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On Affirmative Action


Glenn Reynolds has a post today on the affirmative action data from a university which was accidentally released. The data shows the difference between LSAT scores by racial category. (This summation from the comments.)

White {164.38, 164, 3.14}
Asian {164.32, 164, 3.02}
Native American {166, 166, 4.72}
Latino {163.75, 164.5, 3.84}
African {160.33, 159, 2.31}
Black {160.22, 159, 2.68}
Evidently, the guy who runs the site is a minority. He says this:
Look, not to be rude, but if you are a white person with all the social and economic advantages thereof, and you can't bust 160 on the LSAT to get into freaking Baylor, I really have limited sympathy for you. You didn't get "shafted" by some Latino kid who got an "unfair advantage" over you, you got out-competed by all the white people who can break 160 without breaking a sweat.

And while we're here, if you are a black person and you can't break 160 on the freaking LSAT, and you don't get into a top 100 law school because Baylor isn't more aggressive with it's affirmative action policies, I don't have sympathy for you either.

Now since most people aren't law students or law graduates, you can look here for information on average LSAT scores. But to give you a quick overview:
The average LSAT scaled score is around 151, and more than 50% score between 145 and 159. A scaled score of 160 to 165 puts you in very good company, and you are in an elite group with a scaled score of 166 or better. Your scaled score will be ranked in a percentile, which is the percentage of test takers that you outscored. For example, a 75th percentile score means that you outscored 75% of the test takers, and that 25% outscored you. On the LSAT, a handful of correct answers can make a huge percentile difference. The difference between the 50th percentile and the 75th percentile is around three questions per section; the difference between the 90th and the 95th percentiles is less than two questions per section.
Emphasis mine. In short, the slight handicapping of 4 points, per what this says, "can make a huge percentile difference." It's the difference between scholarship or not, admission or not.

I believe people should be rewarded for what they merit. No freebies. You give people things, they don't work as hard, and everyone benefits when hard work is the ethic.

I don't have a problem with helping the disadvantaged gain access to opportunity when they bust their ass for it. The question is how you define disadvantaged.

Is the poor white kid who grew up with alcoholic parents disadvantaged?

Is the Jewish kid whose parents escaped Nazi Germany and emigrated here with the shirt on their backs disadvantaged?

Is the Asian kid who suffers from a speech impairment disadvantaged?

Is the black woman who grew up wealthy and attended private schools disadvantaged?

Yes, my examples above are skewed, but for a reason. I don't think skin color alone defines disadvantage. A factor? It depends.

Clarence Page, writing for the Chicago Tribune, looked at the numbers and found that of the 8% Harvard student population that was black, half to two-thirds were recent immigrants, not affected by American slavery. He wondered:

Are elite schools padding their racial diversity numbers with black immigrants who do not have a history of American slavery in their families? This development immediately calls into question whether affirmative action admission policies are fulfilling their original intent.
Hmm... so was that the original intent - solely to help those affected by slavery? Just what is Affirmative Action?
The term "affirmative action" was first used in the United States. It first appeared in Executive Order 10925, which was signed by President John F. Kennedy on March 6, 1961, and it was used to refer to measures to achieve non-discrimination. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 which required federal contractors to take "affirmative action" to hire without regard to race, religion and national origin. In 1968, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list.
In other words, it was implemented to prevent people from barring access to opportunity due to race, gender, etc.

But the numbers posted from Baylor University show that it's now being to used to provide access in consideration of race, gender, etc.

That's different. We've moved from working to see everyone as a person who has the right to opportunity according to their merits and we've changed it to handicapping people according to their skin color, gender, etc.

The difference is subtle, and profound. One works toward a colorless, nonjudgmental society and the other sees everything through a lens of color and subjective judgment.

Every person deserves access to opportunity with no prejudicial barriers. We're all just people, no different or better than any other. What we do with the opportunities handed to us should determine our future based upon our merits.

When we are treated differently for circumstances outside our control, such as skin color or gender, we protest. It is, by any measure, unfair. No one deserves to be treated differently. In fact, when people are treated with the same consideration, only then are we equal, and we are judged as human beings, all on the same level.

Shouldn't that be the standard?


by Brett Rogers, 4/8/2012 9:27:06 AM


The yiddite press.. [anti-Jewish and other things here] [snip!]

[Brett says: I don't allow racist comments to stay on my site.]



Posted by [unnamed] ministries, 4/23/2012 11:48:50 AM

The above comment was written by someone who wants to stare at the religious background of people and the color of their skin and make judgments. So I snipped it - this isn't a platform for other people's bigotry.

I don't care about a person's religion. I don't care about a person's skin color or ethnic background. It's irrelevant to everything. I want to consider a person based on who they are as a person: the content of their character, as it was once said. That's all that matters.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 4/23/2012 12:09:22 PM

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