Racism

I must confess to having a tin ear when it comes to issues of race. My view on racial issues is like my view on sports: What’s the big deal? Why does everyone care so much?

Perhaps it’s because I’m Asian; we tend to be bystanders as African-Americans and whites yell at each other. Perhaps it’s because I’m Filipino-American; we are total mutts a very hybrid people. Not to go all Fauxcahontas on you, but according to my (not genealogically verified) family lore, I have Malay, Chinese, Spanish, British, and Czech ancestry.

And thanks to the rise of intermarriage in the United States, my kind of ethnic hybridity is the wave of the future. In fifty or 100 or 150 years, more people will have my blasé attitude about race because “race” as a concept will be so much less salient. To tweak the famous words of Chief Justice John Roberts, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to intermarry so much so that nobody knows what race anybody else is.”

In the meantime, though, there’s plenty of racial tension to go around. Today we bring you allegations of racism at a law school, countered by allegations of playing the race card (i.e., crying racism in bad faith or without sufficient proof).

Let’s take a look at the latest heated controversy, taking place at a top law school….

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We’ve previously covered the departure of Paul Schiff Berman as dean of George Washington University Law School. There was a lot of intrigue regarding Dean Berman’s departure.

Now it appears that the decision on Dean Berman’s replacement is also steeped in controversy. Today, GW Law named Professor Gregory Maggs as its interim dean. In so doing, the school passed over their Senior Associate Dean, Christopher Bracey. Instead of promoting Bracey into the interim dean position, he’ll stay on at GW, under Maggs.

This seems like a good time to point out that Maggs is white and Bracey is black.

And so let’s play our game, because a member of the GW Law Faculty, who is also black, had a real problem with the decision to pass over Bracey. She called it “not the law school’s finest hour” in a message to the entire faculty. And then she subtly told another faculty member to go jump in a lake.

Fun times….

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Wait, that’s the wrong answer.

It’s been great fun to watch archconservatives wake up and realize what country they’ve been living in this whole time. Minorities vote too. Single women don’t like being called sluts. Gays and lesbians are everywhere. And people can understand that sometimes, taxes are necessary.

The emerging American consciousness — from both Democrats and Republicans — that if we want government to do things we have to pay for them with taxes, has been particularly fun to watch. In Austin, Texas, there was a ballot initiative which contemplated raising property takes to in order to pay for “a medical school in Austin and other health care projects,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. And it passed!

But that didn’t sit well with some Texans. Don Zimmerman, treasurer of the Travis County Taxpayers Union political action committee, argued that the initiative — called Proposition 1 — was discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act. Zimmerman and his attorney argued that Prop 1 was confusing to minorities who “have lower reading comprehension than whites.”

Maybe so, but I sho’nuff can spy me a racist when I done read one….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Texas Lawyer Argues That Minorities Were Too Stupid To Understand Ballot Initiative They Just Passed”

Chris Christie, that redundant rotundity, has taken a vicious beating this week. The party of personal responsibility has personally held him responsible for Mitt Romney’s defeat. And it’s easy to see why. Instead of traveling to Pennsylvania to stump for Romney, he stayed behind in New Jersey so he could spoon some more with President Obama. What does it profit a man who gains a friendship with Bruce Springsteen, but loses his party the presidential election? Hell if I know.

Loads of people are saying that Christie blew his chance at ever being nominated by the Republicans because of his a-hugging and a-kissing on President Obama. I don’t know about all that. The fact is, Christie has and had about as much a chance at the Republican nomination for president as Rudy 9-11 before him. Just as that lisping vampire couldn’t have won a nationwide nominating process if the excess saliva in his mouth depended on it, so too was Christie doomed. The sort of abrasive politics that Christie practices may have found its level in the New Jersey governorship. And that’s probably okay.

Let’s talk sports….

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Today, playing the role of the scary black man, Jay-Z.

In a perfect dose of Friday news, a New York judge cited Jay-Z while allowing a lawsuit brought by public housing residents to continue against the City of New York.

The public housing residents and their visitors claim Fourth Amendment violations when visitors are detained as “trespassers” in public housing complexes. The city moved to kill the suit, but Judge Shira Scheindlin (S.D.N.Y. issued an 84-page opinion saying that the public housing residents could pursue their claims.

Normally, I throw my lot in with the segment of humanity who would rather be eating Brussels sprouts at a Phil Collins concert than reading 84-page public housing decisions. But Judge Scheindlin threw a Jay-Z reference into one of her footnotes. Fun! Unless you hate black people, in which case Judge Scheindlin is deeply subversive…

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I’d like to live in a world where the list of best law schools “for black people” was exactly the same as the list of best law schools “for people.”

