amandakent

U of T student profile

70 posts in this topic

This conversation is going in a lot of directions at once, now. Your original question is a reasonable one, in my opinion, and I wouldn't be as certain as ProfReader (much as I respect his opinion) in rejecting it. But to my mind it's really a question of how you approach this topic. I consider it all part of the same question. Law school is, as noted, highly competitive, and students are under tremendous pressure. AND they are under pressure in an environment where inevitably many of them will not perform as well as they would like, and this inevitability is fundamental to the fact that all of these students are competing against one another. Is it explicitly some realization of their sudden "average-ness" that drives law students batty? Probably not. But I think it's all baked into the whole. It's just a different way of describing the same reality.

 

There are-as I see it-obvious reasons for the difficulty of law school and all other graduate programs alike. The intention is, among other things, to train the professionals and leaders of the future who will obviously need a strong work-ethic and whatnot. Not to mention the element of competition. However, I really don't agree with the sad reality that any schooling should be so difficult that it quite literally drives people crazy. I mean, does anyone here believe that this country couldn't produce just as good, if not better, legal professionals without making students work so hard and fear so much that they can't even think about their future without wanting to break down if things don't go as planned and they can't excel past the other 99.9%? Obviously that doesn't apply to everyone. Plenty of people really enjoy law school and that's awesome. But, I think we could do with lawyers who aren't already breaking down before they even begin the real work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know something? All this talk of the insufficiently diverse class at U of T ... AND/OR Osgoode! ... makes me want to ask a very basic question. We live in a country where less than 20% of the population is a visible minority, as of 2011. That number is surely higher now, and it's been climbing for some time and will continue to climb. Which is absolutely not a problem for me or for just about anyone I know. But right now it's in the low 20% range, to be reasonable about it. So based on having that number right in front of your face, just how much over-representation of visible minorities in law school will satisfy you? How much is enough? And before you answer, please remember that as a logical necessity, you require a similar amount of under-representation of white students. There's no getting away from that. Here are some stats:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Canada#Ethnicity

 

For all this bullshit everyone is spewing about concern for the poor, under-privileged students out there, and how these nasty elite schools aren't catering sufficiently to them, you all have immensely specific ideas of what privilege and lack of privilege looks like. You know who has a fuck of a hard time accessing higher education and pursuing it as far as graduate and professional schools? Kids from rural areas. And you know what else is true about kids from rural areas in Canada? They are overwhelmingly white. I've seen the numbers in relation to post-secondary education in general. I haven't seen them specific to law school. But I'm 100% confident in my diagnosis of the conditions at play and while I'm not going to cite a study you are all intelligent people who can engage common sense. The reason we already have an over-representation (an over-representation) of visible minority students in law school is because law students are being drawn disproportionately from urban centres with high immigrant populations, and that over-representation is not pushing out children who come from historical privilege. It's coming off the backs of poor white kids from the middle of fucking nowhere who can barely even imagine what a law school looks like, much less dream about attending one at any point in their lives.

 

This is the problem with acknowledging class as an identity. This is the problem with talking about economic privilege. You are all so certain that lack of privilege looks like being a child of immigrant parents living in the middle of a city that you lose the ability to think along other vectors. The economic benefits of living in a city alone are huge. Think of everything you have access to here, and largely for free. Libraries, cultural institutions, access to schools and ideas and things around you that make those experiences real to you. It's hard to attend any high school in the GTA and not be taken regularly to a university while you're a teenager. You see these places. They exist to you. What do you think happens with kids who grow up 100 km away from any institution of higher learning?

 

Honestly. I know your intentions are good. But some days, I'm sick of the lot of you. You are smart, educated people, and you are capable of opening up your eyes and not being so ignorant about things you can't see. You're all probably wondering why anyone voted for Donald Trump and how that terrifying, miserable mother fucker got elected. And then you're capable of posting shit like this, which is all rooted in the fundamental and basic assumption that poor white kids don't really matter, because you'd rather see the children of immigrants in your universities, even far beyond the point where they are already grossly over-represented in real terms. And you wonder why anyone voted for Trump.

Edited by Diplock
11 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know something? All this talk of the insufficiently diverse class at U of T ... AND/OR Osgoode! ... makes me want to ask a very basic question. We live in a country where less than 20% of the population is a visible minority, as of 2011. That number is surely higher now, and it's been climbing for some time and will continue to climb. Which is absolutely not a problem for me or for just about anyone I know. But right now it's in the low 20% range, to be reasonable about it. So based on having that number right in front of your face, just how much over-representation of visible minorities in law school will satisfy you? How much is enough? And before you answer, please remember that as a logical necessity, you require a similar amount of under-representation of white students. There's no getting away from that. Here are some stats:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Canada#Ethnicity

 

For all this bullshit everyone is spewing about concern for the poor, under-privileged students out there, and how these nasty elite schools aren't catering sufficiently to them, you all have immensely specific ideas of what privilege and lack of privilege looks like. You know who has a fuck of a hard time accessing higher education and pursuing it as far as graduate and professional schools? Kids from rural areas. And you know what else is true about kids from rural areas in Canada? They are overwhelmingly white. I've seen the numbers in relation to post-secondary education in general. I haven't seen them specific to law school. But I'm 100% confident in my diagnosis of the conditions at play and while I'm not going to cite a study you are all intelligent people who can engage common sense. The reason we already have an over-representation (an over-representation) of visible minority students in law school is because law students are being drawn disproportionately from urban centres with high immigrant populations, and that over-representation is not pushing out children who come from historical privilege. It's coming off the backs of poor white kids from the middle of fucking nowhere who can barely even imagine what a law school looks like, much less dream about attending one at any point in their lives.

