Saturday, May 26, 2012

Being Cheeky in Academia


Charlotte Allen, Elizabeth Warren's Cheekbones, A blond, blue-eyed Cherokee? Maybe not, but who cares?, LATimes (May 27, 2012).

Ms. Allen seems to think both that (i) we shouldn't care about racial and ethnic identity and (ii) we shouldn't care if someone misrepresents his or her racial or ethnic identity as long as the misrepresentation does not end up securing an advantage for the person who made the misrepresentation.

So: It's OK to try to deceive if your attempt at deception does not do what you hoped it would?

Are you listening, used car salesmen and saleswomen? Go ahead and lie -- but do so only when you're quite sure your lying won't do you any good.
  • If you were to ask me what would then be the point of lying, I would have to say that I don't know and that you'll have to ask someone else.
N.B. An important caveat for students who are applying for admission to Harvard Law School: you would be ill-advised to follow Ms. Warren's example - unless, of course, you can document the true (and advantageous) ethnic or racial source of your high cheekbones. A misrepresentation by a student in an application for admission to Harvard Law School is viewed (at a minimum) as a serious flaw in the application. 


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