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Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:03 am
by nailglue
So, I kind of have a weird background.

My mother got pregnant with me at the same time she was breaking up with her boyfriend and met a guy almost immediately thereafter. 3 months later, she and the new guy got married and moved across the country, and he was the person who signed my birth certificate (I have his last name). They decided not to tell me and raise me as his own, and I've always known him as my dad. As a result, I grew up marking only caucasian on test forms, but when I was almost 20, they told me the truth that he adopted me at birth. I also met my biological father shortly after that and found out through my new half-sister that his mom is Mexican, which makes me by blood 25% Mexican. I honestly look like a tan white guy - there's nothing very Latino about me (my bio father's other half and my mom's full side of the family are white European), but is it still possible for me to mark Latino/Hispanic on my forms and qualify as URM?

I obviously didn't do that applying to my undergrad because I didn't know yet, but since finding out, I have started to do that some. I registered for my LSAT as both caucasian and hispanic and filled out the LSAC website and my apps as both.

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:03 am
by callmepuck
Eyy man use the advantages life gives you lord knows everything else in life is showered with lemons

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:21 pm
by PBJones
If what you say is true, check that box. Don't worry about the ignoramuses who talk about "C&F issues"; those only come up if you are lying about your background. They can't prove you "don't identify" as an ethnicity if it is legitimately part of your background. You can include an addendum about your "discovery" if you so choose, but you're not obliged to do so.

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:37 pm
by bigeast03
PBJones wrote:If what you say is true, check that box. Don't worry about the ignoramuses who talk about "C&F issues"; those only come up if you are lying about your background. They can't prove you "don't identify" as an ethnicity if it is legitimately part of your background. You can include an addendum about your "discovery" if you so choose, but you're not obliged to do so.


He never marked it prior to law school.

From the TopLawSchools article on URMs:
"Should I check the box for “URM” on my application?

This question (in various forms) plagues the URM forum and is a difficult one to address. In most cases, if you have to ask this question, the answer is probably no. Two general rules pertaining to this topic are (subject to disagreement):

The generally accepted threshold for claiming a race is ¼ (does not include Native Americans, which are a more grey area). Beyond that, claims of minority status tend to become a bit more dubious.
If you have never checked the box before, don’t check it now. If you have never identified as a minority, why start now? While very few educational institutes will attempt to confirm that your race is indeed your race, the Character and Fitness portion of the bar will certainly raise some questions about how you were not listed as [insert applicable minority status here] on LSAC/or undergraduate applications, but (conveniently) chose to do so for the URM-sensitive law school application process."

Again, it's entirely up to you. Nobody knows for sure whether it may or may not be a C&F issue in the future. I think you're safest bet if you don't feel entirely comfortable is to check the "choose not to respond" box, and then write a diversity statement talking about your status. Just my two cents.

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:40 pm
by PBJones
bigeast03 wrote:
PBJones wrote:If what you say is true, check that box. Don't worry about the ignoramuses who talk about "C&F issues"; those only come up if you are lying about your background. They can't prove you "don't identify" as an ethnicity if it is legitimately part of your background. You can include an addendum about your "discovery" if you so choose, but you're not obliged to do so.


He never marked it prior to law school.

From the TopLawSchools article on URMs:
"Should I check the box for “URM” on my application?

This question (in various forms) plagues the URM forum and is a difficult one to address. In most cases, if you have to ask this question, the answer is probably no. Two general rules pertaining to this topic are (subject to disagreement):

The generally accepted threshold for claiming a race is ¼ (does not include Native Americans, which are a more grey area). Beyond that, claims of minority status tend to become a bit more dubious.
If you have never checked the box before, don’t check it now. If you have never identified as a minority, why start now? While very few educational institutes will attempt to confirm that your race is indeed your race, the Character and Fitness portion of the bar will certainly raise some questions about how you were not listed as [insert applicable minority status here] on LSAC/or undergraduate applications, but (conveniently) chose to do so for the URM-sensitive law school application process."

Again, it's entirely up to you. Nobody knows for sure whether it may or may not be a C&F issue in the future. I think you're safest bet if you don't feel entirely comfortable is to check the "choose not to respond" box, and then write a diversity statement talking about your status. Just my two cents.


Just because it's on TLS doesn't make it true (in fact, the author disclaims the article by noting that she has no extensive knowledge on the matter). If OP is Mexican, and is clear about the nature of his heritage on his application, there is no way he is going to be disallowed from practicing. Unless his story is a lie -- and of course in this case he'd be disbarred or fail C&F -- he didn't know he was Mex at the time of his apps.

