amandakent

U of T student profile

70 posts in this topic

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.

 

 

My point is that certain minority groups can still be underrepresented, even if U of T is representative when looking at things from a white vs. visible minority lens (see p. 7 of this report for an examination of this phenomenon in the legal profession as whole: http://www.lsuc.on.ca/media/convapril10_ornstein.pdf). I would say that if for two years the number students reporting as black is considerably below their demographic numbers in Canada, that is a cause for concern. Of course, more data is needed to draw a fulsome conclusion, but I raise the point to suggest that even if a minority group is reported in the single figures and they account for a tiny portion for the Canadian population, there can still be underrepresentation of that group. I also never said U of T was racist.

Edited by EMP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we agree that there can be underrepresentation of one group, indeed we've noted the under-representation of two groups(at least relative to the population at large), namely blacks and whites. So what?

 

And if underrepresentation of one group is a cause for concern, which group should have their representation reduced? It's a zero-sum game.

 

To my mind achieving diversity =/= being representative of the population, it means (subject to maintaining academic standards) trying to accumulate a collection of students with diverse backgrounds and experiences of which racial/ethnic background is only one of many aspects. Both UofT and Osgoode do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

No, I don't suggest that "whites" are handicapped in admission to UofT, I simply note that they are underrepresented relative to the population at large. That is indisputable. As for which group is "overrepresented", at least relative to the popation as a whole, clearly it's "Asians" (which comes as no surprise to anyone).

 

Is that a problem? Well, you tell me, if you think law schools should be representative of the population as a whole, then yes. If you think that they should attract the best and brighest (with due regard to the challenges people from different backgrounds), no. I happen to subscribe to the latter worldview.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I don't suggest that "whites" are handicapped in admission to UofT, I simply note that they are underrepresented relative to the population at large. That is indisputable. As for which group is "overrepresented", at least relative to the popation as a whole, clearly it's "Asians" (which comes as no surprise to anyone).

 

Is that a problem? Well, you tell me, if you think law schools should be representative of the population as a whole, then yes. If you think that they should attract the best and brighest (with due regard to the challenges people from different backgrounds), no. I happen to subscribe to the latter worldview.

 

I am not sure about this. Why? Because I doubt the surplus of Asian law students is significant enough to account for the deficit of White law students (the 15% not making it into law school).

 

Besides, if you have statistics, I'd be happy to have a look. Until then, the closest "data" I have is in the link EMP referred us to (chart 5, p.7). It's not the best reference point because it looks at lawyers as opposed to law students. But if we were to extrapolate, it would not support your assertion.

 

Edit: and that's assuming that there even is a surplus of Asian law students. My cohort certainly does not have a surplus of Asians. I can count them on two hands.

Edited by Esper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure about this. Why? Because I doubt the surplus of Asian law students is significant enough to account for the deficit of White law students (the 15% not making it into law school).

 

Besides, if you have statistics, I'd be happy to have a look. Until then, the closest "data" I have is in the link EMP referred us to (chart 5, p.7). It's not the best reference point because it looks at lawyers as opposed to law students. But if we were to extrapolate, it would not support your assertion.

 

Edit: and that's assuming that there even is a surplus of Asian law students. My cohort certainly does not have a surplus of Asians. I can count them on two hands.

Sigh.

 

Esper, go back and read the original post.  "Asians" account for 21% of the UofT student body (that post links to the UofT class profile in support of that proposition).  In 2011 (the last year for which we have census data), 19% of Canadians identified themselves as "visible  minorities".  So, right there your have a modest overrepresentation, if "Asians" were the only visible minority group, which of course they aren't.  Of those 19%, ~5% were Black, Arab or Latin American, which the rest (14%) being "Asian" (in the sense that they identified as members of a group that originated somewhere on the continent of Asia).  

