2005 The Whitest Law School Report
and Other Law School Rankings Related
to Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Law School
Professor Vernellia Randall

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 1: Introduction, Methodology and Limitations

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(Based on 2004 ABA/LSAC Information)

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 Methodology
Limitations
Diversity Measures
Op-Ed and Other Press

   
   

 

 

 

Prologue

 

I grew up in Texas during Jim Crow.  During that time, long distance road trips had a distinct flavor for Blacks, and I remember it vividly: packing enough food for the entire trip because we couldn’t stop at any restaurants, using the bathroom on the side of the road because we couldn’t use the one in the gas station, and sleeping in the car because we couldn’t stay in a motel.  But my most vivid memory of my road trips in Texas was the sign that I read every time we went through Greenville, Texas:

“The Blackest Land,
The Whitest People”

In many ways, institutional discrimination in law schools is really about maintaining the legal profession as "The Whitest Profession."


Professor Vernellia R. Randall
The University of Dayton School of Law

 

  

Introduction       

When I attended law school in 1984, I was the only black student in the first year class.  Everywhere I looked, there was a sea of white faces.  The stress of law school was significant; the stress of being the only black person became unbearable at times.  At one point, I had a most difficult day:

- a day when I had to listen to young white students loudly discuss the inherent unfairness of affirmative action a hundred times;

-a day when my constitutional law professor decided to teach about hate crimes and used a situation involving the word "nigger" as an example

-a day when the contract professor used a case where a "welfare mother" had her furniture repossessed and, as a current "welfare mother," I was positive that all eyes had turned to me.

-a day when a case in criminal law mentioned race for the first time, and it was a black man raping a white woman.

-a day when so many racialized things happened.


-a day not much different than many other days, but I suddenly found the sea of whiteness unbearable.  I wanted to get away, but I couldn't because I had a class.  I wanted to cry, but where could I get some privacy?  I remember this day so clearly, because I ended up in a bathroom stall crying my eyes out!

Law schools, for the most part, are vast seas of whiteness that contribute to the legal profession becoming more white than the medical profession.

It is a whiteness that is dangerous, not just to the mental health of individuals of color but also to our society.  It is an overwhelming display of power and control that maintains a white predominance that is unearned and undeserved.

The Census Bureau recently released information that predicts we will be a nation of minorities by the year 2050.  According to the Census Bureau, white non-Latinos will make up 50 percent of the population; Latinos, 24 percent; African Americans, 15 percent; and Asian Americans, 8 percent. While there are a number of problems with these statistics, including that 50% is still a majority, I will accept this often cited mantra for the purpose of this discussion.  People refer to “a nation of minorities" with wonder, with expectation, and with some amount of anxiousness.  News anchors may comment on it, but no one takes the next step to ask, So what?

So what if we will be a nation of minorities?

Are we going to be a nation in which no group has a disproportionate share of wealth and power, or will we be a de facto apartheid South Africa?  Like South Africa, will the wealth and power of a nation be centered in a numerical minority?  Will the numerical minority become even more oppressive in order to maintain its position and control?

How will we be a truly represented nation in 2050, if we don't begin to transfer power and wealth now?  

One place to start preparing for the future is through our law school admission patterns.  If law schools continue to be a sea of whiteness, then the power and wealth of this society will also continue to be white.  The power brokers of tomorrow are the law students of today and right now.
 

The whiteness is blinding!


 

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Chapters

TWLS - Top Page
2005 TWLS
01 Introductions
02 LSAT
03 The Top Ten
04 National
05 Regional
06 State
07 Isolation
08 Law Schools

 

 


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Last Date Website Updated:
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Professor Vernellia R. Randall
The University of Dayton School of Law
300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469-2772

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