How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

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Wade LeBosh
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby Wade LeBosh » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:12 pm

Does anyone feel that having a more diverse classroom is a benefit to class discussion? It seems to me that the educational benefit that students get from not having a homogenous law school class is huge.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:17 pm

Wade LeBosh wrote:Does anyone feel that having a more diverse classroom is a benefit to class discussion? It seems to me that the educational benefit that students get from not having a homogenous law school class is huge.

In the landmark case of Grutter v. Bollinger, where the US Supreme Court upheld "soft" boosts (essentially creating the URM status system we have today), it actually wasn't diversity in the classroom that made the biggest difference. There were dozens of amicus briefs filed in support of affirmative action admissions, by private employers and the military, all saying that they wanted some kind of affirmative action system in place because it increased the number of qualified minorities applying for jobs with them. Diversity by employers is a big deal, they like having diverse workforces, and they spoke out pretty strongly in that case. Justice O'Connor referred to them specifically in her brief as a reason for upholding the system.

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NZA
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby NZA » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:18 pm

Wade LeBosh wrote:Does anyone feel that having a more diverse classroom is a benefit to class discussion? It seems to me that the educational benefit that students get from not having a homogenous law school class is huge.


I was thinking about this exact same thing earlier. :)

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invisiblesun
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby invisiblesun » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:59 pm

AA can be construed to have several purposes:
-The restoration of harm created by many generations of institutionalized and entrenched racial discrimination
-Allowing URMs opportunities they lack because of the disadvantages they face
-Creating a more diverse environment in law schools and in the legal profession both to enrich its non-URMs and to elevate URMs into positions of power/wealth where they have been historically absent

While I certainly agree that policies and structural changes are necessary to remedy the problem of race-based inequalities and injustices, AA is pretty misguided at accomplishing any of its intended goals and doesn't do much for URMs on the whole.

GAIA keeps referring to AA's efficacy on a macro-level, but AA is especially weak when viewed through this type of lens. The percentage of minorities who are in a position to benefit from affirmative action is unfortunately low, and in a macroeconomic sense AA does little to solve the vast majority of problems that minorities face. It may help someone who overcame serious disadvantages, it could also help minorities who have not faced any of the problems that justify AA's existence. Admitting the latter type of student does help diversify the school, but the presumption behind AA is that it serves to help those who were disadvantaged due to their race. The failure to distinguish between minorities who need help and those who don't is part of the reason why AA can lead to resentment among applicants.

While AA can help individuals who had to overcome the hurdles created by low family income, crime, gang presence, and atrociously terrible schools, it does so at the cost of admitting an applicant who, in most cases, will not be adequately equipped to succeed within his/her school. What does AA do for diversity if many minorities at their schools will be noticeably under-qualified relative to the average student? As someone stated earlier in this thread, our perceptions about race/gender/ethnicity are subconsciously shaped by our environment; in other words, an academic environment in which minorities are rare is undesirable because it causes people to associate success and non-minority status. Unfortunately, AA doesn't solve this problem- it instead creates an environment in which the average minority student is less qualified than the average non-minority student, which can help students associate minority status and students who often struggle.

In a broad sense, AA does very little to break the cyclical, structural barriers faced by many ethnic minorities today. Even if the system functions exactly as intended (impoverished minority overcomes barriers and achieves a successful career), AA has low overall impact. In most cases AA doesn't make the difference between a successful college graduate and a struggling jobless adult; it makes the difference between getting a Bachelor's from Berkeley and a Bachelor's from UCLA. It affects only a tiny percentage of those in minority communities, does nothing to solve the systematic causes of racial inequality, and doesn't solve the problem of minorities being at a consistent academic disadvantage because their primary education is so often woefully inadequate. More importantly, simply giving minorities the opportunity to attend a more prestigious school will have almost no impact on major root causes such as unemployment, crappy schools, and racially skewed arrest/incarceration rates. AA certainly shouldn't be viewed as adequate compensation for these problems, and it inevitably draws attention away from solving the root causes of racial inequalities.