 

Aside:  I'm surprised you'd be surprised by this, "Asians" have been heavily over-represented at every elite university in North America for years (to the extent that places like Harvard and Berkeley - until it was sued - adopted reverse affirmative action to keep their numbers down on the grounds of promoting "diversity").  A large driver of the demise of affirmative action in the US has been that implementing it involves very real racial  discrimination against Asians who, quite reasonably, wanted none of it.)

Edited by maximumbob
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a non-white student, I love my stats professor who was recruited through the "diversity" program. Dude can't teach for shit but guess what, he bumped the % of minority professor in the sociology department by 33%.

 

Horray!!

Edited by lumberjack23
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure about this. Why? Because I doubt the surplus of Asian law students is significant enough to account for the deficit of White law students (the 15% not making it into law school).

 

Besides, if you have statistics, I'd be happy to have a look. Until then, the closest "data" I have is in the link EMP referred us to (chart 5, p.7). It's not the best reference point because it looks at lawyers as opposed to law students. But if we were to extrapolate, it would not support your assertion.

 

Edit: and that's assuming that there even is a surplus of Asian law students. My cohort certainly does not have a surplus of Asians. I can count them on two hands.

 

Aside, the one group that is most heavily over-represented at UofT is the "mixed race" group - a group that accounts for 7% of the student body, but less than 1% of the Canadian population (according to the 2011 census).  Two possibilities.  One, assholes are filing out the survey and checking off every box.  I wouldn't rule that out, though you'd think UofT might do some selective editing and leave out the African/Japanese/Irish/Innu/Jedi students from their list and code them as NAs.  Two, UofT genuinely is attracting lots of people from mixed ethnic backgrounds. 

Edited by maximumbob
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Edit: and that's assuming that there even is a surplus of Asian law students. My cohort certainly does not have a surplus of Asians. I can count them on two hands.

Do you live near a nuclear power plant?  How many fingers do you have? :)

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think concern about representation in law school is quaint given how the much of the real lawyer world seems to operate. It's being taken more seriously as professional associations get involved and studies are completed.

 

I am sometimes hopeful that we are moving in the right direction. Although, given recent anti-"PC" trends, I don't take much stock in demographics solving the problem. We've been "working" on sexism for decades and the things I still hear people put up with are pretty sad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think concern about representation in law school is quaint given how the much of the real lawyer world seems to operate. It's being taken more seriously as professional associations get involved and studies are completed.

 

I am sometimes hopeful that we are moving in the right direction. Although, given recent anti-"PC" trends, I don't take much stock in demographics solving the problem. We've been "working" on sexism for decades and the things I still hear people put up with are pretty sad.

It's obvious by the tensions raised in this thread that 'diversity' is a very controversial topic for many people. But despite all this, at least we can talk about it and have discussions about it and what it means. Because at the end of the day it's not like our discussions of it impact how the real world operates...at least not for now.

 

which brings me to my next point. when you say representation in law school is quaint given how much of the real lawyer world seems to operate, what does that mean? that in the real lawyer world diversity quotas arent necessary because its results that matter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's obvious by the tensions raised in this thread that 'diversity' is a very controversial topic for many people. But despite all this, at least we can talk about it and have discussions about it and what it means. Because at the end of the day it's not like our discussions of it impact how the real world operates...at least not for now.

 

which brings me to my next point. when you say representation in law school is quaint given how much of the real lawyer world seems to operate, what does that mean? that in the real lawyer world diversity quotas arent necessary because its results that matter?

 

It's obvious by the tension you import to every discussion related to this topic that "diversity" is a very controversial topic to you.

 

I'm not sure if you mean it as a pejorative that people are obviously worked up by this topic that you raised. But I think it would be more accurate to say that you started this topic by being worked up, yourself, and that people joined you there.

