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grapefruit18

programs with a focus on anti-oppressive politics

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Yeah, there's the trouble. I don't really see anything we're talking about as "debatable". Systemic racism is real. In Canada, "higher education" (among many other systems) is not financially accessible for many people. Oppression is a real and important issue, and there are ways to help alleviate it through working in law. 

 

I am honestly not trying to be disagreeable, I just don't see where the argument is unless someone is truly ill-informed. It seems like people are just digging for an argument where there isn't one and meanwhile asserting the importance of "seeing other perspectives"—I see you, I hear you, these are the same narratives steeped throughout any neoliberal society. 

You're obviously ill-informed if you believe that there's only one side to this debate. If you can point to a tangible instance of racism/sexism in our institutions we can fight it. By simply saying "there's institutional racism", you're not doing anyone any favours. 

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Might be insensitive but I found it sort of funny how much your example had to change to suit your argument. Not in a bad way but just a funny way, imagining how this situation would look. Like the homeless, self-harming, schizophrenic woman somehow studied for the lsat, wrote the lsat, did up a competitive application package and was accepted and then walked into a bank to get a PSLOC.

 

My example didn't change a whit. My hypothetical woman was always homeless, self-harming, schizophrenic, and generally didn't look like the typical rich, privileged white person who gets into law school despite being so cognitively limited that they have to "study for the LSAT". And of course she didn't "write the LSAT" and "do up a competitive application package" (or attend university, for that matter). These are things you can only do if you're incredibly privileged. 

 

So, okay. Rich white man who has been able to jump through the hoops ("study for the LSAT" because he's too dumb to read a simple passage and answer some simple questions about it without months and months of preparation; pay hundreds of dollars to write the LSAT; pay tens of thousands of dollars to get a BA; always attend class and complete assignments because his health allowed him to) vs. a person who has been unable to do any of those things due to illness. That's what my example always was, and it's reflective of your privilege that you made the hilarious assumption that the black woman would have prepared a competitive application. Which of these people gets into law school? Obviously the one who jumped through the hoops. And I'm not even saying that's inherently terrible. There do have to be hoops. But there's no arguing that many people cannot access higher education due to personal circumstances, and that law school is thus inaccessible to them. The fact that you seem to not even be able to imagine those people---the fact that I say, "imagine a black woman with schizophrenia" and you imagine that she has a BA and an LSAT score in hand---is just a failure on your part to comprehend anything outside your own privilege.

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See bail court.

 

Zing!!

 

I'm appreciating this because almost no one else will. I predict "likes" from providence, and MP. Not sure who else.  =)

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I've never heard of someone that doesn't have a history of being awful with money having to provide collateral or get someone to co-sign a PSLOC.

Fine. Well, now you have.

 

What is BQ assuming? Banks are a business. These things are set in stone. They see law students as an investment for the most part. They even take into account the fact that most law school students are going to need financing despite having undergrad debt. They cater to this.

 

Nobody is born with poor credit. That is something that happens with choices. And something that can be fixed with other choices. Some situations are tougher than others but the banks aren't turning away investment opportunities because they don't like the identity (whatever that may be) of the individuals applying. They are making calculations and use your past behaviour as a predictor of your future behaviour. I take it you think the system is unfair somehow but I don't see eye to eye with you on that.I

 

- But might it not be possible for someone applying for a PSLOC to have no credit history? That's not exactly "a history of being awful with money". I have at least a vague understanding of credit and risk; to paraphrase Kellie Leitch: I have 758 letters after my name, I'm not an idiot (Just a former Tory cabinet minister and MD running on an anti-elitism platform).

 

I'm not saying it's unfair - I'm saying that people being asked to provide co-signers for PSLsOC might not be as rare as BQ seems to think.

Edited by kcraigsejong

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You responded that "Perhaps you should look for a program that will challenge you and give you the best possible education, rather than looking for a program just because it conforms to your existing beliefs?" 

 

I appreciate your recommendation, but I think what you're suggesting exists everywhere, its not hard to come by people that are conservative, neo-liberal, who don't believe that Indigenous rights, the environment, and so on, matter. No matter where I go, I will be challenged by these people. And at the end of the day, no doubt I will pick the school that best serves my needs—which of course includes being challenged in a multitude of ways, and surrounded by diverse perspectives. What I am searching for though, is a school that will offer clinics, classes, internship opportunities etc that include these interests of mine, where I can gather with other like-minded folks to organize, work together, and make change. 