I know some people will react negatively to this and ask what I would prescribe instead. As some posters have already suggested, a public education system that is equitable and worthy of a country with our GDP would be a great start. The public school system should provide equal opportunity for all, but flawed policy and apathy have let public schools become yet another disadvantage for the poor. Prioritizing the revitalization of decrepit neighborhoods over wasteful wars would be another great step. Money that's pork-barreled, spent on yet another superflous defense contract, or sent to "developing countries" with a budget surplus could instead be used to give people jobs and put a dent in the problem of persistent unemployment. None of these solutions are easy or simple, but America's problem of gross racial inequalities isn't going to be solved by admissions offices or HR departments. It's like putting a band-aid on a festering wound.

tl;dr: AA is ineffective, creates serious problems of its own, and should be substituted by serious changes in American policy toward racial inequality

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LAWLAW09
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby LAWLAW09 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:19 am

invisiblesun, now that you've shared your thoughts on what should be done, can you share some thoughts on what you will do?

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invisiblesun
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby invisiblesun » Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:28 am

LAWLAW09 wrote:invisiblesun, now that you've shared your thoughts on what should be done, can you share some thoughts on what you will do?


Given that it's pretty difficult for such broad-scale changes to come from one person alone, for now all I can do is support the politicians who have the best ideas to solve these problems. I'm not sure why this question is important in a thread that's discussing the merits/drawbacks of AA and how to solve the problems associated with racial inequality. It takes qualification, luck, and often times, money to become powerful enough to influence policy on such a broad scale. I can only hope that my career is successful enough that I might eventually have the opportunity to work in politics or government policy and help change the system.

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LAWLAW09
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby LAWLAW09 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:40 am

invisiblesun wrote:
LAWLAW09 wrote:invisiblesun, now that you've shared your thoughts on what should be done, can you share some thoughts on what you will do?


Given that it's pretty difficult for such broad-scale changes to come from one person alone, for now all I can do is support the politicians who have the best ideas to solve these problems. I'm not sure why this question is important in a thread that's discussing the merits/drawbacks of AA and how to solve the problems associated with racial inequality. It takes qualification, luck, and often times, money to become powerful enough to influence policy on such a broad scale. I can only hope that my career is successful enough that I might eventually have the opportunity to work in politics or government policy and help change the system.



I wasn't attempting to debate you or what you plan to do. I was just curious to see what insights I could get from your response, and I got a few. Thanks for answering.

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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby im_blue » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:22 am

vanwinkle wrote:
Wade LeBosh wrote:Does anyone feel that having a more diverse classroom is a benefit to class discussion? It seems to me that the educational benefit that students get from not having a homogenous law school class is huge.

In the landmark case of Grutter v. Bollinger, where the US Supreme Court upheld "soft" boosts (essentially creating the URM status system we have today), it actually wasn't diversity in the classroom that made the biggest difference. There were dozens of amicus briefs filed in support of affirmative action admissions, by private employers and the military, all saying that they wanted some kind of affirmative action system in place because it increased the number of qualified minorities applying for jobs with them. Diversity by employers is a big deal, they like having diverse workforces, and they spoke out pretty strongly in that case. Justice O'Connor referred to them specifically in her brief as a reason for upholding the system.

It seems that these employers/military are claiming that these URMs are more "qualified" simply because they attended a better school than they otherwise would have. Couldn't this be fixed simply by abolishing AA and then having employers dig deeper into lower schools? Especially if one believes the conclusion of that study that claims that AA has actually decreased the number of black law graduates who pass the bar exam.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:27 am

im_blue wrote:It seems that these employers/military are claiming that these URMs are more "qualified" simply because they attended a better school than they otherwise would have. Couldn't this be fixed simply by abolishing AA and then having employers dig deeper into lower schools?