 

This is the problem with acknowledging class as an identity. This is the problem with talking about economic privilege. You are all so certain that lack of privilege looks like being a child of immigrant parents living in the middle of a city that you lose the ability to think along other vectors. The economic benefits of living in a city alone are huge. Think of everything you have access to here, and largely for free. Libraries, cultural institutions, access to schools and ideas and things around you that make those experiences real to you. It's hard to attend any high school in the GTA and not be taken regularly to a university while you're a teenager. You see these places. They exist to you. What do you think happens with kids who grow up 100 km away from any institution of higher learning?

 

Honestly. I know your intentions are good. But some days, I'm sick of the lot of you. You are smart, educated people, and you are capable of opening up your eyes and not being so ignorant about things you can't see. You're all probably wondering why anyone voted for Donald Trump and how that terrifying, miserable mother fucker got elected. And then you're capable of posting shit like this, which is all rooted in the fundamental and basic assumption that poor white kids don't really matter, because you'd rather see the children of immigrants in your universities, even far beyond the point where they are already grossly over-represented in real terms. And you wonder why anyone voted for Trump.

Can I nominate this post for post of the year? Is that/can we make that a thing?

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know something? All this talk of the insufficiently diverse class at U of T ... AND/OR Osgoode! ... makes me want to ask a very basic question. We live in a country where less than 20% of the population is a visible minority, as of 2011. That number is surely higher now, and it's been climbing for some time and will continue to climb. Which is absolutely not a problem for me or for just about anyone I know. But right now it's in the low 20% range, to be reasonable about it. So based on having that number right in front of your face, just how much over-representation of visible minorities in law school will satisfy you? How much is enough? And before you answer, please remember that as a logical necessity, you require a similar amount of under-representation of white students. There's no getting away from that. Here are some stats:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Canada#Ethnicity

 

For all this bullshit everyone is spewing about concern for the poor, under-privileged students out there, and how these nasty elite schools aren't catering sufficiently to them, you all have immensely specific ideas of what privilege and lack of privilege looks like. You know who has a fuck of a hard time accessing higher education and pursuing it as far as graduate and professional schools? Kids from rural areas. And you know what else is true about kids from rural areas in Canada? They are overwhelmingly white. I've seen the numbers in relation to post-secondary education in general. I haven't seen them specific to law school. But I'm 100% confident in my diagnosis of the conditions at play and while I'm not going to cite a study you are all intelligent people who can engage common sense. The reason we already have an over-representation (an over-representation) of visible minority students in law school is because law students are being drawn disproportionately from urban centres with high immigrant populations, and that over-representation is not pushing out children who come from historical privilege. It's coming off the backs of poor white kids from the middle of fucking nowhere who can barely even imagine what a law school looks like, much less dream about attending one at any point in their lives.

 

This is the problem with acknowledging class as an identity. This is the problem with talking about economic privilege. You are all so certain that lack of privilege looks like being a child of immigrant parents living in the middle of a city that you lose the ability to think along other vectors. The economic benefits of living in a city alone are huge. Think of everything you have access to here, and largely for free. Libraries, cultural institutions, access to schools and ideas and things around you that make those experiences real to you. It's hard to attend any high school in the GTA and not be taken regularly to a university while you're a teenager. You see these places. They exist to you. What do you think happens with kids who grow up 100 km away from any institution of higher learning?

 

Honestly. I know your intentions are good. But some days, I'm sick of the lot of you. You are smart, educated people, and you are capable of opening up your eyes and not being so ignorant about things you can't see. You're all probably wondering why anyone voted for Donald Trump and how that terrifying, miserable mother fucker got elected. And then you're capable of posting shit like this, which is all rooted in the fundamental and basic assumption that poor white kids don't really matter, because you'd rather see the children of immigrants in your universities, even far beyond the point where they are already grossly over-represented in real terms. And you wonder why anyone voted for Trump.

 

I guess the pendulum was always going to shift.

 

I rarely disagree with you, but I don’t know what to make of your post. It swings dangerously close to strawmanning, and mixes up so many different things (systemic discrimination, privilege, “white privilege,” immigration, moral/cultural relativism, social status, social inadequacy) in the law school student profile discussion that I don’t even know what angle to approach it from. Or maybe I’m mixing it up because I can’t talk intelligently about these issues.

