The general public tends to be surprised when allegedly intelligent Harvard students spew racist tripe, and I think that’s why the Grace story became mainstream news. The story wasn’t a “teachable moment” or a deep look at the racism that even the very best education can’t seem to stamp out. It was just a story about another white person who had a low opinion of black people. That happens all the time, especially at Harvard Law. HLS has a long and storied history of admitting people who end up insulting the entire black community at the school.
The lesson, if anything, from the Stephanie Grace saga, is that things worked out for her. She got a clerkship with Alex Kozinski and she seems to be doing well. Things always work out for these kind of high profile, well-educated people who happen to harbor racist thoughts. Things worked out for Kiwi Camara, another Harvard Law student who managed to be shockingly and publicly racist while he was at school.
Because if you go to Harvard Law School, there is really no kind of ignorant, racist statement you can make that somebody in power in the legal community won’t defend. A white Harvard Law student could shoot Medgar Evers and there would be some professor or judge eager to defend the kid and give him or her a second chance.
Don’t believe me? Get back to me in three years when we see what happens to the self-styled “Harvard Law Caveman” who apparently woke up two weeks ago and decided it’d be a fabulous idea to start a racist blog….
Based on his inaugural blog post, it seems that what set this guy off was a simple gathering of black people:
Hi. My name is Joe White. My brain is small so I use small words. I have to use short sentences…
I’m dumb, but there’s one thing I know. Most of the black students around here are even dumber than me. If I were smart maybe I wouldn’t say that. Here you’re not supposed to talk about how dumb the black students are. But I can prove it, with some numbers I’ll write up soon…
I decided to start this blog because yesterday I saw some extra blacks on the campus. Today are are lots and lots of extra blacks on campus. Many of them are old, so maybe they’re not as black as they used to be, but they still look pretty black. It turns out that these are all black alumni of Harvard Law School who are having a celebration.
UPDATE: I should add that I don’t know who this guy is. It’s possible that he’s just some random douche who didn’t get into HLS and was just looking for an opportunity to complain. I certainly hope that this guy is not who he claims to be.
The “extra blacks” were there for a “Celebration of Black Alumni.” My invitation must have been lost in the mail.
From there, “Joe White” launched into the usual anti-affirmative-action diatribe. We’ve all heard it before, and I have no intention of rehashing that debate just because some idiot HLS student who lacks the courage to even use his real name started a blog. People like Joe White don’t want to rationally debate the pros and cons of trying to build a diverse class of admitted students; instead, they want to defend their belief in their own racial superiority. Whatever.
It doesn’t bother me that this random HLS kid thinks that he’s smarter than most of the black people at Harvard Law School just because he’s white and they’re not. It’s too Friday to get worked up over that.
What bothers me is that in two seconds, there are going to be tons of comments defending and agreeing with this guy. What bothers me is that the HLS administration — who will figure out who this kid is about 15 minutes after they finish reading this post — won’t do anything about this. What bothers me is that by Monday, there will be a phalanx of law professor types telling us not to “rush to judgment” or arguing the legitimacy of his points. Come on, can’t you hear the keystrokes clicking by somebody over at Fox or Althouse just so eager to defend this next “brave young person” who dared to “tell the truth” at Harvard Law School?
What bothers me is that three years from now, when he’s sitting in a federal clerkship or working in a Biglaw office, he’ll still harbor the same, racist thoughts about the black people he works with. He’ll be strutting around his office thinking, “I might be dumb, but I’m smarter then most of the black people in here.” Oh, by that time, he’ll have learned to only say such things in private — his desire to tell “inconvenient truths” will magically disappear once he’s got money on the line — but his feelings won’t have changed.
This guy launched a racist blog using as much HLS branding as he could, but the school is not going to actually do anything about it. Oh, if he had started a site that asked people to compare the attractiveness of Harvard undergraduates, the school would have thrown a fit. But all this guy did was call pretty much every black person who has ever graduated from HLS “dumb,” so he’ll get a pass.
But this is life at Harvard Law School. The school is so big. And there are so many people there who are still pissed that they didn’t get into Yale. The racist crap one hears from the HLS student body on just a casual level I think would blow most people away. I once had a white guy argue to my face that I didn’t “belong” there — and this was after we’d both figured out that I got a better grade in the class we took together.
This kind of crap didn’t happen at Harvard College. None of my friends at Yale or Stanford report this kind of racial animosity at their schools. It certainly doesn’t happen this openly at Biglaw firms. But every couple of years it seems like somebody at HLS gets so comfortable with all the private insults towards African-Americans that those thoughts get taken to the next level.
And nothing, ever, happens.
Meet Joe White: Harvard Law Caveman [Harvard Law Caveman]