I really believe the test is biased along cultural and economic lines, not racial lines. Students of color and poor whites tend to attend mostly poorer schools with fewer resources. They tend to live under harder circumstances and become socialized to instant gratification...in everything. This also explains why so many black kids gravitate towards sports and entertainment as career options. It's not that they are averse to hard work. Indeed, success in those firelds requires much of the same work ethic it takes to become a lawyer. It is more because they see the prospects for large, more immediate returns for their work. It's the LeBron/Beyonce' factor.
When you grow up disadvantaged, your life expectancy is shorter, so you don't think in terms of college, 401K's and "retirement". Urban Black and Hispanic men, for example, don't typically expect to retire; they expect early deaths. White men in rural Arkansas operate under much of the same belief system. Whites are not immune to this, nor are other ethnic groups or gays. This dynamic is just one example of the efects of growing up in lesser valued communities.
Even those disadvantaged persons who embrace education as their ticket tend to do so half-heartedly, so the LeBron/Beyonce' factor is still prevalent. This mentality has become deleterious to our entire society, but it is especially harmful to less advantaged citizens because they don't realize that education and land ownership have been used historically to transcend poverty and disenfranchisement.
Another problem arises when the facilities are inferior, as are the efforts of the instructors. URM and poorer white students are less likely to become proficient with computers, the English language, analytical reasoning and general study skills as a result. These factors are out of their control, yet their prospects for attending and doing well in college all depend on those elements. I can use Michael Oher, the Cosby kids or any host of other examples to show that one's early environment is the single most impactful element in what occurs later in life. We all know this.
A rich black person who has lived in well-to-do neighborhoods and attended wealthy private, suburban schools is unworthy of a boost. That is why I qualified my statements. Such boosts, while appropriate in certain circumstances, are wholly inappropriate in others. Conversely, a poor white person who, on paper, could resemble any hard-luck life black or Hispanic person would deserve the boost. I have said this many times before. The boost - if it exists - is appropriate on a case-by-case basis. It just so happens that many of the factors adcoms consider in their calculus happen to apply to people of color. That does not make the practice a "race-based" preference/mechanism.
Those who have had to overcome more hardship, deserve to have their accomplishments considered in a different context, regardless of their ethnicity, gender or other demographic considerations. The problem I have had with many TLSers is that they want admissions to be a perfect science, and it cannot be...neither is the law. Hence, it is a reality that one must come to expect to encounter in the real world.
The Casey Anthony trial is a perfect example of that. Her "guilt" or "innocence" (and her resulting sentence) might theoretically have hinged on her having been sexually abused as a child, had her allegations been true. We as human beings - and I am proud of this - have accepted the reality that we must often take preipheral factors into consideration when making decisions. The short answer: I believe in the principle that certain decisions require contextualization; admissions is one of them. Nevertheless, it has nothing to do with race.
That's what makes us higher evolved, thinking beings as opposed to less evolved animals or robots.
The test is culturally biased because it does not account for other types of relevant skills that less advantaged students might acquire as a result of their unique circumstances. For example, a wealthy white student may read faster, but clients don't always need lawyers who read quickly. In fact, they may want lawyers who don't read or speak quickly and are less likely to use jargon once they have learned it. So, the timing factor of the LSAT is biased towards rich white students who seek to enter areas such as corporate law, as opposed to bilingual students who aspire to become family law attorneys in their immigrant communities. Hence, a test that balanced timing and accuracy might be a fairer test.
Poorer students who may have witnessed more hardships in their lifetimes are likely to be more sensitive to those aspects of life, yet the LSAT does not test the human intuition. Even employers have behavioral skills tests that have been accepted by the society we live in. Why not the LSAT, especially when it may balance the scales and give more insight into one's true prospects for becoming a successful, well-rounded legal professional?
Last edited by PDaddy
on Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.