Shocker: The Bar Exam is Racist

 

The State of Washington’s highest court has determined that its bar exam is racist.  A lower passing score and “alternative pathways” into the legal profession have been mandated.  It would be nice if the esteemed justices could point to a single exam question and explain how it is racist. How exactly does one go about excluding minority test-takers from correctly answering questions about the law of property or about search and seizure?  Smuggle in references to polo, yachting,  formal table settings or tuna-on-white sandwiches?

Systemic racism is a near-magical thing.  White people are pulling it off and yet have no idea how exactly we are doing it, so we can’t stop it.  It is much like the way women have always been intensely drawn to me.  Sure, there are some obvious assets present but clearly, there is some ineffable extra something at play that I no longer bother to try to define.  And as with Washington Supreme Court Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis’s grasp of the reality of systemic racism, there is just no way to fully capture the phenomenon and its causes other than acceptance of its validity and proceed from there.

You can’t hide systemic racism from the trained eye.  The  Bar Licensure Task Force explains:

In the 1960s, while the Civil Rights movement phased out formal racism, a ‘veiled or nonformal racism came in—racism under the guise of excellence, fairness, equal opportunity, all the things that make up the constellation of attitudes and standards we call merit.

If I am ever facing criminal charges I fervently hope that my lawyer got his or her position very much “under the guise of excellence” and that whole merit thing.

A long time ago, back before Kendi X invented/discovered systemic racism,  I heard a representative of the law school of a prominent historically black university accuse the DC bar examiners of discriminating against black law school graduates.  He was asked how that was possible given that test-takers get a number which is the only identification the graders see. He replied that the black students had poorer language skills and due to the educational disadvantages in a racist society, they also often had a weaker grasp of the subject matter.  The graders notice these deficiencies, immediately assume the test-taker is black, and issue a low score out of racism.  (I sincerely hope that moron was fired after that exchange appeared in print.)

Now, he could have just issued a blanket accusation of racism because there is no longer a need to look for specific causes which might call for specific solutions. We have “systemic racism” as an all-purpose explanation.

So, we must assume that it is that ineffable white power that makes non-whites flunk the bar exam.  Because there is nothing we can do about it, in fairness we must just declare such victims lawyers. Alas, if only there were some other way to advance the well-being, maximize the talents and promote opportunities for non-magical races…

Forty-some years ago when I taught SAT prep math in church basements to black high school kids struggling because of a nearly nonexistent middle school skills foundation, their parents used to bring refreshments to the class, stay involved, and remind their kids that every educational opportunity had value.  Thank God, the burden of the pursuit of excellence is finally over and black kids can just stay unskilled and bask in their victimhood and await “alternative paths” to professional careers provided by benevolent white liberals.

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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Old Bathos: He replied that the black students had poorer language skills and due to the educational disadvantages in a racist society they also often had a weaker grasp of the subject matter.  The graders notice these deficiencies, immediately assume the test-taker is black, and issue a low score out of racism.

    Oh my goodness.  That’s just amazing.

    • #1
  2. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Old Bathos: Systemic racism is a near-magical thing.  …  It is much like the way women have always been intensely drawn to me. 

    And the power of such magical forces can be a difficult problem to deal with.  You’ve managed admirably, but not everyone can be expected to handle things as well.  I think that’s what Kendi is talking about.

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Years ago I read an interesting article that I wish I could find now. It reported on research into the high percentage of blacks within our prison populations.

    The researchers admitted that they expected to find evidence of “systemic racism” throughout the legal system. They did not find it.

    Instead, to their astonishment, the number one factor that accounted for the high rates of incarceration was the “quality” (not sure what they meant by that) of the legal counsel. The people incarcerated usually had public defenders; the people who were not incarcerated for similar crimes had private attorneys.

    If anyone needs the best attorneys out there, it would be the low-income black people. I would think.

    Sounds like we need better prepared lawyers than we have now. As usual, the government is actually making things worse for the people they are purporting to help.

