Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Massive New Study Of Affirmative Action Underway

Post below lifted from Discriminations. See the original for links

Long-time readers will know that I have referred often to the work of UCLA law professor Richard Sander on the effect of "diversity" in law school admissions, especially his "mismatch" theory that racial preferences have actually tended to reduce the number of black lawyers by placing black law students in institutions where they cluster at the bottom of their classes, fail to finish law school, and fail the bar exam in highly disproportionate numbers. My most recent discussion is here, dealing with the outrageous refusal of the California Bar Association to allow Sander and a team of scholars access to its data. Some earlier discussions can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

Despite efforts of groups like the California Bar Association, however, in the long run it is difficult to prevent scholars from doing research. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reports today, Sander has organized a national consortium of about 30 professors and graduate students from various disciplines to study the effects of affirmative action.
.... In an interview last week, Mr. Sander said most of the researchers involved with the new consortium "are advocates of affirmative action" but "think we need to avoid doing things that are harmful."

The research consortium is known as Project Seaphe, with the acronym standing for Scale and Effect of Admissions Preferences in Higher Education. Its members, who include sociologists, economists, and law professors, intend to undertake at least 18 different studies using the information they obtain from higher-education institutions, with the tentative goal of discussing their findings at a conference sometime in 2009, Mr. Sander said.

The group has submitted freedom-of-information requests to nearly all of the nation's more than 80 public law schools. About 20 promptly gave the consortium the student data it sought, and most seem willing to fulfill the consortium's information request, Mr. Sander said.
Some, however, are more willing than others.
Charles E. Daye, a professor of law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who has harshly criticized Mr. Sander's past research as biased against affirmative action, expressed suspicion that Project Seaphe had some sort of agenda. "I am not going to characterize the study," he said, but "I can tell you they have a project that is on a mission."
I wonder what he would have said if he had characterized it. "Despite his misgivings about Project Seaphe," however,
Mr. Daye has agreed to provide the consortium with the findings of his own pending study on diversity on law-school campuses. Although he is not yet ready to release his results, he said, he is obliged to share such information under the terms of the Law School Admission Council grant financing his research.
Much obliged. In what may be a preview of what the data collected by Project Seaphe will show, in a pending lawsuit challenging Michigan's Prop. 2 the University of Michigan has released data for three of the 11 years requested - 2004, 2005, and 2006.
In a written statement submitted to the court in October, Mr. Sander said the data show "very large disparities in bar passage rates across racial lines," with black graduates of the law school being about eight times as likely as white graduates of the law school to fail state bar examinations on their first attempt.
Prof. Sander's work argues that many of those black Michigan law graduates who failed the bar exam would have passed if they had attended less selective law schools where their grades would have been better and their background and abilities were more closely aligned with those other students. But that question aside, I also wonder how many more black lawyers Michigan produced than it would have produced without the preferences extended to black applicants.

Consider the following data from Judge Bernard Friedman's district court opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, which I quoted and discussed here. Judge Friedman in the passage below is referring to the effect of racial preferences presented by the University of Michigan's own expert witness, Dr. Stephen Raudenbush:
In Dr. Raudenbush's view, a "race-blind" admissions system would have a "very dramatic," negative effect on minority admissions but only a slight effect on non-minority admissions, due to the vastly greater number of non-minority applicants. In the year 2000, 35% of underrepresented minority applicants and 40% of non-minority applicants were admitted. See Exhibit 187. Dr. Raudenbush predicted that if race were not considered, then only 10% of underrepresented minority applicants and 44% of non-minority applicants would be admitted. If correct, this would mean that in the year 2000 only 46 underrepresented minority applicants would have been admitted (instead of 170 who actually were admitted), of whom only 16 would enroll (instead of 58 who actually enrolled). Under this scenario, underrepresented minority students would have constituted 4% of the entering class in 2000, instead of 14.5% as actually occurred. See Exhibit 189.
In other, fewer, words, according to Dr. Raudenbush, for the class admitted in 2000:

* 170 "underrepresented minorities" were preferentially offered admission.

* 58 of them enrolled, making up 14.5% of the total entering class of 400 students.

* Under "race-blind" admissions, 46 minorities would have been offered admission and 16 of them, 4% of the entering class, would have enrolled.

Thus, the above class contained 42 students (about 10% of the entering class of around 400) who Michigan acknowledges would not have been admitted but for their race (the 58 who actually enrolled minus the 16 who would would have enrolled even without the preferences). Applying the results Prof. Sander found in the Michigan data for 2004-2006 to the above numbers, those 42 preferentially admitted students failed the bar exam at a rate 8 times higher than their peers who were admitted without preferences.