 

I'm not particularly interested in continuing this discussion, personally, because you strike me as someone who likes to stir the pot, occasionally, and stand back while everyone else dances. I'm not quite sure if that's the same thing as trolling, but it's a close cousin. I think the distinction rests of whether or not you sincerely believe in the views you've introduced (not trolling) or if you're saying whatever it is you're saying with the primary goal of just provoking a reaction (trolling). Either way, however, it does strike me that you are putting in very little effort to this conversation. You aren't contributing your own view so much as you are just introducing question after question. And quite frankly, I'd rather engage with people who are willing to uphold their end of the conversation.

 

I'll only end with this. I can't shake the feeling that you think you are somehow scoring a point by observing that the "tensions" raised here are establishing that this is a controversial subject. I'll agree that you dropped a grenade, walked away, and that people reacted accordingly. But I won't agree it reflects badly on anyone in the discussion, except perhaps yourself. Folks who appreciate this is a complex, difficult, divisive topic ... I'll engage with any of them. I may not agree, but I'll accept that they hold their opinions in good faith and after at least some amount of thought. You, however, come across like you've devoted about five minutes of attention to this subject, but you feel that anyone who reacts badly to your ignorance is somehow painted negatively only by reason of their reaction to you. And I call bullshit.

 

Honestly, you've deployed several techniques in this discussion that work very well when you're debating with people who can't point out what you're doing. You're offering the intellectual equivalent of four move checkmate. You know what? I'm not having it. So my pawn is in the way of your bishop now and I call bullshit. What else have you got?

 

If you want to engage honestly in this discussion you started, you could begin by engaging with the important questions that were raised in reply. If U of T has "only" 38% of their students identifying as visible minority, in a country with slightly more than 20% of its population identifying as such, how much would be enough for you? Answer the one damn question before you move on to your next one line grenade and try to walk away from it.

 

Check. Your move.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's obvious by the tension you import to every discussion related to this topic that "diversity" is a very controversial topic to you.

 

I'm not sure if you mean it as a pejorative that people are obviously worked up by this topic that you raised. But I think it would be more accurate to say that you started this topic by being worked up, yourself, and that people joined you there.

 

I'm not particularly interested in continuing this discussion, personally, because you strike me as someone who likes to stir the pot, occasionally, and stand back while everyone else dances. I'm not quite sure if that's the same thing as trolling, but it's a close cousin. I think the distinction rests of whether or not you sincerely believe in the views you've introduced (not trolling) or if you're saying whatever it is you're saying with the primary goal of just provoking a reaction (trolling). Either way, however, it does strike me that you are putting in very little effort to this conversation. You aren't contributing your own view so much as you are just introducing question after question. And quite frankly, I'd rather engage with people who are willing to uphold their end of the conversation.

 

I'll only end with this. I can't shake the feeling that you think you are somehow scoring a point by observing that the "tensions" raised here are establishing that this is a controversial subject. I'll agree that you dropped a grenade, walked away, and that people reacted accordingly. But I won't agree it reflects badly on anyone in the discussion, except perhaps yourself. Folks who appreciate this is a complex, difficult, divisive topic ... I'll engage with any of them. I may not agree, but I'll accept that they hold their opinions in good faith and after at least some amount of thought. You, however, come across like you've devoted about five minutes of attention to this subject, but you feel that anyone who reacts badly to your ignorance is somehow painted negatively only by reason of their reaction to you. And I call bullshit.

 

Honestly, you've deployed several techniques in this discussion that work very well when you're debating with people who can't point out what you're doing. You're offering the intellectual equivalent of four move checkmate. You know what? I'm not having it. So my pawn is in the way of your bishop now and I call bullshit. What else have you got?

 

If you want to engage honestly in this discussion you started, you could begin by engaging with the important questions that were raised in reply. If U of T has "only" 38% of their students identifying as visible minority, in a country with slightly more than 20% of its population identifying as such, how much would be enough for you? Answer the one damn question before you move on to your next one line grenade and try to walk away from it.

 

Check. Your move.

 

I don't believe that U of T or any school needs to accept a student body that is reflective of the population as a whole, that's a very ridiculous proposition. In fact, whether one considers themselves as visible minority is also up for debate. On the Student Profile page of U of T, the percentage of students identifying as middle eastern is questionable itself. If someone is from, let's say, Israel, and they were told to self-select whether they identify as middle eastern or white, their responses can vary. Similar with the self-selection of Asian. If someone is from, let's say, Iran, or Turkey, do they identify as Asian, middle-eastern, or white? Who gets to decide what someone identifies as? 

 

If students are self-selecting as white when, in fact, they may not be objectively 'white' in the anglo-saxon sense, does that mean that classifying as "white" is more of a social standing than anything else for those who are in the grey area? Irish people had historically not been considered white, but now they very much would be. What about Italians? 

 

My belief was that those who fall in the grey area would over represent the white category and instead reflect students who have a higher social standing, i.e. financially well-off, have both parents with post-secondary education. All that to say that perhaps, students with a higher social standing are more likely to have better ECs, LSAT scores (have money for classes and tests which are very pricey), and grades, because they could both socially and financially afford to. As in, they are aware of the resources they have at their disposal and as a result these are the students who are more likely to be accepted to U of T, have a higher chance at being placed at a well-paying firm, rinse and repeat. 

 

I don't know why people responded focusing only on the "where are you from" aspect of the link as if it was the word of god and wasn't subject to any reporter bias. But, alas, I can't control how people interpret information and react to it. 

 

In fact, I thought the breakdown of the undergraduate degrees was far more interesting as all it really did was solidify to me, that students with women's studies and art degrees alike were students who identified as white as a social standing and could afford the resources necessary to get into a very expensive law school. However, this is mere speculation and that is what the point of having a discussion is about. I was curious as to whether the data lends itself to a bigger picture of the student body. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The crux of the issue is that it's not just about economic status, just as it's not about racial status, just as it's not about sex status, or gender status, or any other sort of categorization you can find; it's also not not about any of those either. it's a very fine balance of intersectionality, that requires critical insight and statistical analysis to come to any sort of valid conclusion. So really, the crux of the issue is: it's a very very complex issue that requires a lot more research and thinking than any anonymous internet forum can provide, even one like this filled with so many intelligent and experienced people (and I find Diplock alluded to this many times in his posts).

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In fact, I thought the breakdown of the undergraduate degrees was far more interesting as all it really did was solidify to me, that students with women's studies and art degrees alike were students who identified as white as a social standing and could afford the resources necessary to get into a very expensive law school.

 

This bit seems a bit unclear to me. Care to elaborate? Seems like a bit of a jump to say that women's studies majors and art degree (also, what kind of art? Like fine arts or arts more broadly, including English, History, etc) students are white and therefore able to afford law school. I'm sure some white students have wealthy families who are independently wealthy and able to afford an expensive law school, but I'm not sure that at least SOME non-white students don't have similar resources. I don't have those kinds of resources, and I have two English degrees. None of my classmates had those resources either.

 

Another thing: why is there a distinction between white (anglo-saxon) and white (other)? That seems a bit pedantic. Self-reporting race is always tricky. Does anybody ever know for certain. Are we going to stick with blood quantum laws? If so, I'm indigenous. If not, I'd say I'm white. I would self-report as either white or white and indigenous if given the opportunity, but that's not going to assist me in anything because reporting as indigenous in most schools requires status or proof of involvement in the indigenous community.

 

Perhaps if you were to approach this from a perspective of "Why do minority students, mixed race students, etc (those who are 'passably white' but might better fit into a category of "it's complicated" when it comes to race) sometimes incorrectly report their race when self-reporting?" I know that my brother refused to self-report as indigenous in any college application because he was afraid that it would have some negative effect on him. My cousin, on the other hand, made sure to self-identify because he didn't see any possible downside to self-reporting. I have always preferred to find a way of saying "it's complicated."

 

I got a little off track, but some clarity to your post would be great. Otherwise it's just leaving confusion and a sour taste in my mouth.

