Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
champ207
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Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby champ207 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:50 am

Alright, there is a lot of heated debate on what qualifies as an URM and what doesn't. The question posed here is more of a technical nature, so we don't need people rolling out the Grutter decision and various statistics from the U.S. Census. If one of someone's parents is from a North African country, and the other is from the U.S., can a case be made that they can select African-American on applications? Now, we must remember that lsac.org under their box for African- Americans says, Black OR African-American.

In my opinion, the simple answer is yes that person can legitimately say they are African- American. First, one parent is from Africa and one is from America. Technically, that is African-American. Now, I know some of the malcontents will be jumping up and down and say, "Well, under that logic a white American, who has a parent from South Africa can make a claim that they are African- American." Yes, they could make a claim, and so what? Furthermore, the fact that a parent is ACTUALLY from Africa, should and does in my opinion make this argument stronger. Now, onto what I think is the most compelling reason as to why a child with a parent from North Africa can say they are African American. As mentioned above, the box says Black or African-American. The Black portions covers what most people tend to think of African- Americans in terms of color. However, if they truly meant to mean just those who have a dark skin color, then why would they say Black OR African-American? To me the "or" is absolutely crucial and gives people who have legitimate ties to Africa and who may not be black in the modern sense, a legit way to self-describe as African- American and thus conferring onto them URM status.

One last thing... What exactly could a law school do about it, if you said you were African-American because you have a parent from a North African country? I've heard some rumblings that you could be expelled in your 3rd year or you may face difficulties in the ethics part of the bar due to misrepresentation. I think both could easily be beat with a sound argument.

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99.9luft
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby 99.9luft » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:54 am

Can a North African technically qualify as African American?


No.

idfatq
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby idfatq » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:57 am

yes, i know some north africans who applied as african-americans. they are americans whose ethnic roots are from a country in africa, hence an african-american. btw the ones i know are still students though, not sure about it becoming a problem with the bar or anything..

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Grizz
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby Grizz » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:06 am

You're thinking way too far into this. They mean black people. Srry bro

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MartianManhunter
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby MartianManhunter » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:14 am

So, you're basically asking if Arabs from, say, Libya or Morocco are African-American? (because, presumably, you're not talking about the black people living in those countries).

No, they're Arab.

Black/African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
Caucasian/White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

http://www.deloggio.com/diversty/doe%20race.html

subtle
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby subtle » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:02 am

In my opinion they would be African American, but not black. For the purposes law school admissions, African American is just a euphemism for black, but it isn't wholly correct. You, and others, have pointed out this loop hole. It seems to me that law schools would be better served by a different term, such as, black American, but that's neither here nor there.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby Lawquacious » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:14 am

I would consider calling individual schools to find out if you qualify according to each school's understanding of what would allow you to rightfully check the box (maybe document the conversations), or possibly even consult an attorney who specializes in affirmative-action issues related to law school (if there is such a creature). Obviously, whether or not you qualify could have a major bearing on your admissions status, and race isn't necessarily just about the color of your skin. But if you don't normally identify as a certain race and start doing so just for an admissions boost that may be problematic, which is why I would do some more research if I were you (including seeking more authoritative answers than on here). Another thing to consider is that if it turns out you can't ethically claim you are African American for purposes of admissions, you may still get a minor boost for being from another country. Not positive about that though, and obviously it would be nothing like the URM boost you may otherwise get.

But with the above being said, I think it sounds like you may be really pushing it to check the box.

dkt4
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby dkt4 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:42 am

paul mooney: "everybody wants to be a brother, but nobody wants to be a brother"



no, that doesn't qualify -- and if you have to ask, it means you shouldn't put it down as such.

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booboo
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby booboo » Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:44 am

dkt4 wrote:paul mooney: "everybody wants to be a brother, but nobody wants to be a brother"



no, that doesn't qualify -- and if you have to ask, it means you shouldn't put it down as such.


I don't think he used brother...

