Controversy is everywhere, even in the staid hallways of law school.
- Jul 26, 2016
- Law School, News, Politics
What a time to be alive… and to be attempting to focus on your LSATs when there are so, so many legal and political firestorms raging in the world today.
Turkey’s democratically-elected government has been overthrown in a violent military coup, but actually nvm; Cleveland has devolved into a veritable trumpster-fire over the course of the GOP Convention; Ted Zodiac Killer Cruz admonished us to “vote our conscience” during an endorsement that was anything but; Michelle Obama’s platitudinous 2008 Convention speech now apparently is the hallmark to which all other FLOTUS speeches should aspire (or plagiarize).
But so in an attempt to integrate a socially-conscious, politically-involved theme into an LSAT-edifying exercise, I’d encourage everyone to read this anonymous exchange between a group of disgruntled law school students and their apparently thoroughly-gruntled lawschool professor on the subject of Black Lives Matter – more specifically, on the professor’s wearing of a BLM shirt to lecture.
On one level, the question in play here is whether or not wearing a “hateful message” (as described by the students), is appropriate in the classroom. But, as the professor elucidates in his response, the students’ grievances implicate a host of deeper issues. Centuries of racial prejudice, economic exploitation, pernicious structural exclusion, certainly – but also some profoundly flawed analytical reasoning in the form of leaping assumptions, shaky inferences, and unrecognized premises.
Ultimately, the professor leaves me convinced that the aggrieved students didn’t perform too well on the LSATs. That no one ever assume the same of any Blueprint student, consider his address of the invisible “Only” that some of his students perceived as preceding the words “Black Lives Matter” on his t-shirt. In the professor’s own words:
“There are some implicit words that precede ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and they go something like this: Because of the brutalizing and killing of black people at the hands of the police and the indifference of society in general and the criminal justice system in particular, it is important that we say that…”
There’s a bunch of geeky philosophy and psychology PhDs out in Pennsylvania whose literal vocation is trying to trip up aspiring young lawyers who are too quick to assume, too willing to force deduction from inference, too susceptible to grand words and enticing conclusions. These nefarious nerds craft this thing called the LSAT and, as much as it’s a pain in the ass, it really is a decent indicator of who can avoid these logical pitfalls (at least in the context of a three-hour proctored exam). The authors of this complaint are law school students: clearly they figured out some way to get through the test. But it seems to me they’ve since dropped the ball when it comes to applying some of the principles they learned to their professional and academic lives.
What do you think?
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