Friday, August 24, 2007
About the Controversy over the Call to use the Term "Allah"
Take the ruckus over the suggestion that non-Moslems refer to God as
There have been countless screams of anguish over this.
Except Allah just means God, is similar linguistically to the Hebrew El,
and Allah is commonly used as a name for God by Jews from Middle East
countries, and in fact by Israelis as well in general, including religious
Jews. Insh'Allah or Chamdu L'lahi are common uses. This is all because
the Allah that Moslems worship is the same single God that Jews worship.
A Jew may pray to God inside a Mosque because Jews and Moslems pray to the
same single God.
And while I confess that I never really understood fully the relation
between the Father and Jesus in Christianity, Allah is the same God as God
the Father in Christianity. In other words, there is nothing offensive
about Jews or other monotheists who are not Moslems using that name for
Then there is the ruckus over the past week in Israel over a crematorium.
Seems there was a crematorium operating near Tel Aviv. Cremation is
generally considered to be prohibited by Judaism (and Islam), because it
constitutes disrespect to body remains. But the crematorium was only
disposing of those who requested it be done with their remains. There are
LOTS of forms of disrespect to the body that are legal and common in
Israel, like tattoos and body piercing. There are Christians in Israel
for whom cremation is NOT prohibited. There are other things regarded by
halakha as abominations, far worse than cremation, that are legal in
Israel and in which the state does not intervene. So why turn the
crematorium into a political issue? Those who find it repulsive, and all
Jews who have respect for their own tradition, should not ask to have it
done to their remains.
2. Maybe he can now get a job at Ben Gurion University?
3. Leftist Media Moonbat Yaron London has a conniption over the study
that claims going to synagogue makes you live longer:
4. Well, at least she is not proposing giving the school girls a surgical
5. The REAL Apartheid regime:
7. Subject: affirmative apartheid does not work
August 24, 2007
Affirmative Action Backfires
By GAIL HERIOT
August 24, 2007; Page A15
Three years ago, UCLA law professor Richard Sander published an explosive,
fact-based study of the consequences of affirmative action in American law
schools in the Stanford Law Review. Most of his findings were grim, and they
caused dismay among many of the champions of affirmative action -- and indeed,
among those who were not.
Easily the most startling conclusion of his research: Mr. Sander calculated
that there are fewer black attorneys today than there would have been if law
schools had practiced color-blind admissions -- about 7.9% fewer by his
reckoning. He identified the culprit as the practice of admitting minority
students to schools for which they are inadequately prepared. In essence, they
have been "matched" to the wrong school.
No one claims the findings in Mr. Sander's study, "A Systemic Analysis of
Affirmative Action in American Law Schools," are the last word on the subject.
Although so far his work has held up to scrutiny at least as well as that of
his critics, all fair-minded scholars agree that more research is necessary
before the "mismatch thesis" can be definitively accepted or rejected.
Unfortunately, fair-minded scholars are hard to come by when the issue is
affirmative action. Some of the same people who argue Mr. Sander's data are
inconclusive are now actively trying to prevent him from conducting follow-up
research that might yield definitive answers. If racial preferences really are
causing more harm than good, they apparently don't want you -- or anyone else
-- to know.
Take William Kidder, a University of California staff advisor and co-author of
a frequently cited attack of Sander's study. When Mr. Sander and his
co-investigators sought bar passage data from the State Bar of California that
would allow analysis by race, Mr. Kidder passionately argued that access should
be denied, because disclosure "risks stigmatizing African American attorneys."
At the same time, the Society of American Law Teachers, which leans so heavily
to the left it risks falling over sideways, gleefully warned that the state bar
would be sued if it cooperated with Mr. Sander.
Sadly, the State Bar's Committee of Bar Examiners caved under the pressure. The
committee members didn't formally explain their decision to deny Mr. Sander's
request for this data (in which no names would be disclosed), but the root
cause is clear: Over the last 40 years, many distinguished citizens --
university presidents, judges, philanthropists and other leaders -- have built
their reputations on their support for race-based admissions. Ordinary citizens
have found secure jobs as part of the resulting diversity bureaucracy.
If the policy is not working, they, too, don't want anyone to know.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hopes that it can persuade the State Bar to
reconsider. Its soon-to-be released report on affirmative action in law schools
specifically calls for state bar authorities to cooperate with qualified
scholars studying the mismatch issue. The recommendation is modest. The
commission doesn't claim that Mr. Sander is right or his critics wrong. It
simply seeks to encourage and facilitate important research.