 

And as an aside: one year's statistics do not make proper statistics, and even then, admission statistics must be viewed with some grain of salt. It's a partially subjective subject, admitting only approximately 200 students per year of the approximately 2000 who apply. 10% of the applicants are accepted and attend the school, not including those who reject offers, which makes for incredibly fuzzy statistics. UofT also caters to a different crowd, likely servicing more Ontario students than out of province students, some have to be international students, as well, which means there's a specific skew to UotT class demographic statistics which must be considered. No matter what you're considering (race, economics, undergrad degree, etc), you have to consider trends and multiple years of statistics over 1 or 2 years. Fewer white students from one year to another does not necessarily mean we need to address the issue. Yes, look at the issue, maybe determine if it is an "issue," but an immediate response to one year's variation is premature. Look at the past 5 or 10 years. Are trends going in a more representative direction? 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This bit seems a bit unclear to me. Care to elaborate? Seems like a bit of a jump to say that women's studies majors and art degree (also, what kind of art? Like fine arts or arts more broadly, including English, History, etc) students are white and therefore able to afford law school. I'm sure some white students have wealthy families who are independently wealthy and able to afford an expensive law school, but I'm not sure that at least SOME non-white students don't have similar resources. I don't have those kinds of resources, and I have two English degrees. None of my classmates had those resources either.

 

Another thing: why is there a distinction between white (anglo-saxon) and white (other)? That seems a bit pedantic. Self-reporting race is always tricky. Does anybody ever know for certain. Are we going to stick with blood quantum laws? If so, I'm indigenous. If not, I'd say I'm white. I would self-report as either white or white and indigenous if given the opportunity, but that's not going to assist me in anything because reporting as indigenous in most schools requires status or proof of involvement in the indigenous community.

 

Perhaps if you were to approach this from a perspective of "Why do minority students, mixed race students, etc (those who are 'passably white' but might better fit into a category of "it's complicated" when it comes to race) sometimes incorrectly report their race when self-reporting?" I know that my brother refused to self-report as indigenous in any college application because he was afraid that it would have some negative effect on him. My cousin, on the other hand, made sure to self-identify because he didn't see any possible downside to self-reporting. I have always preferred to find a way of saying "it's complicated."

 

I got a little off track, but some clarity to your post would be great. Otherwise it's just leaving confusion and a sour taste in my mouth.

 

And as an aside: one year's statistics do not make proper statistics, and even then, admission statistics must be viewed with some grain of salt. It's a partially subjective subject, admitting only approximately 200 students per year of the approximately 2000 who apply. 10% of the applicants are accepted and attend the school, not including those who reject offers, which makes for incredibly fuzzy statistics. UofT also caters to a different crowd, likely servicing more Ontario students than out of province students, some have to be international students, as well, which means there's a specific skew to UotT class demographic statistics which must be considered. No matter what you're considering (race, economics, undergrad degree, etc), you have to consider trends and multiple years of statistics over 1 or 2 years. Fewer white students from one year to another does not necessarily mean we need to address the issue. Yes, look at the issue, maybe determine if it is an "issue," but an immediate response to one year's variation is premature. Look at the past 5 or 10 years. Are trends going in a more representative direction? 

 

i never said or alluded that there is a white problem at U of T that so many on this thread keep trying to make happen. i never said it was an issue. never said it was something that needed to be rectified. never suggested that there needs to be more visible minorities. do not try to pin that on me. in fact, the use of the term diversity did not single out skin colour, race, or ethnicity. it could be diversity of undergraduate program. diversity of languages spoken. diversity of places born. diversity of accessibility. diversity of household upbringing. click the link and observe for yourself. i only highlighted any major increases or decreases of the person profiles as points of consideration. i don't appreciate being zeroed in for one aspect that i never flat out said, and i absolutely do not appreciate having others project their interpretation of my intentions against me. 