 

If anything positive has come out of this thread (for me), its that this does exist! At quite a few different schools, and yes, at some more than others. That was the question I had to begin with, and though I appreciate you trying to offer advice, your suggestion was not really meaningful to me. Perhaps it will be to others that read this thread though! 

 

I'm not sure how to word this properly, so my apologies if it seems bumbling.

 

But, as a bleeding-heart liberal, I agree what MP was getting at. When I first joined these boards I assumed that it would be full of people "like me", meaning bleeding-heart liberals. I mean, why wouldn't they be? They're educated! I was shocked to see some of the conservative views that are found throughout this board, not even by students, but practicing lawyers. And honestly, I'm glad that people with those views post here and that I read them, not because they've changed my mind, but it has reminded me that it's not just the groups that I thought leaned right that do, but also a large portion of the profession I'm looking to join do as well. And that's not to suggest I'm saying "know your enemy" because that's not the case. Instead, it's been good to realize that not everyone is in the same bubble that I am. I actively (and passively) seek out media that reflects the same views as me, I associate with people who hold the same views as me and I tend to grit my teeth when I encounter those who don't.

 

You (and me) are looking to join "the establishment". And I think we both need to be aware of what awaits. As an outsider, I like to think there's room for those seeking to change, but for better or worse we're looking to join a certain industry that is composed of a variety of views that we won't always agree with. 

 

I also get what you're saying and your frustration, I can definitely understand. But I also don't think MP (or others in this thread) gave a wrong answer either.

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I'm genuinely interested, can you and Diplock elaborate?

 

Probably just in a line or two. I say probably because there's the quick answer to this, and then there's the 40 page version. There's really nothing else in between.

 

Like most law, bail doesn't depend on the few lines in the Criminal Code that describe how it works. It relies, instead, on piles of jurisprudence and precedent. And that precedent boils down to this idea. If you are charged with a crime and you can satisfy the court that you can be adequately trusted and supervised in the community to be released pending your trial, so you can defend yourself on the outside, you get bail. If you can't satisfy the court, you are detained pending trial. "Detained pending trial" sounds innocuous, but really it amounts to a terrible burden that substantially deprives many accused persons of any opportunity to defend themselves, and it's often the difference between a guilty plea and conviction vs. a successful defence and a much lighter outcome or outright acquittal or withdrawal.

 

Now. Bail court is a perfect place for exactly the issues that grapefruit18 has raised to make all the difference in the world. And hey, you crazy-correct-social-justice-warrior-you - see how I'm actually on your side in practical matters? I don't share the mania that some feel about being correct and sensitive in superficial matters, but the substance concerns me quite a lot. Anyway, that was an aside. The point is, it's all about what looks like a reasonable release plan, and what doesn't. Social assumptions flourish. Nuclear families, standard living arrangements, money and employment and immigration status and all the rest of it. It's all part of the atmosphere that determines whether one person gets out and another person doesn't. People and lives and realities that look "right" to the court are at a huge advantage. And that's before we even admit (which is dead fucking true, btw) that a black defendant just looks more guilty to a lot of people.

 

So, there's the short version. I really don't have time for the long one.

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I'm not sure why this hasn't already been pointed out, but simply being able to take out a loan does not mean you can afford to pay it off. People default on loans all the time.

Edited by DescartesBeforeTheHorse

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My example didn't change a whit. My hypothetical woman was always homeless, self-harming, schizophrenic, and generally didn't look like the typical rich, privileged white person who gets into law school despite being so cognitively limited that they have to "study for the LSAT". And of course she didn't "write the LSAT" and "do up a competitive application package" (or attend university, for that matter). These are things you can only do if you're incredibly privileged.