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:42 pm
by gaud
bigeast03 wrote: I think you're safest bet if you don't feel entirely comfortable is to check the "choose not to respond" box, and then write a diversity statement talking about your status. Just my two cents.



agreed on this. if you haven't always (or at least for a while) identified yourself as a MA it would seem risky to start doing so as soon as you're applying to law schools. writing a diversity statement can get you around this 'issue' and would be a good idea even if you had always identified yourself as MA.

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:47 pm
by mattviphky
I would check the box as Hispanic, and so would everyone else. If your father really is Hispanic, then you are part hispanic and entitled to whatever boost that gives you. Sorry you're a bastard, but I'm happy that you ended up with a dad you love, and a father that has given you an easier ticket to a top law school.

just looked up your stats as well...your bio father may have very well given you a good shot at HSCC

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:48 pm
by bigeast03
PBJones wrote:Just because it's on TLS doesn't make it true (in fact, the author disclaims the article by noting that she has no extensive knowledge on the matter). If OP is Mexican, and is clear about the nature of his heritage on his application, there is no way he is going to be disallowed from practicing. Unless his story is a lie -- and of course in this case he'd be disbarred or fail C&F -- he didn't know he was Mex at the time of his apps.


Sure, no doubt there are a lot of things on TLS that aren't necessarily true. You're probably right that it shouldn't be an issue. The thing is, if he were to simply choose not to respond on the boxes, and instead opt to write a diversity statement, it eliminates all potential pitfalls and could still give him a diversity boost.

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:02 pm
by PBJones
bigeast03 wrote:
PBJones wrote:Just because it's on TLS doesn't make it true (in fact, the author disclaims the article by noting that she has no extensive knowledge on the matter). If OP is Mexican, and is clear about the nature of his heritage on his application, there is no way he is going to be disallowed from practicing. Unless his story is a lie -- and of course in this case he'd be disbarred or fail C&F -- he didn't know he was Mex at the time of his apps.


Sure, no doubt there are a lot of things on TLS that aren't necessarily true. You're probably right that it shouldn't be an issue. The thing is, if he were to simply choose not to respond on the boxes, and instead opt to write a diversity statement, it eliminates all potential pitfalls and could still give him a diversity boost.


"Diversity boost" is way lower than URM boost. A necessary (and virtually always sufficient) condition of getting the URM boost is checking the box of one of the 4 URMs.

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:05 pm
by PBJones
mattviphky wrote:I would check the box as Hispanic, and so would everyone else. If your father really is Hispanic, then you are part hispanic and entitled to whatever boost that gives you. Sorry you're a bastard, but I'm happy that you ended up with a dad you love, and a father that has given you an easier ticket to a top law school.

just looked up your stats as well...your bio father may have very well given you a good shot at HSCC


Given his newly-minted MA status, I'd apply to HS (probably not Y) with his 3.63 (in biology) 171. Small chance but who knows? Columbia is probably better than 50-50 (though you're slightly below both medians), same with Chicago. Anything below CC is probably a lock. Retake and hit 172 for a lock at CC; a 173 will get you a much better than 50-50 chance at H.

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:59 pm
by nailglue
I've already sent my apps out, and I did identify as both Mexican/Hispanic and Caucasian. After college, I moved there for a year and a half and actually did connect with the lifestyle and culture a lot. In the north, there are quite a lot of people who have my skin tone / complexion. If it weren't for applying to law school, I'd still be there.

As far as the schools go, if they have serious doubts. I'd be more than happy to provide them with the contacts necessary. Like I said before, I had no idea prior to being told about my bio father because I had no reason to question it.

Re: Found out later in life that I'm 1/4 Mexican

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:04 pm
by bigeast03
nailglue wrote:I've already sent my apps out, and I did identify as both Mexican/Hispanic and Caucasian. After college, I moved there for a year and a half and actually did connect with the lifestyle and culture a lot. In the north, there are quite a lot of people who have my skin tone / complexion. If it weren't for applying to law school, I'd still be there.

As far as the schools go, if they have serious doubts. I'd be more than happy to provide them with the contacts necessary. Like I said before, I had no idea prior to being told about my bio father because I had no reason to question it.


That makes sense then, since you clearly do identify with your new-found MA heritage. Best of luck with what I'm sure will turn out to be a great cycle!