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Harvard Law student apologizes to black professor for racist e-mail - which she'd sent in November

The Crimson has the latest on that e-mail by a Harvard Law Review editor.

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Yeah, she's sorry. Sorry she got caught. I'm betting she can kiss that lucrative clerkship goodbye.

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Federal clerkships are a one year gig that pay around 50,000/yr.

It's a lot more prestigious than it is lucrative.

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Oh come on. An HLS grad who is clerking usually has also been hired by a fancy law firm. Since those law firms like the prestige and inside-knowledge that comes from high-level clerking, they pay the difference between the "mere" 50k she'll make as a clerk and the salary she'd be making at the firm -- probably 160K. It may get structured as a bonus, but everyone knows how it works.

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...if her clerkship is rescinded. The judge she's scheduled to clerk for, Alex Kozinski, is a quirky conservative intellectual type. He also made headlines a year or two ago when somehow it was discovered that he maintained a supposedly private website containing all sorts of far out hard-core porn -- a story that broke when he was presiding over an obscenity case. Here's the Wikipedia entry on the judge.

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You guys should read her whole email. What ever happen to the principle "I disagree with you said, but I'll defend your right to say it." It was written in a private email to another correspondent who someone managed to grab hold and sent it to every Black Law Student Association in the country. She didn't even said it openly.

It was her private thoughts and it is a far cry to saying something like "I think black people are retarded and should not be allowed to go to law school."

Her only sin is keeping an open, scientific mind on something politically incorrect. Lack of proof means the possibility is not ruled out, no matter how grim and dis-likable the idea is. All she did was followed that mindset.

I keep myself anonymous as it seems voice that may get my future ruined.

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It's basically the Fox News approach to science, along the lines of:

Now, I'm not necessarily saying blacks are really inferior and stuff, but I think it's a question that should be answered.

Please. As for her right to say whatever the hell she wants? By all means; lets the rest of us decide whom to hire when looking for a lawyer in a few years.

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The likely repercussion of her statement is far too large for her statement. Okay, if I agree that she's is taking a Fox News approach (which I don't, but not worth arguing), I still don't think she deserves to be outed across the country. Such a level could mean she's finished as any serious lawyer. Being seen as a racist is a near finishing blow to many careers.

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Um, no. Snail mail yes, e-mail, no.

"Open and scientific mind"? Puhleeze. She and you merely demonstrate how ignorant you are of science. There is no genetic or scientific basis for defining race or racial differences within the human race. None. Race is entirely a social construct, and racial disparities are the result of the consequences of the resulting socially-determined differential access to resources - not the cause of them!

If you are confused about this, please put away the scientifically discredited "Bell Curve" and go read "Guns, Germs and Steel" for a properly scientific treatment of the subject.

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Everything you said is wrong. If her e-mail said that she thought differences were significantly because of genetics, then what you said would make sense. That's not what she said.

She said that a difference is not impossible. An idea doesn't become impossible just because there is no evidence of it. An idea also doesn't become impossible just because it's very politically incorrect.

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I did read her whole email and found it illumnating precisely because "she didn't even said it openly" (ahem). Had she known she would be addressing "every Black Law Student Association in the country" (!!!SCARY!!!), she would undoubtedly have chosen her words differently, and they wouldn't have revealed that she's so ignorant as to confuse her lifelong privilege, and the reverse effect of that privilege on unprivileged others, with genetic predisposition toward intelligence.

Certainly I defend her right to say what she said. Congress has passed no law infringing upon her email access. I don't, however, defend her right to be free from the repercussions of her own actions. The more people who know that Stephanie N. Grace, HLS 3L, thinks this, the better for all of us.

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"Look out how you use proud words.
When you let proud words go,
It is not easy to call them back.
They wear long boots,
Hard boots, they walk off proud;
They can’t hear you calling—
Look out how you use
Proud words."

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I'll defend her right to be a bigot, but what you suggest is actually striping the rest of us of our right to disagree with what she said. You suggest a culture focused on the lack of responsibility. At least for certain parties. The freedom of expression goes both ways, not only towards your favored parties. When one is free to express themselves, it follows the others must be free to express themselves in opposition. It is this is exchange of ideas that is at the heart of our democracy. Not simply the right of bigots to be bigots, but the right of the community to stand united in disapproval. I find laws in other countries banning hate speech to be repugnant. But it is most certainly not because I think hate-minded individuals should be free from consequences and condemnation. They should be free to express themselves so that others may draw sharp distinctions between bigotry and a better way.

And spare me the notion that she is keeping an "open mind". That is vividly disingenuous. She is quite selective about what she will be open to. Specifically, she is open to idea that black people are less intelligent than whites. Her notion of complete openness on the matter is that she could be convinced that they are just as intelligent as whites. You may not notice the option absent from her meanderings, but some of us do. She does not suggest the possibility that blacks are MORE intelligent. The omission reveals the clear bias that she tries to cloak in facade of open-mindedness. Those who share the essential prejudice obviously see nothing wrong, but the rest of us see a considerable warning sign. Never mind the flaw in presuming that judging something like intelligence across an entire race of humanity is possible much less meaningful, the fact is that her bias is very unmistakable in how she constructs the tight confines of her open-mindedness.

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She does not suggest the possibility that blacks are MORE intelligent.

There are plenty of historical references, including encyclopedias and other "objective" sources, that once steadfastly maintained that Asians were an inferior race to whites. Yet now we have the Mythical Asian American Student with super powers of scholastic achievement! To suggest that a transition between poor and uneducated to high-acheiving and prosperous is a "genetic" change or other "innate" capability change over a half century is preposterous. Somehow, I don't think that our law student with questionable reasoning and research skills will be sounding off about the superior intelligence of Asians when compared to whites ...

A true, scientific, unbiased prior hypothesis would be "does the intelligence of distinct ethnic/racial groups vary even when important socio-cultural determinents of intelligence (e.g. blood lead in childhood) are controlled for?", not "blacks might be less intelligent than whites".

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Here's your answer.

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She learned her skepticism from Larry Summers.

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... for people who insist on saying stupid things. A free exchange of ideas does not mean you get to say stupid, unfounded, and discredited things and be immune to the consequences of your folly - particularly when you should have the research skills to know better!

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Best reaction to this discussion I've heard yet.

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and look what happened to him. Appointed to one of the most influential jobs in the country. Maybe that's all this young woman was doing-angling to become a cabinet adviser to President Palin or whomever.

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I'm glad she was outed, she would never pose that question to a black person because she obviously knows how inflammatory her statement is. Your freedom of speech doesn't protect you from the ramifications and consequences of what's said.

It infuriates me that someone so bias & bigoted could hold a position of power an influence. It's 2010 why are people still trying to find a way to insult black people in a way they can get away with it? What have we done to deserve this kind of treatment?

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I'm not going to argue the role of nature vs nurture. However, I will say it is still a very open question despite of what you said.

I still think she her questioning in a private email of private thoughts does not deserve her to be outed as she is being right now. Even Abraham Lincoln, in his letters, held some private thoughts about African-Americans that may be outed today. A person can easily have, on the surface, contradictory thoughts. Still didn't kept Lincoln seeing that slavery is wrong or any other actions. Having a thought and believing in it is different things.

BTW, I read Guns, Germs, and Steel and I do find it a great book. Still doesn't change my mind that she is getting more flak that she deserves...

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