boost probably just starts with the school trying to increase diversity in general so that they can say they have a certain % of a certain ethnic group. The boost is then enhanced if you have faced some type of adversity relating to it or not, but that again is what they decide upon by reading your essays.

So, if you are part AA and NA, I wouldn't feel too bad marking it in the application because its true. Marking it in doesn't denote increased adversity because of it, but it does tell them about diversity in a more general sense which isn't a bad thing i guess. The whole concept of schools giving boosts to certain minority groups and how that is determined might b some kind of ethical dilemma in itself, but i feel like you should feel confident marking in whatever ethnicity you are, or like bk1 says, what you feel comfortable reporting. You aren't gaming the system by being honest.

User avatar
SehMeSerrious
Posts: 1833
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:34 am

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby SehMeSerrious » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:02 am

*****
Last edited by SehMeSerrious on Thu May 19, 2011 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FreeLPeltier
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:09 pm

Re: Ethical URM question

Postby FreeLPeltier » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:19 am

I probably should have been clearer in my original post. My main concern was whether it is dishonest, or if it looks dishonest. I know that whatever I decide to do will be my best attempt at honesty, but it sometimes feels dishonest no matter which option(s) I choose.

I appreciate the feedback I have gotten so far. Seeing how other people view it has really helped. I had gone back and forth in my own head so many times that I lost perspective (if I ever had any). It was good to hear real world input.




Return to “Under Represented Law Student Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest