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grapefruit18

programs with a focus on anti-oppressive politics

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Hi, grapefruit18!

Because several of our resident right-wingers have weighed in, I just wanted to poke my head in and say that I share your values. That said, for two reasons, you're unlikely to find a law school program completely geared toward those values, for two reasons:

1. As you know, people consciously committed to anti-oppression are still a vanishingly small minority. A law school with a strong focus on anti-oppression would be, in some ways, like a law school that catered primarily to people whose eyes were two different colours. Law schools are, like mainstream political parties, "big tents" - Windsor is the school most noted for "social justice", but they're also looking to recruit the best class they can, meaning that they can't completely alienate people who don't share a certain political mindset. (And once you get into talking about anti-oppression, you're alienating the right, the centre, and a huge chunk of the left, too.)

2. This is going to piss some people off, but so be it: law schools (and the legal system, and the educational system) serve to uphold and further the existing social order. You want to go to a law school that's going to teach you to smash the patriarchy? Law school is the patriarchy. 

The solution isn't to go to a law school that will approach the law through the critical lens you prefer. It's to bring your critical lens wherever you go. You want a progressive experience in law school? Make one. A law school is just a bunch of buildings; its culture is set by its people. Go to a law school. Be who you are. You'll ruffle some feathers, but you'll teach some of your classmates some things, too. Find people who share your values. Take courses that will give you the practical skills to promote those values in the real world, in real ways, that really help marginalized people. But, God, don't expect any of it to be easy.

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Hi, grapefruit18!

 

Because several of our resident right-wingers have weighed in, I just wanted to poke my head in and say that I share your values. That said, for two reasons, you're unlikely to find a law school program completely geared toward those values, for two reasons:

 

1. As you know, people consciously committed to anti-oppression are still a vanishingly small minority. A law school with a strong focus on anti-oppression would be, in some ways, like a law school that catered primarily to people whose eyes were two different colours. Law schools are, like mainstream political parties, "big tents" - Windsor is the school most noted for "social justice", but they're also looking to recruit the best class they can, meaning that they can't completely alienate people who don't share a certain political mindset. (And once you get into talking about anti-oppression, you're alienating the right, the centre, and a huge chunk of the left, too.)

 

2. This is going to piss some people off, but so be it: law schools (and the legal system, and the educational system) serve to uphold and further the existing social order. You want to go to a law school that's going to teach you to smash the patriarchy? Law school is the patriarchy. 

 

The solution isn't to go to a law school that will approach the law through the critical lens you prefer. It's to bring your critical lens wherever you go. You want a progressive experience in law school? Make one. A law school is just a bunch of buildings; its culture is set by its people. Go to a law school. Be who you are. You'll ruffle some feathers, but you'll teach some of your classmates some things, too. Find people who share your values. Take courses that will give you the practical skills to promote those values in the real world, in real ways, that really help marginalized people. But, God, don't expect any of it to be easy.

 

Yes, I 100% agree with this and it fully describes me and what law school was like for me.

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Hi, grapefruit18!

 

Because several of our resident right-wingers have weighed in, I just wanted to poke my head in and say that I share your values. That said, for two reasons, you're unlikely to find a law school program completely geared toward those values, for two reasons:

 

1. As you know, people consciously committed to anti-oppression are still a vanishingly small minority. A law school with a strong focus on anti-oppression would be, in some ways, like a law school that catered primarily to people whose eyes were two different colours. Law schools are, like mainstream political parties, "big tents" - Windsor is the school most noted for "social justice", but they're also looking to recruit the best class they can, meaning that they can't completely alienate people who don't share a certain political mindset. (And once you get into talking about anti-oppression, you're alienating the right, the centre, and a huge chunk of the left, too.)

 

2. This is going to piss some people off, but so be it: law schools (and the legal system, and the educational system) serve to uphold and further the existing social order. You want to go to a law school that's going to teach you to smash the patriarchy? Law school is the patriarchy. 

 

The solution isn't to go to a law school that will approach the law through the critical lens you prefer. It's to bring your critical lens wherever you go. You want a progressive experience in law school? Make one. A law school is just a bunch of buildings; its culture is set by its people. Go to a law school. Be who you are. You'll ruffle some feathers, but you'll teach some of your classmates some things, too. Find people who share your values. Take courses that will give you the practical skills to promote those values in the real world, in real ways, that really help marginalized people. But, God, don't expect any of it to be easy.