 

I mean sure, if you want to talk about how tough it is for Casey Baker from Hill Spring, why stop there? Why not talk about Aputik Arngak from Eskasoni?

 

What I get from your post is that Bakari Appiah from Toronto has no right to feel angry that his 50 y-o Engineer dad works as a janitor in a factory or taxi driver to make ends meet, that his actuary mom holds a high-school level job, and that his name impairs his professional development. And why? Because he can go to a library for free, while Casey can’t? Surely that cannot be what you mean?

 

You then go on to make a pretty significant claim that white rural kids don’t have access to post-secondary education, while expressly stopping short of backing it up, then proceeded to veneer the argument under “common sense.” I dispute that reasoning completely. You don’t even show that there has been any outcry from rural kids because they feel discriminated against. How do you even know that Casey isn't content where he is? Heck, our very Uriel is a Casey. And even if I were to accept your reasoning, the fact of the matter is that the only thing separating Casey and Bakari is transport, both literally and figuratively (and for the sake of argument, I’ll let you guess how much separates Casey and Aputik).

If you’re going to suggest that Bakari will become a law student while Casey will be rejected, then sure, but how is that Bakari’s fault? Holding an argument like that makes it seem as though Casey was robbed of his spot by an undeserving candidate. I disagree. Instead, why not ask the school to do a better outreach job, or better yet, to enforce a geographic representation policy just as strictly as it seems to be enforcing national ethnic distribution representation? In other words, instead of making this about Bakari vs Casey, why not make it about Casey vs Beverly Cullen from York Mills?

 

Trump was elected because the pendulum had shifted. Introspection had to make way for scapegoating. Here, too, it appears our pendulum is beginning to shift, and we, too, will have our own Trump very soon. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I had the studies at hand, I'd provide them. Years ago I saw numbers and academic work regarding the difficulty of attending (or even aspiring to) higher education from a rural background. It was aimed at undergraduate admissions but I'm satisfied beyond doubt it applies equally to professional schools. I'm aware that I'm hanging it out there and I'll live with that. I'm only willing to do so much research in the cause of an Internet debate. But if someone wants to discount my points on that basis, it's fair.

 

I'm really not trying to set up a direct competition. I guess I'm more pointing out both the inevitability of direct competition and also the impossibility (even the absurdity) of trying to handicap that competition fairly. Here's where I agree with Esper completely. Trying to say that X got Y's spot on some unfair basis invokes so many assumptions and variables and impossible-to-gauge comparisons that it rapidly becomes nonsense. It happens all the time when we start to compare privilege. Is it better to be a gay white male raised in economic privilege by educated parents but legally blind, or a visible minority female who was sexually abused as a child but is otherwise physically fit and a talented athlete? Which is an easier path in life? Jebus - who the hell could ever answer a question like that? And yet ... and yet ... we implicitly invoke those contrasts all the time. Any time we say "there isn't enough X, and there's too much Y" we are trying to handicap the competition. We're trying to establish the points where the playing field has become too uneven.

 

The point of my post wasn't to argue definitively that rural kids are getting screwed out of their spots in schools by unknowingly privileged children from urban immigrant families. If I made that argument I'd be saying that I have sufficient insight to actually add up all the privilege and somehow establish a hierarchy. And that's fucking insane. Let's at least agree on that much. What I am saying, however, is that this thread introduced all kinds of blithe assumptions and gross generalities and the assumption from others that they have the calculus, and I deny that emphatically. I pointed out some ways in which the factors they are invoking are grossly, unforgivably lacking. Esper introduced some ways in which my own model is grossly lacking in reply. I don't deny it.

 

So where does that leave us? We can't ignore the topic of privilege. If we do that, we end up with 95% white men and some idiot comes along, sounding dangerously close to what I've just said with the "who the hell knows?" argument and suggests we just leave it alone because it's all so impossible. At the same time, we need to all be far less certain than we seem to be, sometimes. And that's what really set me off. This topic started with the suggestion that U of T is 62% white, turned in the direction of disagreeing just how much U of T deserves to be excoriated for that gross failure of diversity (not if, just how much), then involved some chest thumping about how Osgoode has even more diversity, then raised the question of whether Osgoode has enough also ... and no one even questioned the incredible assumptions at work until I did. I'm glad I did. Doesn't mean I have the rest of the answers. Never claimed to.

 

As for the politics ... yeah. My class politics compels me to say one further thing. Economic privilege is incredibly real, and yet so often denied or sidelined in discussion, and subsumed in discussion of race and other forms of privilege. The OP did exactly that, invoking a need for racial diversity and then moving straight to points about how lack of resources will prevent certain students from accessing school. So, my question in return - are we only worried about poor immigrants, poor visible minorities, or poor kids generally? There's plenty of poor white kids. Do they deserve the same concern?

