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Used "more Canadian" name in articling application - advice?

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I think the discussion here is interesting and raises some good points. 

If it came down to it though I would not hire the person who applied to me under a fake name. I don't think I would get much farther than "I am not entirely sure what is going on here but this person is either dishonest or unstable in some way and I don't want to deal with them." And the resume would get shredded and I would move on to the next. 

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1 hour ago, providence said:

You just made a whole bunch of assumptions as to whether I know about racism, have experienced it, think it exists, or even whether or not I am Muslim, and so on. Spare me the lecture about racism. My point was that whining about things you can't prove is counterproductive. Putting yourself in a position to change them is not.

Yeah, we can disagree about other things. But I really, really, really didn't make those assumptions. You honestly think I'm so stupid that I wouldn't pause and think "hmm, this person who is popping off on the appropriate ways that minorities respond may or may not be a minority herself?" What I did conclude, after briefly considering the question, si that (a) it's possible to have a wrong opinion (and I do think you're wrong) whether coming from a background that shares some of the OP's experiences, or not, and (b) calling you out on that would have been counter-productive. So I left it alone.

Let me put it another way. If you wanted to wear your minority status on your sleeve (which at the moment is still of a general nature - I don't know or need to know if you're Muslim) you could have done so. You didn't. So I responded to you generally, and I certainly believe that calling you out would have been disrespectful. But it's a bit rich to turn around now, since I extended you that respect, and yell "gotcha!!" I didn't make any assumptions, and didn't need to make any, en route to believing that you're wrong. And you won't shake me from my opinion even if you happen to more closely mirror the OP's particular experiences - though I'll respect that you do and try to acknowledge your lived reality more. Or I would do, had it come up on better terms.

Here's the actual truth. When you expressed that he (or she?) might look like a Muslim person with a chip on their shoulder, I considered there are two kinds of people who sometimes respond badly to that. The other kind is fellow Muslims who are doing so well getting by they don't want anyone else, including other Muslims, to draw attention to it. You don't need to be white to counsel fitting in, getting by, and not making waves as a strategy. There is a reason "Uncle Tom" persists as a term.

All that fucking said, I do respect you, which is one of the reasons I was most surprised by how harsh you were. Let the OP decide (if the OP is even still around) from between our perspectives, if it comes to that. I'm not saying you aren't right to share your view. I'm just saying that I violently disagree with your view. When it comes right down to it, you're saying "assume racism and bias isn't happening until the moment when you know." Now feel free to correct me from your greater lived experience and whack me with your sack full of equity points, if you need to. But isn't it almost always the case that we don't know for sure? If it almost always true that bias and discrimination work invisibly, and that's exactly they are so pervasive especially at the top, for highly competitive jobs, opportunities, awards, etc.? You'll never prove what's really going on. They don't call you a towel-head to your face, and (almost) never will. You just get passed over, and wonder...

So. Yeah. You advice amounts to always rolling over because you'll never be able to prove it. Mine is that frustration and even anger can be good. Maybe I'll even admit that I may be indulging in the greater privilege of dissent, which is a real thing. I still disagree with you. And I've called enough people out on their class-based assumptions over the years that I do at least walk the walk, in relation to my own lived experiences.

 

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6 hours ago, epeeist said:

As this thread could use some humorous leavening, that makes a point - you can't assume that Muslim-sounding names will always be the problem, I would imagine there are all sorts of Alberta conservatives who will give this kid a hard time later in life...

"You could say Afraa and Muhammad Bilan have big aspirations for their son. Or, they are just very grateful for the Prime Minister of Canada. At 6:15 p.m. on May 4, their third child was born in a Calgary hospital. His first name? Justin Trudeau. Justin Trudeau Adam Bilan was named in honour of Canada’s prime minister." [emphasis added]

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/05/06/syrian-family-names-baby-justin-trudeau-after-canadian-pm.html

I will never hire this kid!!!

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Sigh. The point is: racism exists in the legal profession. And so what? The choices are:

1) Avoid it. And then what? There's racism everywhere else too.

2) Mitigate it by selecting a more Anglo name. Which just delays the reaction when they see you/get to know you. And means people never learn to accept different names.