 

let's not act shocked that many of the women's studies degrees and social science degrees that are conferred are done so mainly by students who self-identify as white. I, myself included. STEM degrees and even to some extent business/economic degrees tend (emphasis on "tend") to be pursued by students who are not white or come from immigrant (either as first or second generation) backgrounds. Of course there are exceptions, but broadly speaking, families of non-white students encourage their children to pursue these types of degrees. 

 

And since we are on the topic, there does tend to be a distinction between anglo-saxon white and "other" white. In my experiences, some Italians consider themselves as people of colour, and even friends of mine who are Russian/Polish consider themselves Slavs and not white. So yes, there can be a distinction between the two, which is why I speculated that perhaps the term "white" refers to a social standing. Again, I'd like to highlight that I never said that students incorrectly self-identify. I myself acknowledge (and am arguing for the position) that the criteria itself is complicated since white can be understood as a geographic place of origin, skin colour, social standing, and/or even cultural practices. I think your cousins', brother's, and your own experiences are an example of this and how you interpret your identity in relation to society. Another instance can be a student from Israel, whose parents speak Hebrew but they do themselves do not (true story). Geographically, they can be considered middle eastern. However, culturally, because English is their first language, they may perceive themselves to be white instead. All this to say that maybe "white" is used as a catch-all term for living a Westernized lifestyle, which itself is a social standing, for students that can be categorized as european (excluding anglo-saxons), middle eastern, and asian. In fact, maybe it would be better if student profiles were not reduced to such ambiguous terms like white, asian, and middle eastern, since these terms encompass countries that overlap and rely on the student to make interpretations that skew the results. Maybe the it wouldn't be better. Maybe someone of Iranian descent at U of T falls into the white category because of their perceived social standing and upbringing vs someone of Iranian descent at Oz. 

 

The next point I want to address is your understanding and interpretation of the word "afford" and "resources" and your false equivalence of those terms to be synonymous with "money." Yes, I alluded that white students (white as in social standing) likely come from backgrounds that have the financial means to financially afford classes for LSATs, maybe even private tutors, etc.  But what you didn't pay attention to was the mention of SOCIAL wealth (or social capital). Having parents who are aware of the pathways to law school, having parents who know that LSAT courses even exist in the first place, having parents that enrolled their children in music class or soccer, or hockey. Parents who know someone who knows someone that can get you hired at a government office or at a small firm, or an internship. Parents who even know what internships are in the first place. Of course not all white students have these advantages, I'm not a dumb-dumb. I myself do not have all these advantages. I am aware that non-white students can come from backgrounds where they do have these advantages financially and socially. My point was never that the colour of one's skin is proportional to their financial wealth and therefore U of T was more likely to accept them. If anything, perhaps (again, a generalization and not a definite) students who come from families of high capital are more likely to set their sights on U of T. Will they be better lawyers? Maybe. Will they be more likely to have greater opportunities? Maybe. 

 

Nothing I said or intended was about race or ethnicity. I can't control how people understand the word diversity and marginalized to mean. They clearly mean different things to me than they do to those who have tried to attack me on this thread based on the reactions. Maybe it's an age difference thing. I would have hoped that people would actually click on the link and observed the data for themselves but of course it's much easier to assume that once the words diversity and white are uttered that it's an automatic cry for sexism and racism. 

 

I also don't know why you have a sour taste in your mouth when you interpreted my posts based on your own biases and narrow thinking. Sometimes when you're trying to find something to be offended by, you'll create your own narrative and understanding to fulfill that prophecy. Maybe a third English degree is necessary? 

 

Whatever I have extrapolated regarding U of T's student profile favouring students of high social status can be inferred from the link and the data within it. I wish is that the high schools of their students were provided publicly (university transcripts indicate the high school that each applicant graduated from) in order to get a bigger picture of the role of social capital in the admissions process. I also hope that other schools provide student profile data so that law schools can be compared on the type of student body that is likely to to fill its seats.