 

Comedy is a great window, sometimes. There's a joke that various comedians have riffed off successfully, but the most recent example was Tom Hanks' remarkably sympathetic portrayal of a Trump supporter on SNL's Black Jeopardy. The usual joke in Black Jeopardy is that non-black contestants don't "get it." But Hanks' poor white character gets it perfectly. Why? Because many things that Americans think come from being black actually come from being poor. No question that black Americans suffer from this disproportionately. But the idea that if only America corrected its racism things would be better, even though economic disparity is eating that country alive ... that idea is corrosive. Anyway, I've said way too much.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly0X2XmEf1s

Edited by Diplock
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does. First people are not diverse, you can have a group of people from diverse backgrounds, but no one is a diverse person. I suspect you mean it would draw more visible minorities (who are no more or less diverse than any other group).

 

Second, and more importantly, you forget, visible minorities may make up 50% of Toronto's population, but they make up ~20% of Ontario/Canada's population (including Toronto). Since the diverse universe of people who want to live and work in a diverse city includes many of the white people who make up 80% ofthe Canadian population, UofT's student body is going to look like much more like the Canadian/Ontario population as a whole. Indeed, the UofT profile bears this out, 1/3rd of the class is drawn from people who are from outside of Ontario (and of thr 2/3rds from Ontario, one suspects a good number are from outside the GTA).

 

Every time I see a post like this, I wonder just what the Op think UofT's demographics should look like in a country/province that is 80% white? Is it that the Op has never left the Toronto bubble? I mean, lordy, if minority groups other than "asians" are only represented in single figures, could it possibly be that they account for a tiny portion of the Canadian population? (Hint: yes).

 

Well, black Canadians account for 2.9% of the Canadian population and 4.3% of the population of Ontario (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Canadians for figures sourced from the 2011 National Household Survey). They account for 1% of the class at U of T. That is manifestly non-representative.

Edited by EMP
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so. many. white. tears.

 

 

 

:(

 

You know what. I was going to ignore this. But if you want to respond to a real discussion with a throw away line, answer one question. Just give an actual answer to a direct question, and then you have my full license to troll away. It's the same question I already asked.

 

This entire discussion started with the premise that it's somehow a problem that U of T's class is 62% white in a country that's close to 80% white. The concern raised is that U of T's class is insufficiently diverse and should, in fact, be less white still. I rebutted that assertion, and if I were to stretch your "contribution" to this discussion to its limit, and to try to extract real content from your post, I gather you believe that's somehow majoritarian whining. And believe me, I'm well aware of how no one ever likes to hear anything approaching concern for the majoritarian identity.

 

So, answer the question. What percentage would satisfy you? And here's the bonus question. At which point do we appreciate that there's a concern? How much over-representation is enough? How much is too much?

 

It's easy to say "shut up, you're privileged, and you're defending privilege." But if that's all you have to say, you're part of the problem. Not because you're on the wrong side. This isn't about "right" and "wrong" sides. It's a horribly complex discussion. You're part of the problem because you've allied yourself with stupidity, and simplicity, and with throwaway jabs and one-liners as opposed to real engagement. You're the opposite side of Trump. Equally stupid and simplistic, only in another cause.

 

When I was at U of T, the class was skewing close to 60% female, was over 60% in some years, and had been on that trajectory for years. Honest administrators were ready and willing to suggest that at some point we'd have a problem on our hands. For years there were campaigns aimed at encouraging girls to apply. Now we'd reached the point where it was necessary, even obvious, to ask "where are the boys going?" None of the administrators were so stupid or shallow as to suggest we could never have an under-representation of men.

6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so. many. white. tears.

 

 

:(

 

 

I'm as intense an SJW as there is here, give or take artsydork and whereverjustice. (Where is ol' dork, anyway? I miss that fella. :( ) So absolutely: every institution in Canada is affected by racism, sexism, ableism, and clasissm, as I define those terms. And I'm all about calling that shit out. If I saw a single "white tear" on this thread, I'd eviscerate whomever was shedding it, and I'd get thirty Likes, even from people who disagreed with me.

 

So, okay. There are huge systemic barriers that make law school admission easier for the normative. It's easier for the able-bodied (both of the core criteria for admission, GPA and LSAT, are strongly affected by physical ability), easier for the native-English-speaking and white (both the LSAT and most academic programs rely heavily on quasi-colloquial English idioms and norms that you're going to grasp more readily if English is your first language), easier for men (I don't have stats on gender performance in undergrad and on the LSAT, but more on this later), and easier for rich people (two people of identical ability, one of them has "tutors" to write their papers for them through undergrad and focuses full-time on "studying for the LSAT", one of them has to work sixty hours a week and can't crack a book at any time in their undergrad, who's going to put up better stats?). More broadly speaking, life is easier for the able-bodied, white, male, and wealthy. I know there are those here who sneer at the concept of microaggressions, but fuck that---they're real, and they affect performance. Three people of equal ability and equal sensitivity apply for a job. The average person walks in, the boss looks at them like, "Okay, let's give this person a shot and treat them like a 7/10 human being." The guy who looks like a Matt Czuchry character (any Matt Czuchry character) walks in, the boss goes, "Wow! This person reminds me of my old frat buddies! I'd better bro out with them and kiss their ass and treat them like an 11/10 human being!" The woman with the accent and the facial deformity walks in, the boss goes, "Ugh, this person is yucky. I'd better treat them like a -1,000,000/10 human being." This happensconstantly, to everyone from every marginalized group, and if you don't see it, it's probably because you're too privileged to see it. And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Get shat on all the time, you're going to start to feel like shit, and it's going to reflect in your behaviour and your performance. Get treated like a god, you're going to perform like...an average schmoe, and have your mediocre performance received like the performance of a god. "No, but this isn't true, because look at Barack Obama!" Some people being unusually good at overcoming oppression doesn't mean that the oppression isn't there.