Hi Yogurt Baron!

 

Thanks for your words of advice, and thanks for weighing in.

 

I'll clear a few things up...I think within any inaccessible academic system these kinds of hegemonies of power are reborn, but in some less so than in others depending on the students, classes offered, etc. I definitely intend to bring the lens I have wherever I go, partially because it's just a part of my consciousness at this point. And of course, wherever I go and whatever I do, because of this lens I'll be working to "take down the man" or whatever, even if it means shaking a few hands along the way haha.

 

Secondly, I certainly don't expect to find a law school geared entirely toward anti-oppressive politics, but I'm curious if there's anywhere in particular I should avoid, and anywhere in particular where profs/students are particularly passionate and interested in these issues. If anyone has info on the "Social Justice" focus at UO Law, please reach out! 

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There appears to be a minor incursion of bleeding-heart Fraggles. Can we deport them or something? 

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I'll clear a few things up...I think within any inaccessible academic system these kinds of hegemonies of power are reborn

 

I've got to ask, what leads you to think law schools are currently an inaccessible academic system? 

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I've got to ask, what leads you to think law schools are currently an inaccessible academic system?

I am predicting the answer will have to do with the old 'equality of opportunity' vs 'equality of outcome' debate.

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I've got to ask, what leads you to think law schools are currently an inaccessible academic system? 

 

Briefly (because I foresee them giving an explanation and then twenty people piling on and then things getting rancorous and then me not wanting to come back): they're defining the term "inaccessible" differently from how someone not on the relatively-radical left would. And that's exactly the crux of the issue here. You're not going to find a law school---or any major institution, really---that just casually incorporates relatively-fringe political views into its curriculum. (And, again, I say this with love. I agree with the OP's views 100%. But just because I'm out on the political fringes too doesn't mean that I don't recognize that they're still the fringes, for now.)

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I've got to ask, what leads you to think law schools are currently an inaccessible academic system? 

 

$$$ My friend!

 

The fact that one might not be able to attend law school, simply because they can't afford it. 

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... I am not the OP but the six figure price tag is a start.

 

Hegdis, did you ever see that "How I Met Your Mother" where Barney and Ted try to adopt a baby together, and it briefly appears that they have done so and named it "Hurricane", but it turns out Barney has just kidnapped his niece and nicknamed her "Hurricane"? I don't have any nieces we can kidnap, but I think it is important that we adopt a baby together. I understand that geography is going to be an issue, but we can just leave the baby halfway between us (Saskatoon or so?) and take turns visiting it.

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$$$ My friend!

 

The fact that one might not be able to attend law school, simply because they can't afford it. 

I had misunderstood and thought you were talking about issues of identity politics, which are also a thing that renders law school inaccessible to a lot of people.

 

But, see, Hegdis is a great example. He's one of several lawyers here who (please correct me if I'm misrepresenting your position here, Hegdis) doesn't necessarily go around spouting anti-oppressive dogma, but whose values generally bend in a leftward direction. You won't find that many people who default to the same vocabulary as you do, but you'll find allies.

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I had misunderstood and thought you were talking about issues of identity politics, which are also a thing that renders law school inaccessible to a lot of people.

 

But, see, Hegdis is a great example. He's one of several lawyers here who (please correct me if I'm misrepresenting your position here, Hegdis) doesn't necessarily go around spouting anti-oppressive dogma, but whose values generally bend in a leftward direction. You won't find that many people who default to the same vocabulary as you do, but you'll find allies.

I was sort of referring to both, economics + identity politics go hand in hand, I just didn't want to push myself into that hurricane by plunging into a discussion on social location and positionality etc etc lmao. well, thank goodness for the allies!

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Thank you for leaving my and Hegdis's baby alone.

Am I the baby?? Because this whole post has been a shit storm Hurricane that I never meant to create. Thank you to Yogurt Baron and Hegdis for taking me under your wing nonetheless. Have a good night, and thanks again to all those who helped me!  

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... I am not the OP but the six figure price tag is a start.