Here's the catch: School attended is part of qualifications. If you abolish AA at schools, then minorities won't show up at the top schools, and won't be the most qualified for a number of jobs. If the employers then go deeper into lower schools just to hire minorities, then they're committing affirmative action themselves, and in a "harder" sense than the "soft" admissions policies of universities.

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im_blue
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby im_blue » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:28 am

vanwinkle wrote:
im_blue wrote:It seems that these employers/military are claiming that these URMs are more "qualified" simply because they attended a better school than they otherwise would have. Couldn't this be fixed simply by abolishing AA and then having employers dig deeper into lower schools?

Here's the catch: School attended is part of qualifications. If you abolish AA at schools, then minorities won't show up at the top schools, and won't be the most qualified for a number of jobs. If the employers then go deeper into lower schools just to hire minorities, then they're committing affirmative action themselves, and in a "harder" sense than the "soft" admissions policies of universities.

Right, so why should universities practice AA just for the benefit of employers? If those employers want a diverse work force, they could just as easily practice AA (to a greater extent than they do now) and hire those same URMs, just from lower schools.

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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby 20121109 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:34 am

invisiblesun wrote:GAIA keeps referring to AA's efficacy on a macro-level, but AA is especially weak when viewed through this type of lens. The percentage of minorities who are in a position to benefit from affirmative action is unfortunately low, and in a macroeconomic sense AA does little to solve the vast majority of problems that minorities face. It may help someone who overcame serious disadvantages, it could also help minorities who have not faced any of the problems that justify AA's existence. Admitting the latter type of student does help diversify the school, but the presumption behind AA is that it serves to help those who were disadvantaged due to their race. The failure to distinguish between minorities who need help and those who don't is part of the reason why AA can lead to resentment among applicants.


Most of your post is very credited. :)

However, just as a response to this, I don't know why you assume that minorities that are presumably in better socioeconomic circumstances than that of most minorities have not faced any of the problems that justifies AA's existence. Just because a minority is wealthy, or even had a similar upbringing to those of their white counterparts does not mean that they still do not face discrimination in a more institutionalized, less overt way. As minorities progress up the socioeconomic strata of society, there isn't "less racism" it just comes in different forms and it's likely to be less of a detriment because, unlike most minorities, they have the resources to combat such discrimination and mitigate its effects. Nevertheless, the discrimination is very much present and a controlling factor in these people's lives. The fact is, that one is African American, or Hispanic, or Puerto Rican, or Native American is a disadvantage in itself. I think people's failure to realize this issue is why AA can lead to the resentment among applicants that you speak of.

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vanwinkle
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:47 am

im_blue wrote:Right, so why should universities practice AA just for the benefit of employers? If those employers want a diverse work force, they could just as easily practice AA (to a greater extent than they do now) and hire those same URMs, just from lower schools.

1) Employers practicing such hard AA may possibly face liability for intentional race discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It does not have a specific AA defense and is race-neutral, and course have been increasingly interpreting it in recent years to cover whites as well as blacks, creating the risk that an employer performing hard AA in the blatant manner you're suggesting (hiring a minority applicant from an obviously worse school when a white at a better school has applied) makes them liable for damages to the white applicant. This speaks to holes in the current scheme; if the idea is to shift AA to employers, then we need to create an AA exception there.

2) It doesn't solve the problem of minorities disproportionately not having access to the top schools in the country. A minority student who attends Harvard and then applies for jobs will look attractive to all employers, not just those who practice AA. Thus college-level AA helps ensure workforce diversity not just at firms that practice it but at all firms. I realize this is not a perfect model, but in the employment context it's an additional consideration.

3) I didn't say it was the only reason, I said it made a bigger difference. There aer also the additional benefits of increasing diversity within the student body and giving minorities access to schools they were previously excluded from.