 

And, sorry, I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that all of this is exactly how the world works, and that if you disagree, you're too ignorant to be worth arguing with---not necessarily stupid (though probably stupid), but, at the very least, completely unaware of the lived experience of anyone different from you. If you're from an oppressed group, you're facing "you don't belong here" vibes from everybody, constantly, that people from the majority groups don't have to deal with. That means that life is significantly harder for oppressed people, and that if they can overcome all of these systemic barriers and perform reasonably well at a rigged game, they deserve a shot (though, really, it's just a shot to compete in another, even-more-rigged game). If you and Usain Bolt are about to run a race against each other, and three minutes before the race, someone shoots Usain Bolt in both kneecaps, and he still almost outruns you, there's a chance that he's a better runner than you, right? Systemic oppression exists, and its victims deserve accommodation.

 

But---and here's where I come back down to earth---what does this accommodation look like in real terms? A no-whites-allowed policy in law school for the next eighty years? An affirmative action policy with drastically lower standards? How do you quantify those standards? I'm totally comfortable saying that an able-bodied person who speaks English as their first language who marginally outperforms a dyslexic blind immigrant on the LSAT is actually, probably, dumber in practice than the person they outperformed. But what does that look like? Does that look like "B's 155 is better than A's 156"? I think most of us would agree to that, and that's why we have access categories. Does that look like "B's 120 is better than A's 180"? As asinine as that sounds, there are circumstances in which I think it's actually plausible (say, if A stared blankly at the test in horror, was too dumb to understand a word, and then guessed right on all the questions, and B knew the answers to all the questions but was physically incapable of filling in the bubbles)---but for fuck's sake, make an argument. Looking at stats and saying they're disadvantageous to B, without a sense of what would be fair to B, is a cheap cop-out.

 

I went to library school when Doug Ford was having his fight with Margaret Atwood. I made significant waves by, mostly, agreeing with Doug Ford in that fight, which was heresy. Doug Ford was saying, "There should be as many libraries as people use." Margaret Atwood was saying, "There should be, I don't know how many libraries, but libraries are good and nice, so definitely lots." The former is how you make public policy. The latter is drivel. And my classmates would say, "Don't you agree there should be lots of libraries because they are good and nice?" And I would say, "No. I agree we should promote library usage to the point where we need lots of libraries, and then there should be lots of libraries because there's a need for them." And they would say, "But there are 98 library branches in Toronto and Doug Ford wants to cut to the point where there's only 96! Or, gasp, 94! There shouldn't be fewer libraries! There should be more!" And I'd say, "Okay. How many more? Three million? If Toronto had 1.1 libraries, each the size of the Toronto Reference Library, for each resident, would that be enough? And assuming that that's what you want, if there were were three million and one TRL-sized libraries, would you be okay with shutting one down?" And they'd say I was being an asshole, and I was being an asshole. Advocating for social justice is awesome and necessary, and I'll bow to no one in the ferocity of my values. But figuring out how to actually make things right is a lot harder than writing four words and an emoticon about how, you know, "I have no earthly idea how things ought to be or what would lead to fair outcomes, but certainly they ought to be somehow amorphously 'better' than they are now."

 

Thanks to the unique niche I fill here, I know a fair number of lawyers with disabilities and from marginalized communities. It wouldn't surprise anyone to know that they find it harder, on the whole, to find jobs than normative lawyers do. So let's say we never let another able-bodied white man attend law school in Canada. What happens then? Those people who are "not racist" but just seem to believe, when confronted with an individual white man and an individual black woman, that the white man is more competent one hundred times out of one hundred...what do they do? Do they hire the black woman as their lawyer? Or do they hire someone who graduated from law school before 2020? Clearly, they do the latter. There's no institutional solution we could impose on law school admissions, no matter how radical, that's going to stop the kyriarchy from doing its thing. So what can we do that's constructive? I'm no more sure than anyone here, but fuck, as much as they're (slightly and significantly, respectively) to my right on this issue, Diplock and MB are out there trying to build a more equitable world. What does a four-word potshot at a strawman accomplish?

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, black Canadians account for 2.9% of the Canadian population and 4.3% of the population of Ontario (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Canadians for figures sourced from the 2011 National Household Survey). They account for 1% of the class at U of T. That is manifestly non-representative.

