September 22nd, 2003


Lani Guinier talks race and "meritocracy"

Cross-posted to debunkingwhite

On Friday (the 19th, yes, this is late) I attended an early-morning talk at the University of Washington (Seattle) by Lani Guinier. She spoke to a room full of suit-and-ties, and just a few students and faculty (not enough, I'm sorry to say). But it was a good group (mostly deans and administrators) to hear her message.[1]

She spoke for about an hour, debunking in record time the myths of "meritocracy" and the insidious ideas about race and diversity around that idea.

She also spent some time explaining why we can't be race-blind -- well, the debunkingwhite readers won't be shocked by these thoughts, and she spent some time exploring how and where organizing can happen. Occasionally, it's in unusual places (see the Hopwood case, in the notes below).

She also hit on one of my hot buttons -- the worthlessness and sheer evil of standardized testing. A few choice vignettes:

  • The LSAT correlates at only 9% with first-year law school grades.
  • The SAT correlates better with grandparents' income than it does with undergraduate school performance..
  • The LSAT has no significant correlation with either income after law school or with job satisfaction after law school. LSAT and undergraduate GPA, on the other hand, are negatively correlated with community service law.

Who do we [2] think we're admitting, using these alleged "merit" tests? On what basis do we consider this "merit"? What happened to the ideals of education as a privilege, not a reward? Guinier asks all the right questions on this big, complicated, and all-too-easily-misunderstood issue.

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It's also worth checking out the website she and Harvard have put together: Race Talks.

[sad] Unfortunately, there were no Linguistics people there but me -- at least, none that I recognized. My (electrical engineering) lab PI showed up, though, and I found out about the whole thing from a lab colleague. Hooray for progressive geeks!

[we] I say "we" because I recognize that I'm part of the elite here -- I have very good SAT, GRE, and LSAT performance and I'm likely to become part of the educational institution in a few years.

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The Death of Ahimsa

... racism explodes in India.

The so-called "Hindu Unity" organization (warning, serious hate literature behind the link) combines the racism and racial paranoia of the Third Reich with the zealotry and religious violence of the modern-day Zionists. But they're only the tip of the frothing rabid insanity, the most verbally violent of a dangerous nest of snakes.

They, and their backers, are so virulently anti-Muslim that they consider themselves and the Israeli right wing to be "the two towers" (check out the flags on their front page) standing forth against the "Muslim terror". In my view, it's more like Sauron and Saruman than their "twin pillars of righteousness".

These people turn my stomach. I feel physically sick -- although fascinated -- by reading it. I don't understand how anyone could read this and not hear the echoes of the Nazis marching across Europe, gassing and destroying as they go, killing and raping Jews.

The more I learn about the all-too-recent genocide in Gujarat (Dissent) the more I am ashamed that my nation (the USA) has done nothing but fan the flames of unreasoning anti-Muslim hatred and fear. And Collapse )

This resurgent, violent racialist and nationalist movement is called Hindutva, meaning, roughly, "Hindu-ness", or, more simply, Hindu fascism. Those who oppose it -- regardless of their religion -- are threatened, beaten, denounced as anti-Hindu, raped, or killed. Witnesses are intimidated into silence, and government officials silently stand by or actively collaborate in the destruction of Muslim lives, homes, and property. Hindu opponents are particularly vilified as "race traitors", although that language is rarely used.

But it gets worse.

Hindutva is organized into one mafia-like hydra with many heads called the Sangh Parivar. Its political wing is the Bharatiya Janatiya Party (founded by admirers of Mussolini and Hitler), which is currently in control of the Indian Parliament (the entire national government) and several states, including Gujarat. In Gujarat, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unrepentant over the deaths of 2000 Muslims in highly-organized, well-planned, genocidal rioting in 2001.

Other branches of the Sangh include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a youth/volunteer corps, and the Bajrang Dal, paramilitary shock troops; note the BD's "official" web site is hosted at Hindu Unity, mentioned above. We think we have it bad here, but the Republicans and Religious Right have nothing on these guys. Gujarat BJP politicians openly refer to the Gujarat genocides as "The Gujarat Experiment", and if that doesn't sound like "The Final Solution" I don't know what does.

Mahatma Gandhi must be turning in his grave.

Read more at:

Thanks to exterra and her friends who have put this information in my hands.

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