 

I can't think of a single law school in the country where the total tuition/fees amount over the three years hits six figures for someone that isn't from a very rich family. Regardless, there are options that help students pay the high-cost tuition, so I don't think that makes it inaccessible. 

 

 

Briefly (because I foresee them giving an explanation and then twenty people piling on and then things getting rancorous and then me not wanting to come back): they're defining the term "inaccessible" differently from how someone not on the relatively-radical left would. And that's exactly the crux of the issue here. You're not going to find a law school---or any major institution, really---that just casually incorporates relatively-fringe political views into its curriculum. (And, again, I say this with love. I agree with the OP's views 100%. But just because I'm out on the political fringes too doesn't mean that I don't recognize that they're still the fringes, for now.)

 

That's not the reason they've provided, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. Are you suggesting that they're using "inaccessible" to mean "not incorporating fringe political views into the curriculum?"

 

$$$ My friend!

 

The fact that one might not be able to attend law school, simply because they can't afford it. 

 

See above. Many people that can't afford law school attend law school every year. In fact, I would wager that most people who attend law school can't afford it. If that's true, or even close to true, then law school is clearly accessible. This argument is not compelling. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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I can't think of a single law school in the country where the total tuition/fees amount over the three years hits six figures for someone that isn't from a very rich family. Regardless, there are options that help students pay the high-cost tuition, so I don't think that makes it inaccessible. 

 

 

 

That's not the reason they've provided, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. Are you suggesting that they're using "inaccessible" to mean "not incorporating fringe political views into the curriculum?"

 

 

See above. Many people that can't afford law school attend law school every year. In fact, I would wager that most people who attend law school can't afford it. If that's true, or even close to true, then law school is clearly accessible. This argument is not compelling. 

Just because people who can't afford law school attend law school does not mean its accessible lol. If a person with a broken leg climbs up a flight of stairs, it doesn't suddenly make the building accessible. An elevator might though. People should not have to live on the fringes of poverty because of their academic pursuits. This also does not account for all the folks who will never be able to attend because of finances. 

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Just because people who can't afford law school attend law school does not mean its accessible lol. If a person with a broken leg climbs up a flight of stairs, it doesn't suddenly make the building accessible. An elevator might though. People should not have to live on the fringes of poverty because of their academic pursuits. This also does not account for all the folks who will never be able to attend because of finances. 

 

I've got to disagree - If most or many of the people attending law school are doing through so financial aid and loans then it clearly is not "inaccessible". We aren't talking about the one person with a broken leg that climbed the stairs, we're talking about the many or the majority of people that take the stairs every day, even though it's a bit of work. It may not be "easy", but it's certainly not "inaccessible". 

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That's not the reason they've provided, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. Are you suggesting that they're using "inaccessible" to mean "not incorporating fringe political views into the curriculum?"

 

No.

 

I'm using "inaccessible" to mean that it's easier to get into law school if you're rich, white, straight, male, cisgendered, able-bodied, and English-speaking than if you deviate from that norm (I gather from your other posts that we disagree), but I'm also stipulating that this belief is still a relatively fringe political view which many people don't share.

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I've got to disagree - If most or many of the people attending law school are doing through so financial aid and loans then it clearly is not "inaccessible". We aren't talking about the one person with a broken leg that climbed the stairs, we're talking about the many or the majority of people that take the stairs every day, even though it's a bit of work. It may not be "easy", but it's certainly not "inaccessible". 

A middle-class white kid and a black woman with schizophrenia both walk into a bank seeking a $50,000 line of credit. Which one is likelier to receive it?

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I've got to disagree - If most or many of the people attending law school are doing through so financial aid and loans then it clearly is not "inaccessible". We aren't talking about the one person with a broken leg that climbed the stairs, we're talking about the many or the majority of people that take the stairs every day, even though it's a bit of work. It may not be "easy", but it's certainly not "inaccessible". 

The problem is, there's no visibility for the people who just aren't able to go, for whom it's out of the question. There's no way to say "the majority of people that take the stairs everyday, even though its a bit of work" when you have no idea how many people may never even set foot on, the stairs, for sake of analogy, because they know they won't be able to climb up. Who will never be able to get that line of credit, to return to what Yogurt Baron's said above. You don't know who has never had the resources available to them. Inaccessibility is so much broader than just financial. 

Edited by grapefruit18
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