The Musings of

Something full of magic, religion, bullsh*t.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Segregation never brought anyone anything except trouble.

Kim Plaintive has an interesting post up regarding minority groups at a law school fair. As she notes in the post, she's never really been much of a joiner, but she was convinced to get involved by a California Superior Court Judge who told her such groups provide "a great support network."

I really don't have much of a frame of reference to work from here, as I am neither a minority or a big "joiner." However, I've always been bemused by "minority" groups that are set up for networking. What it says to me is that entire reason for these groups' existence is to allow a group of people (in this case minorities) to give preferential treatment to people exactly like themselves. I wonder if these individuals see the double standard here?

I see this networking from a career perspective. There is a minority partner at my firm who works (it seems to me) almost exclusively with minority associates. To be fair, I've done some work with him, but it was specialized work for which there were no minority associates available. I don't really care in a real sense, but I can't help but scratch my head when people say that white folks are insular and not spreading opportunity, while minorities are clustering together trying to give others a leg up for no other reason that skin color.

Of course, I've heard the reason for these groups. It usually involves the argument that the minority is constantly discriminated against, so this makes for a level playing field. I don't believe the premise, and I also don't believe two wrongs make a right. These minority associates I work with could work for any partner in the firm (and often do), so it just seems rather interesting that this one partner seems intent on working with them. I know he thinks he's doing a good thing -- as do the people working in minority groups in law school -- but to me, an outside observer, it appears that such actions, organizations, and general clustering smell faintly of racial preference. When confronted with these organizations, I can't help but think the unoriginal thought of what angst it would cause if you replaced the name of any minority in an interest group with the word "White."

Kim's post (and the comments of her readers) only reinforce the idea that one of the problems with joining an insular group is that, well, people may form even tighter groups, and being a minority of one leads to crappy dinner parties, I imagine. Put another way, if you join a minority group, you lose the right to be surprised and disappointed when a minority group within the group develops.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with joining together to celebrate and explore your individual culture. If there is a Korean Students group that gets together and discusses Korean literature or eats Korean food, more power to them. I can only imagine how indignant I'd feel if I weren't allowed to sit at the bar with a beer discussing college football and other cultural subjects with my fellow redneck, Caucasian Southerners.
Centinel 3:08 PM #


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