So, UofT is lacking diversity because one ethnic group in one year is "possibly" underrepresented relative to the population as a whole. Seriously? Particularly when you're talking about a small group, where you're talking about a difference between 2-3 students instead of 5-6. What is the variance from year to year? In 2016 1% of UofT's student body was from aboriginal origin (down from 3%, roughly proportionate to the Canadian population, in 2015). Is that a sign that UofT became more racist in 2016 than 2015, or is that just a random fluctuation in who applied, was admitted, and chose UofT?

 

And do you know that black students are underrepresented based on that survey? Are there any students among the "mixed race" set (7% ofthe student body) who might be considered black for the purposes of statscan? What about the non-respondents?

 

And, if you've really got a hard-on about UofT population looking like Canada, great, did we mention that 65% of UofTs student body is white in a country that is 80% white?

 

Seriously people. Diplock is right, there are certainly quibble about UofT, but a lack of racial/ethnic/gender/sexual orientation diversity is not one of them.

 

I come back to my question, if you think UofT should be "more diverse", just what do you think it SHOULD look like? Let's see your preferred racial profile of UofT. This is only a rhetoric question if the premise of the original complaint is assnine.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The difference is actually not marginal. I wasn't making up random numbers when I said there are at least 3x as many visible minorities at Osgoode from various backgrounds than at U of T law.

Can we can an acknowldgement, in light of the actual demographics of both schools, that you were, in fact, making random numbers up whn you said that there are at least 3x as many visibile minorities at Osgoode versus UofT, since the actual ratio is closer to 1.4 (50-35).

Edited by maximumbob
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so. many. white. tears.

 

 

 

:(

Deep. No really, it's thoughtful, fact based, comments like that which really raise the calibre of discussion here. I thank you, sir/maam, for showing me the error of my ways.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw no point in picking on Deadpool. But if 38% of the class at U of T identifies as visible minority, you'd need 114% of the class at Osgoode to do so in order to validate your 3x claim. Let's just agree that's unlikely, and move on.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, UofT is lacking diversity because one ethnic group in one year is "possibly" underrepresented relative to the population as a whole. Seriously? Particularly when you're talking about a small group, where you're talking about a difference between 2-3 students instead of 5-6. What is the variance from year to year? In 2016 1% of UofT's student body was from aboriginal origin (down from 3%, roughly proportionate to the Canadian population, in 2015). Is that a sign that UofT became more racist in 2016 than 2015, or is that just a random fluctuation in who applied, was admitted, and chose UofT?

 

And do you know that black students are underrepresented based on that survey? Are there any students among the "mixed race" set (7% ofthe student body) who might be considered black for the purposes of statscan? What about the non-respondents?

 

And, if you've really got a hard-on about UofT population looking like Canada, great, did we mention that 65% of UofTs student body is white in a country that is 80% white?

 

Seriously people. Diplock is right, there are certainly quibble about UofT, but a lack of racial/ethnic/gender/sexual orientation diversity is not one of them.

 

I come back to my question, if you think UofT should be "more diverse", just what do you think it SHOULD look like? Let's see your preferred racial profile of UofT. This is only a rhetoric question if the premise of the original complaint is assnine.

 

I don't really care about the debate in this thread, and I don't seek to dispute your point per se.

 

But I take issue with this kind of throw-away statistic. It is weak and misleading. Do you mean to suggest that this 80% is being handicapped in favour of non-whites? Do you mean to suggest that the proportion of applicants/race is consistent across all races? What do you make of the point that a significant chunk of that population may in fact have no interest in attending law school (e.g. farmers)? Have you even tried to digest that statistic before brandishing it like that?

 

 You can do better than this. You're one of the most critical members of this Forum, and I have no doubt that you are a successful jurist.

 

Incidentally--and this is a sincere question--you insinuate that Whites are actually under-represented in law school. This being a zero-sum game apparently, another group is necessarily being over-represented in law school cohorts. Which group might that be?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Esper - Bob can reply on his own behalf, I'm sure. But I gave you a lot of ground in my previous reply, and now you've just walking into a couple of statements that I'd like to hold you accountable for. And to be quite honest, I was waiting for them. From someone. I knew they'd come.

 

What do you make of the point that a significant chunk of that population may in fact have no interest in attending law school (e.g. farmers)?

 

How would you respond to anyone who said that if med schools are filled with predominantly men, it might be no problem at all because women don't want to become doctors? What if black kids don't want to become lawyers? Do I need to go on?

 

You've provided a bit of wiggle room by moving from race to economic class. This is one of those times when one statistic becomes another, for the reason I've described and which no one has disputed. Under-representation of rural students becomes under-representation of poor white students simply because there are a lot of visible minorities in cities and not a lot in the country. Everyone, apparently, can agree on at least that much. So what if I provided similar logic. It isn't that visible minorities aren't getting into law school. It's simply that children from poor families aren't getting in. To be far more explicit, Bakari, from your earlier example, isn't attending law school not because he's from a visible minority community, but because his father is a taxi driver, or a janitor, exactly as you described.

 

Sound ridiculous? Sure it does. But you just told me that Bob from Blind River Ontario might not be attending law school not because his family is poor, and rural, and certainly not related in any way to his race. It's just because his father is a farmer.

