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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN - Associated Press Writer --

NEW HAVEN, Conn. --
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a 15-cent price tag stuck to his Yale law degree, blaming the school's affirmative action policies in the 1970s for his difficulty finding a job after he graduated.

Some of his black classmates say Thomas, who was born in Pin Point, Ga., needs to get over his grudge because Yale opened the door to extraordinary opportunities.

Thomas' new autobiography, "My Grandfather's Son," shows how the second black justice on the Supreme Court came to oppose affirmative action after his law school experience. He was one of about 10 blacks in a class of 160 who had arrived at Yale after the unrest of the 1960s, which culminated in a Black Panther Party trial in New Haven that nearly caused a large-scale riot.

The conservative justice says he initially considered his admission to Yale a dream, but soon felt he was there because of his race. He says he loaded up on tough courses to prove he was not inferior to his white classmates but considers the effort futile. He says he was repeatedly turned down in job interviews at law firms after his 1974 graduation.

"I learned the hard way that a law degree from Yale meant one thing for white graduates and another for blacks, no matter how much any one denied it," Thomas writes. "I'd graduated from one of America's top law schools, but racial preference had robbed my achievement of its true value."

Thomas says he stores his Yale Law degree in his basement with a 15-cent sticker from a cigar package on the frame.

His view isn't shared by black classmate William Coleman III.

"I can only say my degree from Yale Law School has been a great boon," said Coleman, now an attorney in Philadelphia. "Had he not gone to a school like Yale, he would not be sitting on the Supreme Court."

Coleman's Yale roommate, Bill Clinton, appointed him general counsel to the U.S. Army, one of several top jobs Coleman has held over the years.

Thomas said he began interviewing with law firms at the beginning of his third year of law school.

"Many asked pointed questions unsubtly suggesting that they doubted I was as smart as my grades indicated," he wrote. "Now I knew what a law degree from Yale was worth when it bore the taint of racial preference."

He said it was months before he got an offer, from then-Missouri Attorney General John Danforth.

Steven Duke, a white Yale law professor who taught when Thomas attended Yale, said Thomas is right to say that the significance of someone's degree could be called into question if the person was admitted to an institution on a preferential basis. However, he said that could be overcome by strong performance, noting that two Yale graduates - Danforth and President Bush - put Thomas into top jobs.

"I find it difficult to believe he actually regrets the choice he made," Duke said. "It seems to me he did pretty well."

Some classmates say Thomas - who was raised poor in Georgia and stood out on campus in his overalls and heavy black boots - faced a tougher transition than black students who came from middle-class or privileged backgrounds.

Frank Washington, a black classmate and friend of Thomas who also came from a lower-income background, said he had 42 interviews before he landed a job at a Washington law firm.

"It seemed like I had to go through many more interviews than a lot of my other non-minority classmates," said Washington, now an entrepreneur who owns radio and television stations.

Other black classmates say their backgrounds didn't matter.

Edgar Taplin Jr., raised by a single parent in New Orleans, said he landed a job after graduation at the oldest law firm in New York, and does not recall black graduates struggling more to get jobs than their white classmates.

"My degree was worth a lot more than 15 cents," said Taplin, who retired in 2003 as a global manager with Exxon Mobil.

Thomas has declined to have his portrait hung at Yale Law School along with other graduates who became U.S. Supreme Court justices. An earlier book, "Supreme Discomfort," by Washington Post reporters Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher, portrays Thomas as still upset some Yale professors opposed his confirmation during hearings marked by Anita Hill's allegations that Thomas sexually harassed her.

Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh turned down requests for interviews about the justice's book, but said in a statement that he and his predecessors have invited Thomas to have his portrait done and the offer still stands.

Koh said they met for several hours about a year ago. "He made it clear that he had greatly enjoyed his time at Yale Law School, and that he had great affection for his fellow students and for several professors who are still here," he said.

Thomas would not comment, said court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.

William Coleman says it's time for Thomas to move on.

"You did OK, guy," he said.