The Commission's deeper purpose is to remind those who support and administer
affirmative action polices that good intentions are not enough. Consequences
also matter. And conscious, deliberately chosen ignorance is not a good-faith
Mr. Sander's original article noted that when elite law schools lower their
academic standards in order to admit a more racially diverse class, schools one
or two tiers down feel they must do the same. As a result, there is now a
serious gap in academic credentials between minority and non-minority law
students across the pecking order, with the average black student's academic
index more than two standard deviations below that of his average white
Not surprisingly, such a gap leads to problems. Students who attend schools
where their academic credentials are substantially below those of their fellow
students tend to perform poorly.
The reason is simple: While some students will outperform their entering
academic credentials, just as some students will underperform theirs, most
students will perform in the range that their academic credentials predict. As
a result, in elite law schools, 51.6% of black students had first-year grade
point averages in the bottom 10% of their class as opposed to only 5.6% of
white students. Nearly identical performance gaps existed at law schools at all
levels. This much is uncontroversial.
Supporters of race-based admissions argue that, despite the likelihood of poor
grades, minority students are still better off accepting the benefit of a
preference and graduating from a more prestigious school. But Mr. Sander's
research suggests that just the opposite may be true -- that law students, no
matter what their race, may learn less, not more, when they enroll in schools
for which they are not academically prepared. Students who could have performed
well at less competitive schools may end up lost and demoralized. As a result,
they may fail the bar.
Specifically, Mr. Sander found that when black and white students with similar
academic credentials compete against each other at the same school, they earn
about the same grades. Similarly, when black and white students with similar
grades from the same tier law school take the bar examination, they pass at
about the same rate.
Yet, paradoxically, black students as a whole have dramatically lower bar
passage rates than white students with similar credentials. Something is wrong.
The Sander study argued that the most plausible explanation is that, as a
result of affirmative action, black and white students with similar credentials
are not attending the same schools. The white students are more likely to be
attending a school that takes things a little more slowly and spends more time
on matters that are covered on the bar exam. They are learning, while their
minority peers are struggling at more elite schools.
Mr. Sander calculated that if law schools were to use color-blind admissions
policies, fewer black law students would be admitted to law schools (3,182
students instead of 3,706), but since those who were admitted would be
attending schools where they have a substantial likelihood of doing well, fewer
would fail or drop out (403 vs. 670). In the end, more would pass the bar on
their first try (1,859 vs. 1,567) and more would eventually pass the bar (2,150
vs. 1,981) than under the current system of race preferences. Obviously, these
figures are just approximations, but they are troubling nonetheless.
Mr. Sander has his critics -- some thoughtful, some just strident -- but so far
none has offered a plausible alternative explanation for the data. Of course,
Mr. Sander doesn't need to be proven 100% correct for his research to be
devastating news for affirmative-action supporters.
Suppose the consequences of race-based admissions turn out to be a wash --
neither increasing nor decreasing the number of minority attorneys. In that
case, few people would think it worth the costs, not least among them the human
costs that result from the failure of the supposed beneficiaries to graduate
and pass the bar.
Under current practices, only 45% of blacks who enter law school pass the bar
on their first attempt as opposed to over 78% of whites. Even after multiple
tries, only 57% of blacks succeed. The rest are often saddled with student
debt, routinely running as high as $160,000, not counting undergraduate debt.
How great an increase in the number of black attorneys is needed to justify
The most important other recommendation of the Civil Rights Commission is a
call for transparency. As a matter of consumer fairness, law school applicants
-- regardless of race -- need to know the statistical likelihood that someone
with their academic credentials will successfully graduate and pass the bar.
Once informed, they can better decide whether to undertake the risk of
attending that particular school, or any law school at all. If law schools are
unwilling to undertake this simple reform, it should be mandated by law.
Under current practices, law school applicants are at the mercy of admissions
officers for that information; it is almost never provided except on a
class-wide basis where success rates are positively misleading. Minority
students whose academic credentials are substantially below their average
classmates are lulled into believing that they are just as likely to graduate
and pass the bar. When they don't, they may be stuck with the bills, not to
mention the loss of several years of their lives.
The problem is that the admissions officer's job is to enroll students, not to
draw the risks of failure to their attention. Indeed, in some cases, the
officer may be frantic to enroll minority students in order to comply with the
stringent new diversity standards of the American Bar Association Council on
Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. As the federal government's
accrediting agency for law schools, the ABA Council determines whether a law
school will be eligible for the federal student-loan program. The law school
that fails to satisfy its diversity requirements does so at its peril -- as a
number of law school deans can amply attest.
Decades of law students have relied upon the good faith of law school officials
to tell them what they needed to know. For the 43% of black law students who
never became lawyers, maybe that reliance was misplaced.
Ms. Heriot is professor of law at the University of San Diego and a member of
the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
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