 

How in the hell do you justify this contrast in acceptable and unacceptable reasoning?

 

This being a zero-sum game apparently...

 

Even better, and even simpler, departure from acceptable reasoning. It IS a zero sum game. You throw in "apparently" like you doubt it. It IS zero sum.

 

Can anyone, ever, with even the hint of a straight face say "it isn't that women are under-represented, it's just that there's an unusual surplus of men." Yes, there are 100 seats in this program, and 80 of them are occupied by men, but it isn't a zero sum game at all. There are no missing women. There are just extra men. Do I even need to go on? I feel embarrassed calling you on this. It's like pointing out that someone's zipper is down in mixed company.

 

The very fact that intelligent people can pretend this isn't a zero sum game, when talking about majoritarian identity groups, is proof to me that logic goes straight out the window when we're having this discussion. Despite the fact that your mind is perfectly capable of seeing this basic truth, your emotional reaction to equity-seeking claims says it simply feels otherwise. But it's still true. When there are limited seats in law school to distribute, over-representation in one group is coming at the expense of someone else.

 

Note. You asked which groups are over-represented. I honestly don't know. I can't be bothered drilling down. I just know that someone must be. It's logically necessary. And I am intentionally denying you the moment when you get to say "how DARE you imply we have too many of X minority group! Racist!!" I know you probably wouldn't pounce on it in that way. But someone would.

 

As YB pointed out, it's not logically impossible to argue that after historical imbalances in the past some correction is required. It's not necessarily a problem (and note, at no point did I even say it was a problem) that we have more visible minorities in law school than anyone would expect, relative to the total population. But it IS a zero sum game. That correction, if it's occurring, is essentially just trying to balance the game as more of a running tally across a much longer time frame. But it's still zero sum.

 

I'm still amazed at the general tone of this discussion. I'm as amazed by you, Esper, as you are by Bob. This thread didn't start out by suggesting there was a problem with too few white kids in law school. It started out as a suggestion there were too few visible minorities which is the same thing as saying there are too many white kids. There's no one way that one doesn't equal the other, no matter how fast you try to dodge it. And at some point I got sick of the competition to argue that everyone is less diverse than they should be and more diversity is needed everywhere and I finally just pulled out the shocking truth. That relative to the Canadian population as a whole, there are far fewer white students than there should be! I'm not even saying that's a problem, necessarily. I'm just saying it's a fact.

 

The logic that you are deploying to try to avoid acknowledging this as even a potential problem is unworthy of any discussion about race, gender, identity, class, etc. It would be laughed out of the room in any other context. I have no idea of how or if you'll try to justify it. But no matter what move you make, in the end, it'll come down to the same thing. We just don't need to worry about historically majoritarian groups the way we worry about other people. And while that's true in some contexts (i.e. hyper-ventilation over men's rights) it really isn't true to the point that it undermines how math works.

Edited by Diplock
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where I'm most vehement here in agreeing with Bob and Diplock is this: you can't come in here saying, "The demographics of admitted law students are wrong," without any sense of what would be right. I'd love to see - and I'm not sure if the data exists - breakdowns of relatively competitive applicants by demographic, versus admissions by demographic. Let's say there's a floor of who could plausibly be admitted. If 90% of the people who exceed that floor are from visible minority groups, and yet visible minority groups comprise ~40% of the class, that's a problem. Ideally, I'd like to see law school classes that

1. reflect the "best" available candidates, with recognition that the existing metrics don't always give marginalized people a fair shake and that there should be some leeway;
2. come relatively close to reflecting the demographics of competitive applicants.

 

I'm not seeing anybody on this thread who a., thinks visible minorities are underrepresented relative to any benchmark in particular, and b., has any ideas in mind for coming closer to such a benchmark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Edit: this is a reply to Diplock's post (#37).

Edit #2: see 0).

 

That was certainly a lot of "gotcha!" rhetoric.

 

I can't tell if you deliberately confused my points, or if I'm just a poor writer.

 

On your first point. I don't remember advocating anywhere for more non-White representation, so I don't understand why you are putting so much effort in trying to fit that claim in my posts? I guess I'll try to address your comments point by point:

 

0) "How would you respond to anyone who said that if med schools are filled with predominantly men, it might be no problem at all because women don't want to become doctors? What if black kids don't want to become lawyers? Do I need to go on?"

I'm sure you know that this argument cuts both ways. You've touted many times your cultural competence. So you probably know that children of immigrants face disproportionately higher parental pressure to "make it count." Surely that must bear nontrivial incidence on the applicants/race distribution. So it's not really as stupid a point as you are trying to paint it.

 

1) "Under-representation of rural students becomes under-representation of poor white students simply because there are a lot of visible minorities in cities and not a lot in the country." This point packs so many assumptions. But I'm ready to concede it.

 

2) "It's simply that children from poor families aren't getting in. To be far more explicit, Bakari, from your earlier example, isn't attending law school not because he's from a visible minority community, but because his father is a taxi driver, or a janitor, exactly as you described."