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Old Bathos: If I am ever facing criminal charges I fervently hope that my lawyer got his or her position very much “under the guise of excellence” and that whole merit thing.

    • #4
  5. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    As a four-decade + member of the WA State Bar, IMO, this Court is what you get from one-party rule by Democrats for the past 39 years. Mostly, when a seat becomes vacant by term expiration, retirement, or death, the governor appoints a replacement to serve the remainder of the term, and then the new “justice” must stand for a retention election. Contests for an open seat are exceedingly rare, in part because the retiring occupant owes at least some of his or her position on the court to the governor, so will retire before the term expires, to allow the appointment / retention game to play out.

    I can only recall one instance when the retention candidate was defeated by  a challenger.  And with Gov. Dimslee [Inslee] in office since 2013, this Court has his stamp all over it —  occupants who are radical leftists, lovers of big government, and with minimal common  sense.

    • #5
  6. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Percival (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: If I am ever facing criminal charges I fervently hope that my lawyer got his or her position very much “under the guise of excellence” and that whole merit thing.

    The Woke have an idea of white guys back in the day being promoted just because they were white. In actuality they had to compete very hard against other whites. Honestly non-whites were often excluded from competition but when they were in included they had to compete effectively against a competent work force. 

    Think of the Tuskegee airman or Jackie Robinson. Excellence was demanded. 

    • #6
  7. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Some of us knew the first time we watched “Idiocracy” that the film was a prediction and not a comedy.

    • #7
  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Wait until they move onto the medical licensing board…

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: If I am ever facing criminal charges I fervently hope that my lawyer got his or her position very much “under the guise of excellence” and that whole merit thing.

    The Woke have an idea of white guys back in the day being promoted just because they were white. In actuality they had to compete very hard against other whites. Honestly non-whites were often excluded from competition but when they were in included they had to compete effectively against a competent work force.

    Think of the Tuskegee airman or Jackie Robinson. Excellence was demanded.

    It has nothing to do with color. 15,000 total flight hours ought to do it. 500+ hours on make and model would be nice.

    • #9
  10. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Were there any black students who answered the questions correctly and therefore fooled the racist examiners, who accidentally passed them?

    And were there any white students who bombed the test and therefore accidentally failed? What is to be done??

    Seriously, if a black student answered everything correctly and then they found out he was black so they found a way to fail him, then we have some racism. Other than that, just study harder, as everyone who passes, black or white, has to. It’s not complicated.

    We are doomed.

    • #10
  11. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    When I took the bar, a guy in the row behind me and two seats down puked.  That’s gotta be worse than racism.  Yet I overcame.

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    When I took the bar, a guy in the row behind me and two seats down puked. That’s gotta be worse than racism. Yet I overcame.

    Upwind or downwind? 

    • #12
  13. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Wait until they move onto the medical licensing board…

    Or the pharmacy licensing board or the real estate licensing board or the engineering licensing board or ……………

    There are quite a few professions which require the passing of a number of tests.

    And, they will all be compromised along racial lines…

    • #13
  14. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Right result, wrong reason. The reason we require most licensing is to cull the herd by restricting access to those who can jump through approved hoops not to assure competence.  Reputation and performance are better guarantees of protection but of course the ‘woke’ crowd doesn’t see that.

    • #14
  15. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    Were there any black students who answered the questions correctly and therefore fooled the racist examiners, who accidentally passed them?

    And were there any white students who bombed the test and therefore accidentally failed? What is to be done??

    Seriously, if a black student answered everything correctly and then they found out he was black so they found a way to fail him, then we have some racism. Other than that, just study harder, as everyone who passes, black or white, has to. It’s not complicated.

    We are doomed.