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Wade LeBosh
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby Wade LeBosh » Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:28 am

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
invisiblesun wrote:GAIA keeps referring to AA's efficacy on a macro-level, but AA is especially weak when viewed through this type of lens. The percentage of minorities who are in a position to benefit from affirmative action is unfortunately low, and in a macroeconomic sense AA does little to solve the vast majority of problems that minorities face. It may help someone who overcame serious disadvantages, it could also help minorities who have not faced any of the problems that justify AA's existence. Admitting the latter type of student does help diversify the school, but the presumption behind AA is that it serves to help those who were disadvantaged due to their race. The failure to distinguish between minorities who need help and those who don't is part of the reason why AA can lead to resentment among applicants.


Most of your post is very credited. :)

However, just as a response to this, I don't know why you assume that minorities that are presumably in better socioeconomic circumstances than that of most minorities have not faced any of the problems that justifies AA's existence. Just because a minority is wealthy, or even had a similar upbringing to those of their white counterparts does not mean that they still do not face discrimination in a more institutionalized, less overt way. As minorities progress up the socioeconomic strata of society, there isn't "less racism" it just comes in different forms and it's likely to be less of a detriment because, unlike most minorities, they have the resources to combat such discrimination and mitigate its effects. Nevertheless, the discrimination is very much present and a controlling factor in these people's lives. The fact is, that one is African American, or Hispanic, or Puerto Rican, or Native American is a disadvantage in itself. I think people's failure to realize this issue is why AA can lead to the resentment among applicants that you speak of.


+1

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invisiblesun
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby invisiblesun » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:57 am

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
invisiblesun wrote:GAIA keeps referring to AA's efficacy on a macro-level, but AA is especially weak when viewed through this type of lens. The percentage of minorities who are in a position to benefit from affirmative action is unfortunately low, and in a macroeconomic sense AA does little to solve the vast majority of problems that minorities face. It may help someone who overcame serious disadvantages, it could also help minorities who have not faced any of the problems that justify AA's existence. Admitting the latter type of student does help diversify the school, but the presumption behind AA is that it serves to help those who were disadvantaged due to their race. The failure to distinguish between minorities who need help and those who don't is part of the reason why AA can lead to resentment among applicants.


Most of your post is very credited. :)

However, just as a response to this, I don't know why you assume that minorities that are presumably in better socioeconomic circumstances than that of most minorities have not faced any of the problems that justifies AA's existence. Just because a minority is wealthy, or even had a similar upbringing to those of their white counterparts does not mean that they still do not face discrimination in a more institutionalized, less overt way. As minorities progress up the socioeconomic strata of society, there isn't "less racism" it just comes in different forms and it's likely to be less of a detriment because, unlike most minorities, they have the resources to combat such discrimination and mitigate its effects. Nevertheless, the discrimination is very much present and a controlling factor in these people's lives. The fact is, that one is African American, or Hispanic, or Puerto Rican, or Native American is a disadvantage in itself. I think people's failure to realize this issue is why AA can lead to the resentment among applicants that you speak of.


I agree with you, and I might have glossed over that point. I was working under the assumption that one would want to see preferential treatment for those applicants who overcame both racial and socioeconomic barriers. However, I have no information on whether schools do give a larger AA boost to those of lower SES, so my point might be moot.

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MTal
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby MTal » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:32 am

Over 1/3rd of HLS's student body is Jewish.

::snicker::

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invisiblesun
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby invisiblesun » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:38 am

MTal wrote:Over 1/3rd of HLS's student body is Jewish.

::snicker::


I'd be surprised if most big-name east coast law schools weren't the same...

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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby ht2988 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:56 am

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
invisiblesun wrote:GAIA keeps referring to AA's efficacy on a macro-level, but AA is especially weak when viewed through this type of lens. The percentage of minorities who are in a position to benefit from affirmative action is unfortunately low, and in a macroeconomic sense AA does little to solve the vast majority of problems that minorities face. It may help someone who overcame serious disadvantages, it could also help minorities who have not faced any of the problems that justify AA's existence. Admitting the latter type of student does help diversify the school, but the presumption behind AA is that it serves to help those who were disadvantaged due to their race. The failure to distinguish between minorities who need help and those who don't is part of the reason why AA can lead to resentment among applicants.