I haven't seen the actual numbers, but it would be useful to know how many of the 42 did pass. That number - 5, 10, 15, whatever it is - is the measure of what Michigan accomplished with its preferences. And the cost of those few numbers? As I noted in my post linked above:
Thus, according to Michigan, 124 white, Asian, or unpreferred minority applicants were prevented from attending the UM law school in one year because of their race or ethnicity. The 2000 entering class of 400 students contained 42 students, or a bit over 10% of the class, who in Michigan's estimation would not have been there if their race or ethnicity had not been taken into account. 27% of the "underrepresented minorities" who applied would have been accepted under a non-discriminatory, colorblind admissions system; 73% of those who were offered admission would not have been admitted without the racial preference they were given. Thus, 124 whites, Asians, etc., who would have been admitted under a race-blind admissions system were denied admission in order to produce a yield of 42 more "underrepresented minority" admits than a race-blind system would have produced, or about three race-based denials for every one of the preferentially admitted entering students.
Whatever else they may be, racial preferences are a pretty expensive proposition, however one calculates the cost of depriving 124 applicants of an opportunity they sought because of their race.

THE NYT perpetuates a false Stereotype

Post below lifted from Taranto. See the original for links

There is a school of thought in journalism according to which it is bad form to mention the race or ethnicity of a criminal suspect or defendant unless there is a compelling reason to do so. The idea is that such references gratuitously perpetuate stereotypes while imparting information that is of no use to the reader. But racial and ethnic groups are not the only ones who take offense at such stereotypes, as the New York Times reports:
Veterans groups have long deplored the attention paid to the minority of soldiers who fail to readjust to civilian life. After World War I, the American Legion passed a resolution asking the press "to subordinate whatever slight news value there may be in playing up the ex-service member angle in stories of crime or offense against the peace." An article in the Veterans of Foreign Wars magazine in 2006 referred with disdain to the pervasive "wacko-vet myth," which, veterans say, makes it difficult for them to find jobs.
The wacko-vet myth is alive and well. This very passage comes from a 7,000-word front-page piece in yesterday's Times titled "Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles":
The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment--along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems--appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.
Are they depraved on account of they were deployed? In fact, the Times's data are not sufficient to establish a correlation, much less a casual relationship, between stateside homicide and previous service in Afghanistan or Iraq. To determine whether there's such a correlation, we'd need to know, in addition to the number of war vets charged with homicide, the corresponding figure for the general population, as well as the denominators--i.e., the number of war vets and the size of the population as a whole. A serious analysis would also take into account the demographic characteristics of the veteran population, which is disproportionately young and male.

This the Times does not do. Power Line's John Hinderaker conducts some back-of-the-envelope calculations and finds that if the Times's numbers are correct, "the rate of homicides committed by military personnel who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan is only a fraction of the homicide rate for other Americans aged 18 to 24." The Times, however, pre-empts this line of argument by acknowledging a defect in its methodology:
To compile and analyze its list, The Times conducted a search of local news reports, examined police, court and military records and interviewed the defendants, their lawyers and families, the victims' families and military and law enforcement officials. This reporting most likely uncovered only the minimum number of such cases, given that not all killings, especially in big cities and on military bases, are reported publicly or in detail. Also, it was often not possible to determine the deployment history of other service members arrested on homicide charges.
If the numbers aren't comprehensive, what exactly is the Times trying to prove here? This is where things get interesting:
The Times used the same methods to research homicides involving all active-duty military personnel and new veterans for the six years before and after the present wartime period began with the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. This showed an 89 percent increase during the present wartime period, to 349 cases from 184, about three-quarters of which involved Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The increase occurred even though there have been fewer troops stationed in the United States in the last six years and the American homicide rate has been, on average, lower.
What the Times has discovered, then, is a dramatic increase in the number of news reports in which homicide defendants are identified as servicemen or recent veterans. Does this mean that those who've served their country are more crime-prone now than they were in peacetime? Or does it mean that reporters are more prone to perpetuate the wacko-vet myth than they were during peacetime? The Times is trying to prove the truth of a media stereotype by references to media reports. It might have proved nothing more than that it is a stereotype.

Be slow to wrath

Unfortunately, America has developed a subset of our population who have become sensitized to, and deliberately offended by much of the world outside of themselves... to words that offend them, to odors that offend them, to sights that offend them, and to ideas that offend them.

Even when the "offense" is not directed at them personally, these people take offense in the name of those who are not there, but they will often act offended when no offense was intended... even when nobody else can understand their being offended. It is seemingly enough for them that they alone are offended.

"Taking offense" is a judgment by someone, a decision made for any number of reasons. Some actually seek to be offended, as a means of trying to control an argument or conversation. Being offended makes them a victim placing the other person as the one in the wrong.

Far worse than the sensitivity and taking of personal offense is the attitude that we all share a responsibility to prevent those people from being offended. These folks have no hesitation in seeking organization or government force to prevent and eliminate that which offends them. They beseech officials with a peculiar display of proven methods... victimized helplessness combined with angry, self-righteous fervor. They have learned to expand their effectiveness by claiming that their fervor represents a large number of people who share their offense but who never seem to say so. They have become expert at presenting isolated incidents as indicative of a widespread problem... of presenting their "offense" as merely the tip of the iceberg....