    I met an older lawyer who had been one of several black law school graduates who took the bar exam in Montgomery AL contrary to local bar preferences in the early 1960s. He said they got together and had dinner the night before the test and discovered that their test numbers were in sequence. By an odd coincidence all the black test-takers were in a specific numerical range.  He was the only one in the group that passed. He observed that a couple of the others were smart graduates of top northern schools who probably did better than he did but that the examiners knew he was only taking the bar out of defiance and would likely return north. The others might stay and practice so they were flunked. That is what actual racism looks like–the racists need to actually do something to stop others from succeeding.

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    We’re only one step away from doing away with all tests altogether . . .

    • #16
  17. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Wait until they move onto the medical licensing board…

    They’ve been all over it for years.

    • #17
  18. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    FWIW for the first hundred years the US created lawyers by way of apprenticeship rather than exams. 

    • #18
  19. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    TBA (View Comment):

    FWIW for the first hundred years the US created lawyers by way of apprenticeship rather than exams.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • #19
  20. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    TBA (View Comment):

    FWIW for the first hundred years the US created lawyers by way of apprenticeship rather than exams.

    That was before the US Code had ballooned into thousands of sections, and before administrative agencies had gained the power to make “rules” that have the force of federal law, and before Americans all became capable of “three felonies a day,” as one author I believe titled his book, looking at the legal leviathan, not to mention the laws of the fifty states.

    • #20
  21. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    Were there any black students who answered the questions correctly and therefore fooled the racist examiners, who accidentally passed them?

    And were there any white students who bombed the test and therefore accidentally failed? What is to be done??

    Seriously, if a black student answered everything correctly and then they found out he was black so they found a way to fail him, then we have some racism. Other than that, just study harder, as everyone who passes, black or white, has to. It’s not complicated.

    We are doomed.

    I met an older lawyer who had been one of several black law school graduates who took the bar exam in Montgomery AL contrary to local bar preferences in the early 1960s. He said they got together and had dinner the night before the test and discovered that their test numbers were in sequence. By an odd coincidence all the black test-takers were in a specific numerical range. He was the only one in the group that passed. He observed that a couple of the others were smart graduates of top northern schools who probably did better than he did but that the examiners knew he was only taking the bar out of defiance and would likely return north. The others might stay and practice so they were flunked. That is what actual racism looks like–the racists need to actually do something to stop others from succeeding.

    That is a an amazing of real racism. It shocks me to hear those stories and how common they were back in the day but it also gladdens me that we don’t live in that world anymore.

    • #21
  22. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Instead, to their astonishment, the number one factor that accounted for the high rates of incarceration was the “quality” (not sure what they meant by that) of the legal counsel. The people incarcerated usually had public defenders; the people who were not incarcerated for similar crimes had private attorneys.

    The good thing about public defenders is that they get plenty of experience in trials, negotiations and otherwise. The bad thing is that they are government employees typically overworked. The result is that they do not always have the necessary time to devote to particular case, because of the pressure on them and their huge case volumes.

    No matter how dedicated, the financial incentives to public defenders are to clear up their caseload as quickly as possible. The incentive is to get there clients to plead out or do whatever else that may end the case, so the public defender can go on to the next client. Because of those pressures, one never can tell whether the public defender is really doing the best job for the client, although I’m sure that they believe they are at the time.

    Trials are very time-consuming, so public defenders try to avoid them. That said, they cannot always avoid trial and usually develop solid trial experience, often more trial experience than private counsel is likely to have

    • #22
  23. Ray Gunner Coolidge
    Ray Gunner
    @RayGunner

    Old Bathos:

    The  Bar Licensure Task Force explains:

    In the 1960s, while the Civil Rights movement phased out formal racism, a ‘veiled or nonformal racism came in—racism under the guise of excellence, fairness, equal opportunity, all the things that make up the constellation of attitudes and standards we call merit.

    If the people of Washington’s Bar Licensure Task Force really believe that “merit” has to be done away with because “merit” constitutes a standard that black men and women cannot be expected to meet….doesn’t that make those people…..oh, there’s a word for it, I’m sure… 

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Ray Gunner (View Comment):

    Old Bathos:

    The Bar Licensure Task Force explains:

    In the 1960s, while the Civil Rights movement phased out formal racism, a ‘veiled or nonformal racism came in—racism under the guise of excellence, fairness, equal opportunity, all the things that make up the constellation of attitudes and standards we call merit.