3) Re-educate people who hire. Which is being attempted by law schools, law societies, bar associations and community groups. But it takes time. And what do you do to get a job in the meantime?

4) Demand colourblind anonymous hiring. Which again takes time and is out of individuals' hands. And also means a lot of the great things about people that make them interesting are removed from the process and we lose the beauty of diversity and people never really learn to respect it.

5) learn to live and work with it. Racism doesn't just happen when you're trying to get a job. It happens in the job itself - from clients, judges, juries, opposing counsel. When you try to get a promotion or become a judge. There will be plenty of times when sure, you'll be angry and frustrated. But that doesn't have to dictate your response. 

If that's harsh, so be it, but the sooner people learn,the better. And racism will only seem worse as economic times get tougher.

My beef wasn't even with the OP, but with the people who think they look tolerant and liberal to rile other people up about how much racism there is. Especially those who have never experienced it themselves, and no, class is not the same because a jury cannot see it when you are before them in robes. Try having a jury convict your guy and having to wonder if they did it because they hated his lawyer due to race/gender/religion. Now you are wondering if you're doing your clients a disservice just by being you. Getting a job is the least of your problems.

And Diplock, with all due respect, you are OFTEN on here giving people a dose of reality about their grades, attitudes etc. So why the kid gloves when it comes to racism? Why am I so harsh for telling it like it is when you have said 10 times worse many times?

 

 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Diplock said:

Yeah, we can disagree about other things. But I really, really, really didn't make those assumptions. You honestly think I'm so stupid that I wouldn't pause and think "hmm, this person who is popping off on the appropriate ways that minorities respond may or may not be a minority herself?" What I did conclude, after briefly considering the question, si that (a) it's possible to have a wrong opinion (and I do think you're wrong) whether coming from a background that shares some of the OP's experiences, or not, and (b) calling you out on that would have been counter-productive. So I left it alone.

Let me put it another way. If you wanted to wear your minority status on your sleeve (which at the moment is still of a general nature - I don't know or need to know if you're Muslim) you could have done so. You didn't. So I responded to you generally, and I certainly believe that calling you out would have been disrespectful. But it's a bit rich to turn around now, since I extended you that respect, and yell "gotcha!!" I didn't make any assumptions, and didn't need to make any, en route to believing that you're wrong. And you won't shake me from my opinion even if you happen to more closely mirror the OP's particular experiences - though I'll respect that you do and try to acknowledge your lived reality more. Or I would do, had it come up on better terms.

Here's the actual truth. When you expressed that he (or she?) might look like a Muslim person with a chip on their shoulder, I considered there are two kinds of people who sometimes respond badly to that. The other kind is fellow Muslims who are doing so well getting by they don't want anyone else, including other Muslims, to draw attention to it. You don't need to be white to counsel fitting in, getting by, and not making waves as a strategy. There is a reason "Uncle Tom" persists as a term.

All that fucking said, I do respect you, which is one of the reasons I was most surprised by how harsh you were. Let the OP decide (if the OP is even still around) from between our perspectives, if it comes to that. I'm not saying you aren't right to share your view. I'm just saying that I violently disagree with your view. When it comes right down to it, you're saying "assume racism and bias isn't happening until the moment when you know." Now feel free to correct me from your greater lived experience and whack me with your sack full of equity points, if you need to. But isn't it almost always the case that we don't know for sure? If it almost always true that bias and discrimination work invisibly, and that's exactly they are so pervasive especially at the top, for highly competitive jobs, opportunities, awards, etc.? You'll never prove what's really going on. They don't call you a towel-head to your face, and (almost) never will. You just get passed over, and wonder...

So. Yeah. You advice amounts to always rolling over because you'll never be able to prove it. Mine is that frustration and even anger can be good. Maybe I'll even admit that I may be indulging in the greater privilege of dissent, which is a real thing. I still disagree with you. And I've called enough people out on their class-based assumptions over the years that I do at least walk the walk, in relation to my own lived experiences.

 

Who said roll over? And what good do frustration and anger do? They give you headaches, weight gain, wreck your relationships and can even kill you with a heart attack (which racism has been proven to do.)

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1 hour ago, kathryndan said:

I don't think Diplock made any assumptions about you at all. All he did was point out objective facts that your earlier comment either doesn't appear to account for or brushes aside far too lightly (i.e. that racism is real in the legal profession and that it can/does influence the opportunities of racialized licensees).