 

As my brother-in-law, a U of T law alumni, more than once jokingly said: "How else would alumni donations be made if we didn't choose the kinds of people who will be making them?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Amanda - When you boil down what you just wrote, to the essentials, it basically amounts to two things.

 

One, the descriptions that we apply to people are so muddy and subject to interpretation that we barely ever know what the hell we are talking about in the first instances, much less agree with one another enough to have a conversation in which we are all using these terms the same way. I actually kind of agree with that, except that when you buy into it entirely it ends in total nihilism in relation to social issues. I alluded to this problem already. While it IS immensely complex to talk about privilege in its various forms, if we throw up our hands and say "what the hell - it makes no sense anyway, so let's leave it alone" that just permits privilege (which does exist) to go entirely unexamined and uncorrected, even when it becomes grossly problematic. So sure, you've raised a real issue. But whereas other people are at least making an honest attempt to grapple with this subject, you are now the one who is just giving up. You've complicated it a lot. Your points aren't invalid. But now take a God damn position, why don't you? It's fine to say "privilege sucks!" But when you eschew all labels and terms and descriptions by just complicating the topic until no one knows what the hell we're talking about anymore, how are we supposed to actually do anything on that point?

 

Two, you don't like it when people accuse you of saying awkward, ignorant, arguably racist and exclusionary things. It's not surprising that you dislike being portrayed in that way. Just about no one likes being called racist - up to and including people who really are flagrantly racist. I'm not saying that's you. I'm just saying the reaction against such labels is visceral and immediate.

 

You're such a typical example of your background that I really can't fault you for your attitudes. Programs of study that take on privilege, identity, race, gender, etc. and train students to believe that the language they deploy, and only that language, is appropriately respectful ... those programs breed such contempt and intellectual complacency. And they invite exactly your approach. Talk in huge abstractions. Deny any engagement with the real world. God forbid we actually try to design anything, make a decision, stake out a position. It's so much easier just to complain about what everyone else does, how everyone else talks, what everyone else thinks.

 

Here's the bottom fucking line. We are dealing with a topic that hurts. It's intensely personal. It creates offence. It will always provoke strong reactions. Read any topic on this site about who deserves more and less consideration in their applications to law school. Consider any debate about how much of any person's advantages are earned and unearned. It's all painful and bloody and divisive. And everyone who dares talk about it in real terms is going to be vulnerable to being called racist, elitist, ignorant, sexist, majoritarian, or God forbid, simply white and privileged.

 

You really have two choices. You can stand on the sidelines with your arms folded and your brow furrowed and talk about how it's all very complicated and everyone else is offending you. Or you can stake out a fucking position and at least potentially be part of the solution to something.

 

Fine. You posted a bunch of shit about U of T and about the students who go there. Let's agree that everyone who ever responded to this point in time hasn't understood you properly. What the fuck point were you trying to make? And what exactly would you like to change?

Edited by Diplock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also don't know why you have a sour taste in your mouth when you interpreted my posts based on your own biases and narrow thinking. Sometimes when you're trying to find something to be offended by, you'll create your own narrative and understanding to fulfill that prophecy. Maybe a third English degree is necessary? 

 