SupraVln180
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby SupraVln180 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:29 pm

if you are black, yes. if you are anything else, no.

idfatq
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby idfatq » Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:12 pm

lol at all these replies. i just told you guys, there are arab north africans that are applying as african-americans and receiving whatever boost checking "african-american" gives you, and there's nothing schools can do about it. They are african-american. there is no bubble for "arab". Saudi Arabians can't claim they're african-americans, but those with egyptian, morrocan, etc. north african roots can and do check the african-american bubble.

like i said above, I KNOW PEOPLE WHO DID THIS AND NOTHING HAPPENED TO THEM. they're not black but they're african-americans. get over it lol

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amers73
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby amers73 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:28 pm

idfatq wrote:lol at all these replies. i just told you guys, there are arab north africans that are applying as african-americans and receiving whatever boost checking "african-american" gives you, and there's nothing schools can do about it. They are african-american. there is no bubble for "arab". Saudi Arabians can't claim they're african-americans, but those with egyptian, morrocan, etc. north african roots can and do check the african-american bubble.

like i said above, I KNOW PEOPLE WHO DID THIS AND NOTHING HAPPENED TO THEM. they're not black but they're african-americans. get over it lol


There may be nothing schools can do about it, but its dishonest. I have Moroccan and other arab blood, but I am really super light skinned. I feel that marking the AA box is cheating. I do not identify with the AA community, I identify with the middle east/north african community. I have not been discriminated because of my ethnic background, and I'd be willing to bet that those who are marking the AA box have not either. They're just taking advantage of the system.

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bk1
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby bk1 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:32 pm

People know they are being dishonest. People do it anyways. Schools can't really tell.

What's your point? People could just outright lie about their ethnicity and they probably wouldn't get caught either.

005618502
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby 005618502 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:37 pm

bk1 wrote:People know they are being dishonest. People do it anyways. Schools can't really tell.

What's your point? People could just outright lie about their ethnicity and they probably wouldn't get caught either.


this is true. I think schools are seeing more of this with these loop holes as well as people claiming to be native american when they are not. Though I dont think native american helps unless you have tribal affiliation.

This discussion will not be settled on TLS no matter what

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:57 pm

I think you're justified in checking the box. The LSAC and schools are not simply looking for dark people. If you were to ask an adcomm about the URM process they wouldn't describe it as a way to simply get different colored people into their schools. Adcomms are looking for genuine diversity, and because you are legitimately African-American, there's absolutely no dishonesty in checking that box. If the LSAC was interested in your skin color alone, they would eliminate caucasian with white, asian with yellow, Native American with red, and African-American with black. I'm obviously oversimplifying but I think you understand my point.

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albusdumbledore
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby albusdumbledore » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:19 pm

I don't see the issue in doing it if that's how you really feel you identify. They've asked you for the categorization, which puts the ball in your court. If they wanted to do it themselves, they could ask for a picture. Those check-boxes aren't all encompassing. I don't even think it should be considered a "loophole". Ask a poor question, expect a poor answer.

dakatz
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby dakatz » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:23 pm

There is no debate here. LSAC completely answered this question by providing new definitions of the various groups. They specifically place those of North African decent into the caucasian group. On the flipside, they define African American as those whose ancestry goes back to the black racial groups of Africa. So no, North-Africans are caucasian for purposes of the LSAC categories. The definitions are now clear. There is nothing to debate, argue, or say on this matter beyond that. Whether or not you agree with the classifications or whatever way YOU define them is irrelevant because a governing definition is provided for you.

And just to kill any debate that remains, here are the actual definitions:

Caucasian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Black/African-American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

Could this be any more clear an answer to your question, OP? If you check the Black/African-American box, then as far as the school is concerned, you are a liar. They don't care about how YOU define things. Will you get caught or suffer any consequences? Probably not. But you shouldn't stain the very first step of your legal career with a lie.

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albusdumbledore
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby albusdumbledore » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:33 pm

^^If this is the case, then yeah, I agree. I was unaware that they had further delineated.

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:43 pm

Looks like OP is SOL. The writing is on the wall: you're caucasian bud

dakatz
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby dakatz » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:48 pm

The entire point of LSAC re-writing the definitions to make them more clear was to close the very loophole that OP is arguing for. There were countless instances of those from North Africa and South Africa gaining substantial benefits that were meant for blacks of African decent. Thus, they went out of their way to make it explicitly clear that they meant African-Americans to refer to BLACK racial groups.

I recall seeing an Egyptian friend from high school (a rich girl who was completely white) receive some African-American scholarship and gain admission to schools FAR beyond those for which she was qualified. And it was appalling to see, because this girl got the award at the expense of those for whom the award was actually created for. Apparently, LSAC took an equally negative view of such situations.

die Zauberflote
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby die Zauberflote » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:55 pm

Yes; of course claim it. Why not? You would be an absolute moron not to. If you can make even the most tenuous, cheap connection then you should exploit it. Perhaps it will ruffle the feathers of some people on this board with an entitlement complex or misplaced sympathies but who cares? You will get an enormous boost. You will get into a significantly better school and/or get significantly more money.

