Thursday, April 28, 2005

Marquette Law School Doesn’t Discriminate Against Whites Enough

Something that’s not news, but that the Marquette Tribune has chosen to make news via a front page story in today’s paper: the fact that Marquette’s Law School lacks some quota of minority students.

The Tribune cites a “new study” (actually, it’s been around for a long time) showing that Marquette’s Law School is the “ninth-whitest in the nation with a 92.6 percent white student body.”

The woman who did the “study,” one Vernellia Randall, appears to be a racial hustler in the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton mode. For example, she starts her web page with a blurb about how (quoting):
I grew up in Texas during Jim Crow. During that time going on long distance road trips had a distinct flavor for Blacks and I remember it vividly – the packing enough food for the entire trip (no restaurants), the using the bathroom on the side of the road (no gas station bathrooms), the sleeping in the car on the side of the road (no motels).
It’s of course deplorable that this ever happened, but unfortunately the fact that your ancestors lived as slaves in 1860 or that you lived under segregation in 1960 doesn’t mean you are making any sense in 2005. Indeed, members of the Axis of Grievance are probably, on a university campus, less likely to be making sense, since their arguments are rarely challenged. If they are, shouts of “racist” or “sexist” or “homophobe” are enough silence dissent and demonstrate that thinking is not only unnecessary, but downright dangerous.

The “study” adopts an explicit racial quota. The racial composition of law schools is compared, state by state, with the racial composition of all people aged 21-39. If there are more whites in a law school than in the state’s population, the school is claimed to have “excess whiteness” in its law schools. In Wisconsin, for example, the population of that age cohort is 85.21 percent white, but Marquette’s Law School is 92.6 percent white. This translates to an “excess whiteness” of 7.39 percent.

The problem of course is that blacks are underrepresented among people with college degrees. Nationwide, in 2001, 33.0 percent of whites aged 25-29 had a college degree, but only 17.9 percent of blacks, and 11.1 percent of Hispanics.

Quite obviously, the people who might get admitted to law schools are people with a bachelor’s degree, not everybody in the population.

In 1994-95, in Wisconsin, 93.8 percent of the bachelor’s degrees conferred were conferred on non-Hispanic whites. So it seems that Marquette’s Law School is about as white as the population of people who have a bachelor’s degree and might actually be qualified to go to law school.

But then how do schools like the University of Wisconsin Madison achieve better “diversity” in spite of being in the same state as Marquette? The answer lies in the fact that virtually all of the “top ten whitest” law schools are second or third tier schools (one is in the fourth tier). The more prestigious schools (which are also usually richer) can “cherry pick” minority applicants, offer them large scholarships, and attract a disproportionate number.

In this politically correct marketplace, minority students are reduced to a commodity the purpose of which is to satisfy the ideological demands of the faculty and the media, and the career interests of administrators. As in any market, the players with the most money can bid the commodity away from the less well-heeled competitors.

We know a fellow who was the Dean of a school at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. One year he was elated that four blacks were slated to enter the school, making for dandy “diversity” in a small entering class. But then the corresponding school at the UW-Madison attracted all four away with lucrative financial offers. “Diversity?” Not really, but certainly political correctness for the more prestigious and better endowed institution.

What this process guarantees, of course, is that everywhere in academia minorities will be the less qualified students. When whites start assuming that their minority cohorts are less academically capable, the politically correct types will whine and bitch and shout “racism!,” but it’s hard to convince people that it’s not true.

(Intimidating them such that they won’t say what they think is possible, and common.)

This has consequences. Richard Sander of the UCLA Law School showed that, at top law schools:
After the first year of law school, 51 percent of black students are in the bottom tenth of their classes compared with 5 percent of white students. About two-thirds of black students are in the bottom fifth of their classes. Without racial preferences, 14 percent fewer black students would be admitted to law schools, but those admitted would be more successful.
And . . .
Of all students who started law school in 1991, 48 percent of blacks and 78 percent of whites graduated, took the bar and passed it on their first attempt. Without racial preferences, 74 percent of black students would be likely to make it from the first day of law school to passing the bar on the first try because fewer unqualified students would be admitted to law school, there would be less attrition and academic performance — the principal predictor of success in passing the bar exam — would improve.
Affirmative action thus has severe human costs, although it’s doubtless good for white liberals and leftists on college faculties, and for administrators.

Diversity?

Proponents of Affirmative Action preferences and quotas will tend to dismiss arguments like these, saying that “diversity” is important since students need to interact with and learn to deal with people of different backgrounds.

The fundamental dishonesty of this claim becomes patent when one realizes how monolithically liberal and leftist faculty opinion is.

If faculty really wanted students to deal with different ideas and viewpoints, they would see this ideological skew as a problem. But in fact, they are more likely to think the existence of any conservatives on campus is a problem.

Even where minorities are concerned, there are politically correct minorities, and politically incorrect minorities. For example, at Harvard two leftist black professors, Lani Guinier (Law School) and Henry Louis Gates (African and African-American Studies Department) complained that, while about eight percent of the students Harvard was admitting were black, a majority of them were West Indian or African immigrants or the children of immigrants. (The New York Times, June 24, 2004)

This supposedly is bad.

Why? A simple question is in order: who is more “diverse,” meaning, who is likely to have a perspective or represent a culture that the average white American knows little about? A black person from Africa, or one from Detroit?

The complaints of Gates and Guinier are the tip-off that what we have here is not any policy of “diversity.” What we have is a racial spoils system, which blacks from elsewhere in the world are not supposed to horn in on.

Some of the things Marquette’s Law School told the Tribune they are doing – like going to recruit at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana – are benign enough. But they are unlikely to satisfy the hard-core politically correct crowd.

As the Law School tries to deal with demands for more discrimination against whites, they need to heed the words of alumnus Mark S. Kapocius, who observed:
Diversity indexers dehumanize individuals by categorizing and labeling students by their race and ethnicity. This process is distinctly anti-Catholic and anti-Jesuit. Marquette’s own employment policy states, “as a Christian and Catholic institution [Marquette] is dedicated to the proposition that all human beings possess an inherent dignity in the eyes of their Creator, and equality as children of God.” Labeling and judging others by race and ethnicity would seemingly be in direct conflict with this belief.

Marquette, like its Jesuit brethren, subscribes to a set of beliefs that transcend diversity indexes. The values of Catholic education appreciate and respect diversity on a higher level than the shallow and divisive attention-seeking diversity indexers. At Marquette, you are an individual, not a number in a sociological experiment. So, while other law schools can claim a higher diversity index score, Marquette can claim that they are upholding a 450-year-old Jesuit principle that all human beings are equal under God.
That statement has the sort of moral clarity the “diversity” crowd can’t muster.

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