And just for my own curiosity, can you define what you think "whining" is in this context? Because I've found that when people accuse POCs and other equity-seeking groups of "whining", their definition often includes a person simply talking about his/her experiences. "Stop whining" is usually code for "I don't want to hear about your experiences because it makes me feel guilty/uncomfortable." Not saying that is necessarily you. Just asking.

The fact that racism exists is a given. That it affects opportunities is also a given. How we respond to it is not a given. The OP responded in a way that is not productive.

Whining would be me complaining that there are very few federally appointed judges like me and I want to be one but the odds are against me, and how come I'm not on the lists and it must be my identity and here's 10 other stories of shit that happened to me.

Not whining would be me saying yes, it's going to be tough to become a judge but let me learn all I can about the process and be the best lawyer I can be and also try to influence those who control the selection process to make changes.

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@providence - I don't want to get into a 12 point reply, so I'll try to confine my response to the most significant bits and hopefully narrow down our disagreements to something we can live with.

1. I agree entirely with giving practical, real world advice, and in fact the first thing I said in reply to you (the very first) is that there's nothing inherently wrong with being harsh and impolitic. I just happen to disagree with you here. If you want to know what likely won my sympathy for the OP rather than my instinct to blast him for being dumb, it's that he came here already knowing he was dumb and trying to figure out what to do next. I'm a huge fan of self-insight. That's true even in my practice. Guys on heinous charges I can work with. Guys on lesser charges but who think it's all everyone else causing them problems ... they drive me nuts. The OP knows he messed up. I'm moving onto practical advice. And so are you. But I skipped the vitriol that sometimes comes first.

2. I agree almost entirely with your views on what should happen, what's possible, and how an individual who just needs a job can/should go about navigating it. I doubt we'd have disagreed almost at all about what one should do, if that were the topic. We just disagree over modes of damage control here. And that's fine. But it's not a common situation, at least.

3. I did sorta call you an Uncle Tom. I'll own it. But it's a much more complex term than most people believe. Talking about what we know and don't know ... have you read Uncle Tom's Cabin? I have. Tom is a very admirable figure in most regards. In fact he's Christ-like. It's only in after-the-fact reaction to the book (many years later) that the figure becomes problematic. It's a microcosm of this discussion. Is it better to resist or to get along, if you can, and wait for change that is larger than yourself? I'm not saying the answer is easy. But I am saying this is one of those situations where your lived experiences, even though they should be respected (if you're prepared to claim them, which you still haven't done) don't necessarily prove your advice is right and mine wrong.

4. I could go on a separate tear about how you just denied my own lived experiences and tried to invalidate my own identity as working class en route to making your point. And I could lavish on the outrage pretty hard. But I'll call it dirty pool and leave it at that. Sexual orientation isn't obvious to a jury. Nor it a history of mental illness. Nor is being Muslim for that matter. Being Arabic or "ethnic" are obvious to a jury. Your actual faith is not. Nor are the prices you've paid for it and the experiences in your past. And for that matter, how the fuck is it relevant what's obvious to a jury, here? We're exchanging advice about how to get along in a world and how to find a place in legal culture when you don't fit in quite the ways people expect. My experiences are valid. And fuck you for claiming otherwise.

5. I respect you a lot, or I wouldn't argue with you about this.

Those are all the points that I think really matter. Have at it if you like.

P.S. To the person who'll inevitably say we're derailing the topic, OP hasn't been back in a week or more. If they return, we'll deal with that then.

Edited by Diplock
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45 minutes ago, providence said:

Sigh. The point is: racism exists in the legal profession. And so what? The choices are:

1) Avoid it. And then what? There's racism everywhere else too.

2) Mitigate it by selecting a more Anglo name. Which just delays the reaction when they see you/get to know you. And means people never learn to accept different names.

3) Re-educate people who hire. Which is being attempted by law schools, law societies, bar associations and community groups. But it takes time. And what do you do to get a job in the meantime?

4) Demand colourblind anonymous hiring. Which again takes time and is out of individuals' hands. And also means a lot of the great things about people that make them interesting are removed from the process and we lose the beauty of diversity and people never really learn to respect it.