 

So, okay. Rich white man who has been able to jump through the hoops ("study for the LSAT" because he's too dumb to read a simple passage and answer some simple questions about it without months and months of preparation; pay hundreds of dollars to write the LSAT; pay tens of thousands of dollars to get a BA; always attend class and complete assignments because his health allowed him to) vs. a person who has been unable to do any of those things due to illness. That's what my example always was, and it's reflective of your privilege that you made the hilarious assumption that the black woman would have prepared a competitive application. Which of these people gets into law school? Obviously the one who jumped through the hoops. And I'm not even saying that's inherently terrible. There do have to be hoops. But there's no arguing that many people cannot access higher education due to personal circumstances, and that law school is thus inaccessible to them. The fact that you seem to not even be able to imagine those people---the fact that I say, "imagine a black woman with schizophrenia" and you imagine that she has a BA and an LSAT score in hand---is just a failure on your part to comprehend anything outside your own privilege.

When I replied to your original post, I didn't even mention she was black because I don't think that has any bearing whatsoever on her ability to get a loan or attend law school. If anything, I think the affirmative actions that are in place today would make that a benefit.

 

What I found comical was the idea of someone (stated in your example) who isn't taking their medications and as a result, is having severe issues taking basic care of themselves (cutting themselves and homeless), is somehow managing to put forth a competitive and practical application to law school, which isn't an easy task for even the most sane person to do. I found that irony to be comical. I'm not laughing at any disability or disadvantage, just at what I perceive to be a huge change from your first example to what it was changed to in the second post with this character. The first example was talking about getting a bank loan (presumably because she had gotten accepted to law school),then that morphed into a character who was all of a sudden engaging in self harm and homeless, and seemingly barely able to care for themselves, which doesn't accurately fit the original example I feel you portrayed.

 

And secondly, I'm saying that at this point in this person's life, she probably should NOT be accepted to law school or obtain a loan because based on her current position, I think she should focus on getting herself back on track before she takes on what is probably going to be the most challenging personal, financial and educational endeavour of her entire life. You need to be absolutely at the top of your game to take on law school. Deferring doesnt mean she cant do it. If anything, I think it would be harmful to the person in your example to set them up for failure and stress and the debt that comes from going to law school without any opportunity to succeed. It doesn't mean that she can't do it once she is well again, but it wouldn't be fair to her if you threw her into law school when she can't even take care of her basic needs.

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I'm not sure how to word this properly, so my apologies if it seems bumbling.

 

But, as a bleeding-heart liberal, I agree what MP was getting at. When I first joined these boards I assumed that it would be full of people "like me", meaning bleeding-heart liberals. I mean, why wouldn't they be? They're educated! I was shocked to see some of the conservative views that are found throughout this board, not even by students, but practicing lawyers. And honestly, I'm glad that people with those views post here and that I read them, not because they've changed my mind, but it has reminded me that it's not just the groups that I thought leaned right that do, but also a large portion of the profession I'm looking to join do as well. And that's not to suggest I'm saying "know your enemy" because that's not the case. Instead, it's been good to realize that not everyone is in the same bubble that I am. I actively (and passively) seek out media that reflects the same views as me, I associate with people who hold the same views as me and I tend to grit my teeth when I encounter those who don't.

 

You (and me) are looking to join "the establishment". And I think we both need to be aware of what awaits. As an outsider, I like to think there's room for those seeking to change, but for better or worse we're looking to join a certain industry that is composed of a variety of views that we won't always agree with.

 

I also get what you're saying and your frustration, I can definitely understand. But I also don't think MP (or others in this thread) gave a wrong answer either.

From the other side of the political spectrum, not wanting to live in an echo chamber is why I begrudgingly browse CBC news on my phone a lot.

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Yeah, there's the trouble. I don't really see anything we're talking about as "debatable".... I am honestly not trying to be disagreeable, I just don't see where the argument is unless someone is truly ill-informed. It seems like people are just digging for an argument where there isn't one and meanwhile asserting the importance of "seeing other perspectives"—I see you, I hear you, these are the same narratives steeped throughout any neoliberal society. 

 

Ok. Let's look at an example where you (probably) don't have any skin directly in the game, and which is about as simple as it gets.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/15/bristol-university-lower-entry-grades-disadvantaged-students

 

Bristol University (in England) have decided to make 'contextualised' offers to undergrads. If the high school they went to doesn't get great results, or send many kids to university, they will be offered seats with lower grades than the exact same pupils who went to better schools. There's a whole lot of other stuff going on, but that's the broad overview.

