Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

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dancer566

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Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by dancer566 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:40 pm

Hi, hope everyone is well.

I know this area is quite controversial, so please, do not go after me.

I am predominantly Middle Eastern (Syrian) and North African (Libyan). I wouldn't say I am black, but I am definitely not Caucasian. You would see this, simply, by looking at me. However, it is difficult on the LSAC because Middle Eastern and North African fall under Caucasian. I just don't fit there. I read on a forum to report as African American, but would this cause issues?

Thank you so much . :)

dvlthndr

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Re: Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by dvlthndr » Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:10 pm

Saying you are "African American" has a specific meaning for school admissions. It signals that you are black, and it suggests (sometimes incorrectly) that you and your family suffered through a very specific type of racial discrimination/iniquity. It also flags you as an underrepresented minority, and normally gives you a boost in admissions.

Libya is in Africa and Syria is in Asia, but I don't think you should go around calling yourself "African-American" or "Asian-American." It's going to make you seem dishonest and could backfire in a big way if schools catch on. It's unfortunate that there isn't a box you can check off for being Middle Eastern / North African (and MENA is not normally considered URM), but you can still write a diversity statement.

crazywafflez

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Re: Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by crazywafflez » Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:39 pm

Not sure if this helps ya, but I'm half turkish sephardic. Your Syrian part is northern levant. It is true middle east and middle easterners, jews, Armenians, persians, etc. are white in the US (this is different compared to Europe but what can ya do).
I marked white and other and wrote a diversity statement. You are def not a URM, MENA folks are overepped in the legal field. At least in some places.
If your family is from southern Libya, and they don't strongly identify as being Arab, you can maybe make a claim here. If y'all are from Tripoli and Arab I just don't think you can fairly say you're african-american. Now Sahba or further south and you all actually view yourselves as being from African lineage then I think that's a fair slice. I haven't met too many immigrants from that location though and most Libyans I've met have been from the north. The goal is to help folks who have been oppressed, predominantly in the US, who have been set back. While Middle Easterners, Jews, Asians, Italians, Irish etc., have all been discriminated against, it isn't at the extent that blacks or natives have, and these groups have largely succeeded/ assimilated and don't need the boost.
That said, I do think writing the diversity statement and saying you are MENA who grew up in Idaho or something does make you interesting, and places without large MENA populations may give you a bump.
Best of luck.

Throwaway5818

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Re: Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by Throwaway5818 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:18 pm

Say you're African American, the boost African Americans get in admissions is substantial. Libya is in Africa, not taking advantage of this would be shooting yourself in the foot.

Moderator note: Advising other TLSers to fraudulently misrepresent themselves in their law school applications is not permitted. This poster has received a formal warning. ~QContinuum

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:37 pm

Throwaway5818 wrote:Say you're African American, the boost African Americans get in admissions is substantial. Libya is in Africa, not taking advantage of this would be shooting yourself in the foot.
This is asinine. Nobody understands "African American" to refer to MENA people (or, for instance, to white Afrikaners) and it would be dishonest of OP to hold themselves out as such if they aren't actually black or from an AA background. That's not something you want to do on your first step into the legal profession, and even if OP "got away with it" they'd have a sword of Damocles hanging over their head for the rest of their life since there are multiple ways this information could become public.

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nixy

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Re: Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by nixy » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:41 pm

Throwaway5818 wrote:Say you're African American, the boost African Americans get in admissions is substantial. Libya is in Africa, not taking advantage of this would be shooting yourself in the foot.
This is a terrible take.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by cavalier1138 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:05 pm

Throwaway5818 wrote:Say you're African American, the boost African Americans get in admissions is substantial. Libya is in Africa, not taking advantage of this would be shooting yourself in the foot.
OP: In case it isn't already clear, this is unambiguously terrible advice that could get you in serious trouble down the line.

Anon-non-anon

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Re: Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by Anon-non-anon » Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:58 am

As others have said, don't just say you're AA. But you could call and ask? The school may say to put AA, and in that case, I don't think you've done anything wrong. You asked them what to do based on your situation, and followed their directions.

Don't do that for other schools without calling first.

nixy

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Re: Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by nixy » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:11 am

The school isn’t going to tell you to put AA.

(Also, I think at least some schools don’t ask you to list it, they go off what’s on LSAC.)

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LSATWiz.com

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Re: Law School, Reporting Ethnicity

Post by LSATWiz.com » Fri May 01, 2020 9:15 pm

You’re Caucasians. You can write a diversity statement. If you’re looking to get specific about it, you are more closely related to Spanish, Greeks, Italians, and Jews than African Americans based on what it means. When schools say, African American they mean black. You don’t want to go your entire career knowing you can possibly always get disbarred for lying about your race. You should be able to win playing by the rules, not capitalizing on the misfortune of oppressed races. If you can’t win playing fairly, then you don’t deserve to win.

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