Your job is to "self-identify." You should not be listening to other people who are saying, "You're not black...so you're not really African American." You should be listening to yourself, the voice of reason in your head. When they are telling you not to take advantage of the purposefully vague wording, they have their best interest in mind...not yours.

If I was 1/64th I would claim it; I have no problem using a silly, flawed system to my advantage, especially when I don't need to lie to do so. It's "self-identification." Whatever you say (not think, but say) is the truth.

And a law school would NEVER question you about...imagine how scandalous it would be for them to go around accusing people of not being the race that they self-identified as. It would never be mentioned, they only care about the way it looks on paper. The end goal is to keep civil rights groups from protesting on campus and embarrassing the school.

amers73 wrote: I have not been discriminated because of my ethnic background

Yes you have. You have been denied an admission boost based on the color of your skin.

dakatz
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby dakatz » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:20 pm

die Zauberflote wrote:Yes; of course claim it. Why not? You would be an absolute moron not to. If you can make even the most tenuous, cheap connection then you should exploit it. Perhaps it will ruffle the feathers of some people on this board with an entitlement complex or misplaced sympathies but who cares? You will get an enormous boost. You will get into a significantly better school and/or get significantly more money.

Your job is to "self-identify." You should not be listening to other people who are saying, "You're not black...so you're not really African American." You should be listening to yourself, the voice of reason in your head. When they are telling you not to take advantage of the purposefully vague wording, they have their best interest in mind...not yours.

If I was 1/64th I would claim it; I have no problem using a silly, flawed system to my advantage, especially when I don't need to lie to do so. It's "self-identification." Whatever you say (not think, but say) is the truth.

And a law school would NEVER question you about...imagine how scandalous it would be for them to go around accusing people of not being the race that they self-identified as. It would never be mentioned, they only care about the way it looks on paper. The end goal is to keep civil rights groups from protesting on campus and embarrassing the school.

amers73 wrote: I have not been discriminated because of my ethnic background

Yes you have. You have been denied an admission boost based on the color of your skin.



Do you not understand that LSAC defines the groups and classifications now? Did you not read the few earlier posts? He can't make a tenuous connection because the new definitions of the groups preclude any such connection. Ethnicity is a matter of self-identification. Race, unless there is a mixed racial background, is not a matter of self-identification. The classifications specifically say that those of North African decent are to check "caucasian". Where is there room for interpretation in that? How is it anything but a lie in the most objective sense? You tell him he would be a moron to follow the published, specific, and dispositive information provided by LSAC? They changed the definitions to remove the very interpretation you are encouraging him to engage in.

Once again, the official DOE definitions utilized by LSAC

"Black/African-American - A person having origins in any of the BLACK racial groups of Africa."

"Caucasian - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or NORTH AFRICA."

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romothesavior
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby romothesavior » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:37 pm

dakatz wrote:The entire point of LSAC re-writing the definitions to make them more clear was to close the very loophole that OP is arguing for. There were countless instances of those from North Africa and South Africa gaining substantial benefits that were meant for blacks of African decent. Thus, they went out of their way to make it explicitly clear that they meant African-Americans to refer to BLACK racial groups.

I recall seeing an Egyptian friend from high school (a rich girl who was completely white) receive some African-American scholarship and gain admission to schools FAR beyond those for which she was qualified. And it was appalling to see, because this girl got the award at the expense of those for whom the award was actually created for. Apparently, LSAC took an equally negative view of such situations.

I don't find this appalling in the slightest. I don't blame rich blacks for using the African-American URM boost, so I'm not going to blame a rich Arab person of African descent for taking the term "African-American" on it's face. If LSAC and law schools were so concerned with this, they should have used the term "Black" or said something about black of African descent, just like they use the term "White." They chose the PC term, and if people took the term on its face in order to get the URM boost, more power to them. I'd do the same in the situation.

Anyways, I agree with dakatz though... if LSAC has further defined the term African-American to mean "black African," then don't do it. Sounds like they have, so don't do it.

whymeohgodno
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby whymeohgodno » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:38 pm

What if you were adopted into an African American family when you were just an infant but you aren't actually black?

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kapachino
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Re: Can a North African technically qualify as African American?

Postby kapachino » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:40 pm

whymeohgodno wrote:What if you were adopted into an African American family when you were just an infant but you aren't actually black?


No boost for you




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