Most of your post is very credited. :)

However, just as a response to this, I don't know why you assume that minorities that are presumably in better socioeconomic circumstances than that of most minorities have not faced any of the problems that justifies AA's existence. Just because a minority is wealthy, or even had a similar upbringing to those of their white counterparts does not mean that they still do not face discrimination in a more institutionalized, less overt way. As minorities progress up the socioeconomic strata of society, there isn't "less racism" it just comes in different forms and it's likely to be less of a detriment because, unlike most minorities, they have the resources to combat such discrimination and mitigate its effects. Nevertheless, the discrimination is very much present and a controlling factor in these people's lives. The fact is, that one is African American, or Hispanic, or Puerto Rican, or Native American is a disadvantage in itself. I think people's failure to realize this issue is why AA can lead to the resentment among applicants that you speak of.


At its best, AA (affirmative action?) is a mere concession that allows the oppressed to participate in the institutions that perpetuate their oppression. I am reminded of the late Aaliyah, we need a reVolution.

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MTal
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby MTal » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:11 am

ht2988 wrote:
At its best, AA (affirmative action?) is a mere concession that allows the oppressed to participate in the institutions that perpetuate their oppression. I am reminded of the late Aaliyah, we need a reVolution.


We need you to remove your tinfoil hat.

ht2988
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby ht2988 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:17 am

MTal wrote:
ht2988 wrote:
At its best, AA (affirmative action?) is a mere concession that allows the oppressed to participate in the institutions that perpetuate their oppression. I am reminded of the late Aaliyah, we need a reVolution.


We need you to remove your tinfoil hat.


Sorry, that can't happen, as I have bad hat hair underneath :roll:

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niederbomb
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby niederbomb » Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:46 pm

AA is good for everyone. It's good for minorities who get it for obvious reasons. And while it may screw non-URM's who don't get admitted, it's a pretty good deal for those who do.

Those who underperformed in UG/LSAT will probably do poorly in law school also, thus helping those who were, in fact, qualified to attend in the first place earn higher grades.

For some, AA is an OCI godsend.

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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby JazzOne » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:38 pm

niederbomb wrote:AA is good for everyone. It's good for minorities who get it for obvious reasons. And while it may screw non-URM's who don't get admitted, it's a pretty good deal for those who do.

Those who underperformed in UG/LSAT will probably do poorly in law school also, thus helping those who were, in fact, qualified to attend in the first place earn higher grades.

For some, AA is an OCI godsend.

This post is full of fail.

d34d9823
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby d34d9823 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:40 pm

JazzOne wrote:
niederbomb wrote:AA is good for everyone. It's good for minorities who get it for obvious reasons. And while it may screw non-URM's who don't get admitted, it's a pretty good deal for those who do.

Those who underperformed in UG/LSAT will probably do poorly in law school also, thus helping those who were, in fact, qualified to attend in the first place earn higher grades.

For some, AA is an OCI godsend.

This post is full of fail.

Haha I was gonna say it was a matter of time until someone got offended by all the passive-aggressive implications.

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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby Stanford4Me » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:40 pm

JazzOne wrote:
niederbomb wrote:AA is good for everyone. It's good for minorities who get it for obvious reasons. And while it may screw non-URM's who don't get admitted, it's a pretty good deal for those who do.

Those who underperformed in UG/LSAT will probably do poorly in law school also, thus helping those who were, in fact, qualified to attend in the first place earn higher grades.

For some, AA is an OCI godsend.

This post is full of fail.

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northwood
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby northwood » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:32 pm

and the thread begins the slide down the slippery slope. Get your popcorn ready

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3|ink
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Re: How do law schools even KNOW YOUR RACE?

Postby 3|ink » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:32 am

northwood wrote:and the thread begins the slide down the slippery slope. Get your popcorn ready


Naw. I think we can stick a fork in niederbomb.




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