I am intellectually offended by those who take automatically quick offense at specific words. Here in Minnesota, one of the primo nanny states, I could walk down the street wearing a shirt with the word "guns" on it, and easily identify some take-offense folks. I would get some dirty looks, and maybe even a verbal attack, just for the word. Some would shield their children's eyes.

A few years ago, I helped with the formation of a local group of the Pink Pistols, a gay/lesbian/etc. gun group. The reaction of others was a riot. We heard "what-the-hell's" from baffled conservatives who were offended by the idea of "gayness" in any form, but admired that gays understood that guns could be used for self-defense. Liberals could not criticize our "gun nuts" because they had already decided that criticizing "gayness" in any way is offensive. I loved the effect of Pink Pistols... it removed the easy "take-offense" attitude from many people, and actually made people on both extremes rethink their attitudes. If I changed my shirt from "guns" to "gay guns" most of the reactions I encountered with just "guns" would disappear.

It's all too easy for us to "choose up sides" and assume that anyone who isn't on our side is an enemy, and to then take specific words and phrases as a gunshot in our direction that prompts an immediate volley of return fire. Those are tendencies we need to strenuously avoid.


Muslims must do more to integrate, says British poll

A majority of Britons believe that Muslims need to do more to integrate into society and want tighter restrictions on immigration, an opinion poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph shows. However, the population is divided about whether the breakdown between communities has reached such a level that there are "no-go areas" for non-Muslims.

The poll comes at the end of a week in which Muslim integration has been pushed to the top of the political agenda following an article in The Sunday Telegraph by the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, who claimed that Islamic extremism in Britain had created no-go areas. His comments have been backed by church leaders in majority Muslim areas who have disclosed that their congregations have been targeted by militant Islamists in a campaign of intimidation which has seen churches vandalised and converts to Christianity attacked. They say that extremists are determined to make non-Muslim residents feel unwelcome, with the ultimate aim of driving them out.

Today's ICM poll shows that Britons are divided on the issue, with 35 per cent agreeing with the bishop, 38 per cent disagreeing, and the rest unsure. More than half - 56 per cent - were critical of the failure of Islamic communities to integrate into society. Only one in four felt that they had been successful.

Bishop Nazir-Ali expressed concern that attempts had been made in some areas to impose an Islamic character, for example by amplifying the call to prayer from mosques. One in three of those questioned in the poll said that they would be unhappy to have a mosque built in their neighbourhood compared with a quarter who would support such a move. Although 51 per cent agreed that the Muslim community enriched Britain and was not a threat, 37 per cent disagreed.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said that the poll results showed a widespread feeling that the Government had failed. "This demonstrates that the Government's actions, both to control immigration and to advance integration, are believed to have failed by the vast majority of the population," he said.

Church leaders in communities with large concentrations of Muslims said that Christians were being targeted. An east London vicar who had delivered Christmas leaflets in his parish said he was told to stay away from "Muslim areas". He said: "Despite this being a mixed area, where Muslims make up only about 15 per cent of the population, I was told that the leaflets were offensive and could make people angry." Another churchman said his path had been blocked by Muslim youths as he drove through a district of Oldham, Lancashire, last year. "They wanted to know why I was coming into 'their' area," he said. A priest ministering in the Manchester district of Rusholme said he knew of "dozens of cases" in which Muslim converts to Christianity had been attacked. Another church leader said that Asian Christians in Leicester feared being identified when leaving churches. "They are scared of being stopped and beaten up if they are found carrying Bibles," he said.

None of the church leaders we spoke to wished to be identified for fear of retaliation, but Don Horrocks, of the Evangelical Alliance, said: "It's increasingly difficult for non-Muslims to live in areas of high Muslim density, especially if they are practising Christians."

Some commentators fear that the aim of Islamist groups such as Tablighi Jamaat, Hizb-ut-Tahir and the Deobandi sect is to drive non-Muslims out of areas such as Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire, and Oldham along with neighbourhoods in Luton, Leicester, Birmingham and Leyton, in east London. The ultra-conservative Deobandi movement, which produced the Taliban in Afghanistan and some of whose British followers preach hatred of Christians, Hindus and Jews, is thought to be in control of almost half of Britain's 1,350 mosques, reports claim.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, the director of the Barnabas Trust, which helps persecuted Christians, said: "Muslims are being told not to integrate into British society, but to set up separate enclaves where they can operate according to sharia law." He said the process of "cleansing" Muslim-majority areas of non-Muslims had already begun, with white residents urged to leave and churches threatened.

However, a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said that research showed that 81 per cent of people say that they feel that people from different backgrounds get on well together in their local areas. "People of all faiths make a huge contribution to British life. Community cohesion is key to maintaining harmonious communities. That is why our strategy puts an emphasis on promoting integration and shared British values."

Most Britons believe that asylum seekers and immigrants are taking advantage of human rights laws, a survey shows. The poll, carried out for the Ministry of Justice, found that 57 per cent agreed that foreigners and asylum seekers are exploiting the Human Rights Act for their own purposes. Another 40 per cent thought the Act had caused more problems than it had solved.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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