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.
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  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.( Collapse )
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.