I think we’re close. Black people are already conditioned to make the same stupid decisions based on the U.S. News rankings as white people have been making for a generation. And while there are still some unhelpful people who try to tell black people that the reasons for going to law school are somehow radically different for them than for everybody else, for the most part, people understand that black people go to law school for the same reason white people do: jobs.

Still, we’re not quite there, in large part because the strength and vibrancy of the black community can vary greatly between law schools. In this day and age, nobody should expect to be the “only” black student in their small section. Everybody should expect access to a diverse law school faculty. But some law schools do a better job of providing those kinds of environments than others.

Now, usually when I see a non-U.S. News law school ranking, I make fun of it. That’s because there is usually some kind of huge, methodological problem with them. And then, of course, there is the pathetic joke that is the Cooley Law School Rankings. In general, non-U.S. News rankings fail either by offering no new information than what is already captured by U.S. News, or by looking at completely stupid information that nobody cares about.

With that in mind, I opened The Black Student’s Guide To Law School with a lot of skepticism. I mean, unless they figured out how to capture the all important “racist apologist per oblivious white person” metric, I wasn’t sure there would be a lot of utility here.

But having thumbed through the guide and their ranking of the top 25 national law schools for black people, I have to say that there is a lot of good stuff in here. And I’m not just saying that because Yale Law plummets to #19….

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Judge Richard Cebull

Americans expect the courts to be fair, impartial, and open to all. Cebull clearly demonstrated that he does not have the temperament to serve as a federal judge, period.

Cebull may hope that taking senior status before the misconduct review concludes will help him avoid sanction. But he should be held accountable by the 9th Circuit regardless of his status.

Taking senior status is a half-measure that allows Cebull to continue hearing cases. That’s not appropriate. He should resign or retire immediately.

– Josh Glasstetter, Research Director of People For the American Way, responding to news that District Judge Richard Cebull, who sent that infamous, racially charged email about President Obama, will take senior status in March 2013.

FOIA requests: how do they work?

As our resident Juggalo columnist mentioned in August, the minions of crazed rednecks who worship at the altar of Violent J and Shaggy2Dope — otherwise known as the Insane Clown Posse — are not at all happy that the FBI has labelled them a gang. To defend their honor, as well as their right to get wasted and throw absurd parties in the middle of nowhere, the Juggalo nation has decided to launch a Faygo attack on the Pentagon sue the FBI.

Looks like these clowns aren’t clowning around….

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This doesn’t mean the same thing in all parts of the world.

It’s not unusual for politicians to spew racist or ignorant invectives about people and cultures when one is unfortunate enough to hear them speaking to their “base.” That’s just the sad fact of political life, and saying horrible things about “other” people is neither new nor uniquely American. All over the world, there are politicians who make their mark by inflaming the passions of the dumbest among us.

What’s unusual about this election cycle is that so far, politicians have really doubled down on their divisive, hateful, or frankly stupid speech when the red meat intended for true believers gets picked up by more moderate sources. We’re seeing it with Mitt Romney and this ridiculous notion that the world can be divided up between makers and takers. We’re seeing it with Todd Akin who has stubbornly refused to shut that whole thing down. And I’m sure it’s happening in local races all around the country.

A tipster sent us something about one such local race. Debbie Riddle is running for reelection as a Texas State Representative. She’s got some views which are the very definition of racism towards the Afghan people. But it’s not surprising that an openly racist woman has been elected by the good people of Texas. What’s surprising is how comfortable she is being this hateful even when talking to a student and fellow American citizen who just happens to be not white.

I mean, I’m not as prejudiced against this guy as Debbie Riddle is, even though he goes to some law school I’ve barely heard of….

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Leave those porn stars ALONE!

* Wal-Mart allegedly ripped up a woman’s hundos because a cashier thought they were fake. The bills were, in fact, real, and now the woman, who just wanted to do some Christmas shopping, is suing. Beat that, Ebenezer Scrooge! [Daily Mail]

* A few weeks back, we challenged law professors to come up with 50 Shades of Grey-based hypos. This fellow took us up on it. So here you go: 50 Shades of Admin Law. [Lawprawfblog]

* Hey Romney, you can take our lives health care, but you’ll never take our pornography! [Forbes]

* “Now enterng the Klu Klux Klan Memorial Highway.” Yeah, I agree, that really doesn’t have such a great ring to it. [Thomson Reuters News and Insight]

* If you just started your 1L year and are already thinking, “I’ve made a huge mistake,” you may still have time to escape with your bank account intact. [Texas Lawyer]

* Speaking of, a recent Delaware Supreme Court opinion worked out to $35,000 per hour for winning attorneys in the case. Now the losers, Grupo Mexico, have appealed by arguing, “You guys made a huge mistake!” [WSJ Deal Journal]

* Remember that HLS grad and former prosecutor who went a little bonkers in an airport Peet’s Coffee? Yeah, well, this time the bar threw her out. [State Bar of California via Daily Journal (subs. req.)]

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