 

Bristol has a lot of very good, and very expensive, private schools. They get great results, and send lots of pupils to universities. Those tend to come from rich families, who can afford the fees, most of whom are white. None of those people will benefit from this change.

 

Bristol also has lots of inner city schools, which don't turn out good results. Lots of them will qualify for this program, to have five of their number offered seats with lower grade requirements, based more off what their teachers think they can do in the future, in a positive and studious environment, than what they've shown they can do to date.

 

Now, I'm sure you regard this is A Good Thing; it's helping underprivileged people, often people of colour, and giving them an opportunity to study at a good institution which they wouldn't otherwise have. It takes account of their background, family wealth, and doesn't continue to punish them for problems in the past.

 

Can you see - whether or not you want to agree - that other people might consider this an attack on meritocracy, and on success? Because that's what it looks like to anyone who's getting straight As in high school, and gets told they might not have a seat available because someone else who's scoring Bs might take it instead. To them, the child should get the reward for high grades. They didn't choose where to go to school, their parents did when they were about a metre tall. Now, they have to work harder than ever, and might get a worse outcome than someone who is scoring measurably worse on standard testing.

 

I think that's an interesting discussion to be had, balancing one person's privilege against another's potential, wanting to do right by them both with limited resources, helping one group of people who have had historical problems, but avoiding actively harming other people who've done nothing intrinsically wrong themselves. The merits, and solutions, are very much debatable.

 

Now scale that discussion up to cover historic land right abuses, community destruction, economic positioning, wealth acquisition, social profiling, conscious and subconscious racism - and that's just to start. If you refuse to debate these issues, and simply announce "I want to study in an anti-oppressive environment", you'll miss out on most of the useful discussion that may help you actually find solutions, or at least mitigations, to the problems you identify,

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No---my argument is that law school is less accessible to persons with disabilities than to the able-bodied.

 

Look. I'm edging close to a personal attack here, and I genuinely don't mean it that way. So far, on this thread, you've demonstrated a rich person's understanding of finances (if you think everyone can get six figures' worth of credit---if you think anyone but the relatively wealthy can get six figures' worth of credit---you obviously don't run in the same circles I do), and a distressingly subpar level of reading comprehension. (I'm tempted to cut you some slack because, if you're Quebecois, English may be your second language, but still.) If the educational system were truly anything resembling a meritocracy, somebody who misunderstood as many simple points as you misunderstand wouldn't have gotten past the sixth grade or so. (I actually spent a few minutes giving this an honest appraisal---at what level would I, were I teaching English, start handing out Fs to someone who switched midsentence from the plural "women" to the singular "her"? Sixth grade is the point.) But you have money---oh, you might not be an O'Leary or a Trump, but you have enough money that you can't imagine anyone not being able to access credit, so you have money. Enough money to get you through an undergraduate degree, even if on loans. I'd bet a year of law school tuition that you've never been homeless. Your mental health is well enough that you think someone having a mental illness (a serious mental illness, not some Bell Let's Talk "we all get sad for one day a year but then we watch cat videos and cheer up" bullshit) is something to stick your tongue out at. But you've got to know on some level that when someone says "A (including colourful tangents C, D, E, F, G), because B (including colourful tangents H, I, J, K, L)" and you repeatedly come back with, "So you think K because D?!?", your success is not about anything resembling merit. It's about luck and circumstance and what body you were born into and what society sees when it sees that body.

 

We have some members here who are incredibly brilliant, and I have never seen one of them weigh in on one of these threads saying, "Society is perfect how it is. Everything is already a perfect meritocracy. Things aren't inaccessible - minorities just need to work harder." That argument always comes from people who know, on some level, that they're winning at this rigged game, but that if they had to compete on a level playing field with the poor, the marginalized, and the disabled, they'd be working at an Esso.

 

This has been my honest, and sincerely non-malicious, read on what's going on here, but this argument can go nowhere from here but, "You're just a whiner!" / "Yeah, well, you're dumb!" / "My CGPA is 3.7!" / "Being privileged enough to know what those letters mean and dumb enough to get the occasional B is the worst kind of mediocrity." / "So you're saying knowing what a CGPA is is mediocre?" / *Baron shoots self in head*, so I'm going to bow out of this thread right here. Good luck, grapefruit. If nothing else, this thread has shown you how much good luck you're going to need.

