No - That Couldn't Be It
The Times reports on how blacks lag at major law firms.
A recent study says grades help explain the gap. To ensure diversity among new associates, the study found, elite law firms hire minority lawyers with, on average, much lower grades than white ones. That may, the study says, set them up to fail.Since this leads off the article, we get to read all the amusing ways that this astonishingly obvious explanation can't possibly be true.
James E. Coleman Jr., the first black lawyer to make partner at Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, a prestigious Washington law firm now known as WilmerHale, said Professor Sander was overemphasizing grades at the expense of other qualities like writing skills, temperament and the ability to analyze complex problems.Because blacks are well known to be unusually literate, have remarkably even temperaments, and possess extraordinary analytical skills? Later on, a grimmer concern is expressed:
"The harm of the Sander article," the two professors wrote, "is that it will contribute to the stereotyping that already undermines the success of black associates in elite corporate law firms."That's right, we can't report on the facts - they can be dangerous. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. Overall, though, the article provides a pretty fair account of the study and the controversy.