5) learn to live and work with it. Racism doesn't just happen when you're trying to get a job. It happens in the job itself - from clients, judges, juries, opposing counsel. When you try to get a promotion or become a judge. There will be plenty of times when sure, you'll be angry and frustrated. But that doesn't have to dictate your response. 

That's all fine and well but there's an important way to deal with racism that's missing:

6) Talk about frustrating experiences you have with lawyers that get it (whether they lived it themselves or not*), and as a result, feel a sense of vindication and belonging to the legal community. Begin seeing those experiences as ridiculous stories you can share. Yes, that means the anger, frustration, shock, misery, whatever. They might suck when they happen but they're kind of hilarious when you rehash them. As you rehash them, you begin to reshape them, exercise power over them, and accept them as helping make who you are today. In some ways you are better for it, in other ways not so much. Everyone's got both.

If someone's initial reaction is to characterize you as whining, e.g. perhaps it's Mayoral Candidate Bob Terwilliger?, there's a chance that's what you're doing, but it's likelier you're not talking to the right person. Whining and bitching about the system are time honoured traditions for all freedom loving red blooded ... Canadians(?) No one thinks it's sufficient to solve things but by God is it necessary. It's as necessary as it is temporary.

*I met a lawyer couple (white guy, black girl). The guy definitely got it.

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1 minute ago, providence said:

I agree with 6 but to your trusted inner circle, not an internet full of strangers 

It was suggested to me, not long ago, that the students who sign up for LS.ca are non-representative of the population as a whole. And since then I've been looking for, and seen, a lot of evidence to back up that idea. Students who already have access to lawyers and a "trusted inner circle" that gets legal culture don't need this site. They may still come here, in some cases, but their motive for doing so is much less. It's students who don't have access to lawyers in their family, in the circles, who may be new to Canada or, as in my case, may be the first person in their immediate family to attend post-secondary education ... those are the ones who most need to ask strangers because they don't have anyone else.

I don't mean to harp on this or to open a new battle front. But the very fact that OP would come here, rather than have anywhere else to go, is itself a symptom of coming from a less-privileged background.

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I don't have lawyers in my family. I have inmates in my family. I am an immigrant. And I am the first in my family to graduate law school.

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3 minutes ago, providence said:

I don't have lawyers in my family. I have inmates in my family. I am an immigrant. And I am the first in my family to graduate law school.

I dislike where this is going, because I can't shake the feeling that you've on the verge of inviting me to a privilege accounting. And unlike a 50's dance fight, I don't think it would be a lot of fun or amusing to any onlookers. I'll only say that I take it as assumed you are also one of the non-representative members of the profession who made it here (you did end up here for some reason, didn't you?) and that I said I'm the first in my immediate family to attend post-secondary education. Not law school. Not professional school. Any post-secondary. Now please stop trying to undermine my identity, because I'm sincerely not trying to do that to you.

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8 minutes ago, providence said:

I don't have lawyers in my family. I have inmates in my family. I am an immigrant. And I am the first in my family to graduate law school.

Does that actually do anything to strengthen your argument, or rebut the argument that ls.ca is not representative of the legal profession? Not really. Personal anecdotal experience is no more valuable to a conversation than anecdotal experience. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois

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27 minutes ago, Diplock said:

@providence - I don't want to get into a 12 point reply, so I'll try to confine my response to the most significant bits and hopefully narrow down our disagreements to something we can live with.

1. I agree entirely with giving practical, real world advice, and in fact the first thing I said in reply to you (the very first) is that there's nothing inherently wrong with being harsh and impolitic. I just happen to disagree with you here. If you want to know what likely won my sympathy for the OP rather than my instinct to blast him for being dumb, it's that he came here already knowing he was dumb and trying to figure out what to do next. I'm a huge fan of self-insight. That's true even in my practice. Guys on heinous charges I can work with. Guys on lesser charges but who think it's all everyone else causing them problems ... they drive me nuts. The OP knows he messed up. I'm moving onto practical advice. And so are you. But I skipped the vitriol that sometimes comes first.