I thought it was clear I was being sarcastic with my comment there, not that I believed that to really be your argument, I'm sorry if that was unclear.

 

However, I'll happily tell you that essentially every "nonmalicious" (yet still pretty malicious) assumption you made about me is categorically incorrect (if you'd like further details feel free to PM me). The game isn't rigged for me, in fact it's been rigged against me as much or possibly more than it's been rigged against you.

 

I'd just point out you're definitely misrepresenting what my opinion is though. I think I've made it very clear that I agree with the idea that law schools are less accessible to certain demographics. I rejected the premise that they're inaccessible.

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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And secondly, I'm saying that at this point in this person's life, she probably should NOT be accepted to law school or obtain a loan because based on her current position, I think she should focus on getting herself back on track before she takes on what is probably going to be the most challenging personal, financial and educational endeavour of her entire life. You need to be absolutely at the top of your game to take on law school. Deferring doesnt mean she cant do it. If anything, I think it would be harmful to the person in your example to set them up for failure and stress and the debt that comes from going to law school without any opportunity to succeed. It doesn't mean that she can't do it once she is well again, but it wouldn't be fair to her if you threw her into law school when she can't even take care of her basic needs.

 

I think this is still more difficult than you think it is. I have a friend who went through her twenties with mental issues, she's a single mother to a little boy, she's left abusive relationships, she's had credit problems. Even if she were to decide today that she wanted to be a lawyer, she'd probably need many years to get into a financial position to do so (maybe even decades, since expenses for her child take priority). Whereas I, with a different level of family support and having made less ambitious choices in my twenties, walked into a bank today and will get a 100K loan (probably at prime) with the ease of ordering a coffee from Starbucks.  

 

Edit: She doesn't even think she can get $800 from the bank to finish an ECE program of which she's already completed 90%. And she needs that program to find gainful employment in order to become financially stable (or pull herself up by the bootstraps). 

Edited by kiamia
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 You need to be absolutely at the top of your game to take on law school

 

- Dude, you aren't training to jump out of an airplane over enemy territory.

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OP, if you do go into law, check out PIVOT in Vancouver. I think their work would appeal to you.

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- Dude, you aren't training to jump out of an airplane over enemy territory.

True, but all the challenges in my life are tackled with that same intensity!

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This whole thread irritates me for the same reason that politics does. Instead of a productive discussion on real and workable solutions to problems everyone agrees we have, and coming up with a plan to fund, implement and get stakeholder buy-in for said solutions, we're all arguing about who is more right, who are the bigger assholes, whose fault it is, and what we're even arguing about.  :roll:

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Edit: adding detail in response to Hans-

 

In bail court you can be detained because of primary or secondary ground concerns. Prinary is basically if you are going to show up to court. If you do not have a home or a stable housing situation this counts against you. If you do not report to your bail supervisor (in person, on time, at whatever distance away) this counts against you. You can be detained as a result of being homeless.

 

If a warrant in the first has issued because there was no residential address to send a summons to (a courtesy wealthier people get), you START in custody and may never get out.

 

Secondary grounds has to do with record. If you are an addict or have mental health issues you may have a record of drugs, petty theft, and breaches. Maybe some assaults if you are in a bad family or relationship situation. Maybe your breaches are failures to appear in court or failures to report. Enough of a record, and you get detained.

 

If you get detained for whatever reason, and the charge is a minor charge, you are going to plead guilty and get two weeks time served instead of waiting for three or four months in jail for your trial. Much of criminal law is resolved immediately after a detention order. Forget the merits of the case. It's about custody status. And first nations people are much more likely to be detained as a result of their social situation.

 

 

The law is racist. Not every single law, no. But pretending we can narrow down the discussion to the precise wording of a statute and ignore the history and social context of the structure is, at best, naive.

 

Hegdis, while not disagreeing with any of your observations, the fact that the law may have different impacts on people of different backgrounds does not make the law "racist".

 

The fact that aboriginal Canadians are vastly over-represented in our criminal justice system is a shame.  But it's not because the system is racist - it's because aboriginal people commit crimes at much higher rates than other groups.  Yes, it's because of the history of colonialism, residential schools, and so on.  But a crime is still a crime.

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