Perhaps you are too invested in this. I prefaced my entire post by saying that I wished for some clarification. You come back at me essentially suggesting that I need to return to school in order to understand what you mean (and by the way, my mention of my English degrees was meant as an anecdote suggesting that your assumptions about arts degrees and those who acquire them are perhaps incorrect). Two issues with this: one, I'm trying to give your post the benefit of the doubt and I am not attacking you. I presumed to misunderstand the repercussions of your lines (which you did write, by the way. I referenced your post specifically, whether you intended for the meanings or not). Two, if your post is so hard to understand that someone would require multiple degrees to understand, you're not writing at a level which is accessible. Maybe you think of yourself as someone writing at the same level as some of the more renowned philosophical thinkers of our time, but you are no Foucault. You are no Milton. When someone asks for clarification about your post, consider that maybe you didn't write in a way which is easily accessible, and as such, you have failed to get your point across. It does not immediately make sense to suggest that "white" is equated with social standing to the extent that someone who is not white may identify as white ("white can be understood as a geographic place of origin, skin colour, social standing, and/or even cultural practices" if you need it to be quoted and bolded). Also, please clarify this so that the next logical yet racist interpretation of your saying is not: I'm socially disenfranchised and am therefore black despite not being black (please in case anyone is exceptionally lazy, do not think that I believe this, I'm merely making a point here). I gave you a chance to clarify what you're saying. You have not done so. If this was one of the papers from a student of mine, I would send it back with a low grade or send it back with the words "revise for clarity" bolded across the front page. I'm not requiring you to have a post that's the quality of a university paper, of course, but if you want to make bold statements, be prepared for someone to push back and maybe make sure that you're able to clarify what you mean. 

 

I'm going to largely ignore the rest of your post until you properly read mine (and hopefully avoid being too catty). Never did I suggest that you thought there was a "white problem" at UofT. I said that your equating arts degrees with white students is problematic, foolish and maybe even flat out incorrect. Across North America, English degrees (perhaps others) are slowly putting more and more emphasis on cultural studies and particularly cultural studies as taught by individuals belonging to those cultures. Cultural specificity is becoming the norm and pursuing higher level English degrees often (annoyingly to some, including myself) heavily encourages indigenous students to study indigenous literature, Chinese students to study Chinese or Chinese-American/Canadian students, Indian students to study literatures of the Indian diaspora. It's all endlessly fascinating, but it promotes minorities to enter into arts programs such as the English program. My cohort in my last degree was approximately 3/4ths women and 60% non-white students. My time in criminology courses was surrounded by an almost equal mix of Indian students and white students, but from your suggestion it's primarily a white man's game because their parents would likely be pressuring them into business and STEM.

 

Now, please either respond with a clearer argument and potentially a definition of terms (so that we can all understand that when you say "white" you mean "individuals from families with enough social capital to significantly advance their position as they head into law school"). That would make your post a hell of a lot easier to read and understand. Maybe then more people would agree with you. It's not because we're "trying to find something to be offended by" (and if you want me to go all pedantic English nerd on you, I can do so here, but I'll refrain). We're creating our own understanding of words because 1) that's how language works and 2) we can't find the meaning you claim to have in the words you've written. 

 

I'm sure you'll think that I came across as a dick here. I'm not sure that I care. Apologies in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does not immediately make sense to suggest that "white" is equated with social standing to the extent that someone who is not white may identify as white ...

 

Yeah I had trouble with this assertion, too. I don't think one can demonstrate that it actually has had this application in reality. We're all familiar with the stereotypes of "white people", and some of those stereotypes may come with attached assumptions about social standing, but outside of those instances, I do not believe you'd ever be able to give an example where someone (seriously) identified themselves as "white" for the reasons of social standing alone. It's still a racial classification that is applied largely on the basis of skin colour / ethnicity and not on any other standard (that I am aware of).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're such a typical example of your background that I really can't fault you for your attitudes. Programs of study that take on privilege, identity, race, gender, etc. and train students to believe that the language they deploy, and only that language, is appropriately respectful ... those programs breed such contempt and intellectual complacency.

 

I said I would leave Amanda alone, and after this post, I will...but it's worth noting that I am this person, and this is completely mutually exclusive with asking, "Is PC culture going too far?", as Amanda did in another thread. People like me and the person Amanda is on this thread, we don't talk about "PC culture" (what you might call "PC culture", I might call "not being a terrible person") or think it could possibly go too far. It's simply impossible to be a left-wing SJW extremist caricature and a right-wing reactionary extremist caricature at the same time, though it is possible to stir pots by pretending to be both of those things.

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

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.