2. I agree almost entirely with your views on what should happen, what's possible, and how an individual who just needs a job can/should go about navigating it. I doubt we'd have disagreed almost at all about what one should do, if that were the topic. We just disagree over modes of damage control here. And that's fine. But it's not a common situation, at least.

3. I did sorta call you an Uncle Tom. I'll own it. But it's a much more complex term than most people believe. Talking about what we know and don't know ... have you read Uncle Tom's Cabin? I have. Tom is a very admirable figure in most regards. In fact he's Christ-like. It's only in after-the-fact reaction to the book (many years later) that the figure becomes problematic. It's a microcosm of this discussion. Is it better to resist or to get along, if you can, and wait for change that is larger than yourself? I'm not saying the answer is easy. But I am saying this is one of those situations where your lived experiences, even though they should be respected (if you're prepared to claim them, which you still haven't done) don't necessarily prove your advice is right and mine wrong.

4. I could go on a separate tear about how you just denied my own lived experiences and tried to invalidate my own identity as working class en route to making your point. And I could lavish on the outrage pretty hard. But I'll call it dirty pool and leave it at that. Sexual orientation isn't obvious to a jury. Nor it a history of mental illness. Nor is being Muslim for that matter. Being Arabic or "ethnic" are obvious to a jury. Your actual faith is not. Nor are the prices you've paid for it and the experiences in your past. And for that matter, how the fuck is it relevant what's obvious to a jury, here? We're exchanging advice about how to get along in a world and how to find a place in legal culture when you don't fit in quite the ways people expect. My experiences are valid. And fuck you for claiming otherwise.

5. I respect you a lot, or I wouldn't argue with you about this.

Those are all the points that I think really matter. Have at it if you like.

P.S. To the person who'll inevitably say we're derailing the topic, OP hasn't been back in a week or more. If they return, we'll deal with that then.

1. I agree with you that OP seemed self-aware. That wasn't my point. What you call vitriol was my annoyance with people who exacerbate people's' frustrations so they do things like what the OP did. I never bashed the OP themself if you read it.

2. Fair enough

3. Yes, I read it. And you don't know enough about me to call me a Tom. Those are fighting words.

4.Obviously I was talking about ethnicity and name, not faith. And my point was that there are continual barriers in the profession due to ethnicity that you will never be able to prove but have to navigate to do your job. So being angry all the time doesn't work. And sure, there are all kinds of disadvantages people can't see. But the conversation was about race which people can see. And having experience with class discrimination but not racial discrimination doesn't qualify as knowing about racism. That's not dismissing that class is an issue - it wasn't the topic.

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18 minutes ago, providence said:

I agree with 6 but to your trusted inner circle, not an internet full of strangers 

And sometimes the best response when you do 6 is to get a good ass - kicking and reality check. I probably wouldn't be here had I not received a few of those.

Edited by providence

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10 minutes ago, Diplock said:

I dislike where this is going, because I can't shake the feeling that you've on the verge of inviting me to a privilege accounting. And unlike a 50's dance fight, I don't think it would be a lot of fun or amusing to any onlookers. I'll only say that I take it as assumed you are also one of the non-representative members of the profession who made it here (you did end up here for some reason, didn't you?) and that I said I'm the first in my immediate family to attend post-secondary education. Not law school. Not professional school. Any post-secondary. Now please stop trying to undermine my identity, because I'm sincerely not trying to do that to you.

For what it's worth, "Privilege Accounting" sounds like a boring name for a great drinking game.

Death match! Two cis-hetero-poor or immigrant(butalsocomplicitcolonialist(?))-bootstrapping lowclass men***** enter ... one person will be unmasked and killed in the ring!

5 minutes ago, providence said:

And sometimes the best response when you do 6 is to get a good add-kicking and reality check.

That sounds unpleasant. I have life to give me a reality check. I don't need one from friends. 

 

*****Plz don't criticize my assumptions. It's a joke

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8 minutes ago, Another Hutz said:

****Plz don't criticize my assumptions. It's a joke

You must have fewer than X privilege points before you're allowed to make a joke in this thread.

For the moment, I'll cut you some slake and assume you qualify. But I've got my eye on you.

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Can somebody provide a privilege scorecard? That way we can all tally up our scores and, as in golf, lowest one wins. Then we'll just put that person in charge of all marginalization/privilege-related topics in the future. 

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