Again, I don't remember saying the contrary. If anything, you are the one back-tracking because my example was intended to dispute your argument that Bakari has no right to complain because 1) he's not worse off than Casey in terms of all kinds of things (privilege, access to facilities etc.), and that 2) his admission to law school will happen at the cost of Casey's. I have made no statement as to the impact of poverty on law school admission.

 

On your second point. I see your Defence instincts of factual analysis and cross-examination, but I'll be clear right off the bat. I said "apparently" only because I couldn't affirm definitively that it was a zero-sum game. What if I said it definitively, then have another Diplock quote me to say that it isn't a zero-sum game because class size is in fact a variable, and not a constant? You spent three paragraphs ascribing to me all kinds of nasty intentions. And, FWIW, I did not appreciate it. Call me a crybaby, but I expected more from you.

 

1) "I am intentionally denying you the moment when you get to say "how DARE you imply we have to many of X minority group! Racist!"

Rest assured, this is precisely the kind of thing I never say.

 

2) [second to last paragraph].

a) As I say above, I don't care much about the debate, and I took no position.

b) Again, since the zero-sum math is so exact, then who is being over-represented? The math is not making sense, and unless you can indicate which group is being over-represented, saying that Whites are being handicapped is moot at best, and disingenuous at worst.

 

And thanks about the zipper. Silly me.

Edited by Esper
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Esper - Yeah, there was a lot of "gotcha" in there, and I'll concede it. I'll only say that you can take it. It's not like I'm beating up on a novice here, and while I'm not sure who "started it" you certainly didn't shy from it.

 

I'm going to try to cut through all the point / counter-point and riff off something that YB said. He was allying himself with me when he said it, but I'm potentially as vulnerable to his critique as anyone if I start sounding too sure of myself. These are heavily complicated topics. I alluded to that earlier. When we start implicitly comparing privilege to privilege, talking about where people belong, what they should want, what they deserve ... we can't help but pile assumption on assumption. Empirical study is almost impossible to imagine, and even where it exists it's wildly subject to interpretation.

 

Let's take just one, very basic example. And I'll anonymize it to avoid picking a side. Let's say there is some group, some representative sample from X gender or race or religion or economic class, and we can prove through studying them that they have less interest in attending professional school. Let's just say we can prove that's true. Does that become an argument to say "we're going to have an under-representation of that group in law school, and we're fine with it, because they just aren't interested" or does that become an argument to say "society is not providing opportunities to kids from X background, and we need an outreach program aimed at encouraging them to apply?" Note that I am NOT taking a side as a raise that question. Both answers have been floated, at times, by intelligent and intellectually honest people who are trying to do what's best. There's no way to know which answer is "right." They are ideological positions - not factual interpretations.

 

So, riffing off that, I'll return to my basic point. Talking about how things "should" look is fraught with assumptions and values and interpretations. Now that Esper is putting me in the position of replying to questions, I'm in the same position I deliberately put others. I have to concede, to various points, that I don't know. I don't know what's best. I don't know what the class "should" look like. I KNOW, or at least I believe, that when female students weren't aspiring to attend law school it was considered critically important to encourage them to do so. I'm less sure that it's important to do outreach to rural kids. But I'm not sure it's the wrong conclusion, either. I'm just not sure.

 

My basic point remains the same. Anyone who IS sure is an idiot. Or at least ignorant. And anyone who implies it is simple or obvious en route to justifying their certainty isn't worthy of being taken seriously. And I'm glad I pointed out the absurdity in the original post, even the OP hasn't been back to this in a while. We started from the premise that 62% white students was too many and everyone, EVERYONE, was willing to go along with that assumption and accepted it at face value until I called it into question. Why? Because we've accepted at face value that more "diversity" is always better than less, and diversity is primarily tracked through ethnic identity.

 

Anyway, I'm starting to repeat myself, which is a clue that I'm chewing this to death. But I'll close by saying there are no entirely objective bases, and relatively few uncontested bases, to definitively know who "deserves" a seat in law school. It's no more obvious that a rich white kid with all the advantages "deserves" a seat in law school than it is that a child of poor immigrants "deserves" the same seat. What is obvious is that they are competing for the same seat, all the time, and instead of knowing for certain who should get it what we have instead are contested claims about what makes sense, seems fair, is best for society, for the student, for equality, etc. And contested claims are fine. Let's just not fall into the delusion that everything is easy, or obvious, and that the people who disagree with us are necessarily fools. Unless of course they say it IS easy and obvious and truth is objective. Then they are fools.

 

P.S. @Esper - I don't really think we have a problem, but the reason I said that the make-up of a law school class is definitively, and unquestionably, a zero-sum game is because we're talking about proportions here. Expanding the class doesn't make it less zero sum. You can't have a class that's 50/50 male/female, double the size of the class, add only men such that it's now 75/25, and claim that men haven't "gained" at the expense of women. That's illogical and ridiculous. I honestly was giving you credit for seeing that can't happen, and therefore expanding the class can't be the answer which calls the zero sum quality of this competition into question.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now