    If the people of Washington’s Bar Licensure Task Force really believe that “merit” has to be done away with because “merit” constitutes a standard that black men and women cannot be expected to meet….doesn’t that make those people…..oh, there’s a word for it, I’m sure…

    The really soft bigotry of no expectations.

    • #24
  25. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Of course it is. It tests logic, rational thinking, establishing causes and effects, property rights, individual responsibility, use of a common language, knowledge of American and English legal history, and others. And black leaders have told us that black people can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t use such tools of “whiteness.” 

    In 2020 the “National Museum of African American History and Culture” (part of the Smithsonian Institution) helpfully published for us a brochure of “Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture in the United States” that described indicators of “white culture” being (among others):

    Self-reliance

    Objective, rational linear thinking

    Cause and effect relationships

    Quantitative emphasis

    Heavy focus on the British Empire

    The primacy of Western (Greek, Roman) and Judea-Christian tradition

    Hard work is the key to success

    Work before play

    Heavy value on ownership of goods, space, property

    Plan for future

    Delayed gratification

    Follow rigid time schedules

    Time viewed as a commodity

    [Justice] based on English common law

    [Justice] protect[s] property & entitlements

    Intent counts [in justice]

    The brochure was suggesting that these characteristics are counter to blackness or black culture. So, black people should not or can not exhibit these characteristics? Many people at the time pointed out that this brochure, presumably written by mostly black people, could also have been written by the KuKluxKlan.

    Since a bar exam is supposed to help confirm competence in the American legal system, which is based on the English legal system, which was developed by the British Empire, depends on many of the characteristics listed above, if black people are incapable or unwilling to work with those characteristics, black people are going to have trouble passing the bar exam. But if they can’t pass the bar exam, they’re probably not going to be effective in guiding clients through the American legal system. 

    For that matter, most professional licensing exams (and to some extent most exams in general) are based on characteristics like logic, objective thinking, hard work, Western Culture, Judeo-Christian values, cause and effect, and so forth, if black people are not (according to black leaders) capable or willing to work with those characteristics, tests will inevitably be “racist.” 

    Along with everything else. 

    If everything is “racist” then a multi-racial society cannot exist, and humans will have to segregate on the basis of race. 

     

     

     

    • #25
  26. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    “racism under the guise of excellence, fairness, equal opportunity, all the things that make up the constellation of attitudes and standards we call merit.”

     

    Do these people even hear themselves and give even two seconds thought to what they’re actually saying here?

    • #26
  27. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    David Carroll (View Comment):
    No matter how dedicated, the financial incentives to public defenders are to clear up their caseload as quickly as possible. The incentive is to get there clients to plead out or do whatever else that may end the case, so the public defender can go on to the next client.

    If  the client is actually guilty, that’s not a bad thing.

     

    • #27
  28. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    MarciN (View Comment):
    If anyone needs the best attorneys out there, it would be the low-income black people

    I don’t see the connection.  Please explain.

    • #28
  29. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    In 2020 the “National Museum of African American History and Culture” (part of the Smithsonian Institution) helpfully published for us a brochure of “Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture in the United States” that described indicators of “white culture” being (among others):

    . . .

    The brochure was suggesting that these characteristics are counter to blackness or black culture. So, black people should not or can not exhibit these characteristics? Many people at the time pointed out that this brochure, presumably written by mostly black people, could also have been written by the KuKluxKlan.

    The web page still exists., but the graphic has been removed as too embarrassing.

    Here is an archived copy:

    • #29
  30. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    In 2020 the “National Museum of African American History and Culture” (part of the Smithsonian Institution) helpfully published for us a brochure of “Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture in the United States” that described indicators of “white culture” being (among others):

    I have a 2020 archive of that page in PDF form.

    • #30
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