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/251/story/158450.html


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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:23 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

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Originally Posted by Infiniti2001 View Post
"I learned the hard way that a law degree from Yale meant one thing for white graduates and another for blacks, no matter how much any one denied it," Thomas writes. "I'd graduated from one of America's top law schools, but racial preference had robbed my achievement of its true value."
Sadly, I imagine this is true of a degree from ANY school. Does his book really blame YALE for the institutionalized racism of an entire country?

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:31 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

My sister goes to Yale. She has a perpetual inferiority complex when it comes to whether she "deserved" a space at Yale.

Does Bush ever stay up at night because he got accepted to Yale based on things other than merit? Do older white doctors and lawyers feel bad because they went to graduate school when equally capable Blacks, Jews, and Asians were effectively shut out of these schools? Of course not.

But blacks who receive AA are made to feel like they don't deserve what they get.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:37 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

I've dealt with black lawyers from Yale who are bozos. But come to think of it, I've dealt with white lawyers from Yale who are bozos. In fact, I have not had a single positive experience from anyone from Yale law school. I've had my run-ins with Harvard lawyers, but as bad as they can be, none has been a bozo.

I'm sorry he had such a bad time. It's his own experiences he's talking about, people should stop trashing him and listen to what he has to say.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:38 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

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Originally Posted by donnydarko View Post

But blacks who receive AA are made to feel like they don't deserve what they get.
Again, do you think this is unique to Yale?

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

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I've dealt with black lawyers from Yale who are bozos. But come to think of it, I've dealt with white lawyers from Yale who are bozos. In fact, I have not had a single positive experience from anyone from Yale law school. I've had my run-ins with Harvard lawyers, but as bad as they can be, none has been a bozo.

I'm sorry he had such a bad time. It's his own experiences he's talking about, people should stop trashing him and listen to what he has to say.
I'm sorry Helen, but he comes off as a whiny, lying, deluded piece of shit. He got every job he has and every foot in the door thanks to connections he made at Yale. And if he had problems because he wasn't qualified then he should be ashamed of himself for taking jobs from other more qualified people and should have refused to let himself be used as a token. This is the most self-hating person this side of Donnie McClurkin.


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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:51 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

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Again, do you think this is unique to Yale?
Certainly not. I've spoken to some of my sisters law school friends. The referer to some mysterious "they" (I assume that they themselves are included in this group and just won't admit it) that assumes that a URM, like any rational student, would pick the best school they can get in to, referred to as "leveling up". They also assume that the URM wouldn't have gotten into the school without the help of AA.

In other words, a large percentage of whites, I am led to believe, believe that blacks and Hispanics are in a certain school because of AA. The only times this logic doesn't apply is when a person goes to some theoretical "worst" school possible, or they go to the best school available, thus making "leveling up" moot, because AA would just make the student overqualified. Right now, the best law school in the country is Yale; in Thomas' graduate days, it was Harvard.

Of course, how does a black student at Yale prove that they'd have gotten in without any help? They can't- which means that thousands of students over the nation who might have been accepted without AA now get labeled as "AA admits". This results in a less valuable degree for thousands of minorities every year.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:55 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

That's his experience.

He's not alone in that sentiment, white and black and brown.
If you get into some place with special preferences, you automatically
set up grudges, questions, etc., that will follow. Fair or unfair.

I'm sure that happens to firefighters, cops, teachers, etc., who
find they are passed over for a spot, or a job, or promotion for
someone who is black, brown, yellow, gay, female, etc.

UCLA now has to try new programs to get more black (and brown) freshmen.
However, it's not because it has a lack of minority freshmen.
Just that most of those minority students are often Chinese,
Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean American, and Indian American
students. Many blame the lack of a strong AA program at the
UC system for the lack of black students. Even though, there
are many other minorities represented on campus w/o the AA program.
With or without AA, it can even come down to what minority benefits.

In his case, he used his experience to excel even more.

But, yes, AA has major drawbacks, and I get why some are for it, and
some are strongly against it. Very imperfect concept.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 10:36 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

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Some of his black classmates say Thomas, who was born in Pin Point, Ga., needs to get over his grudge because Yale opened the door to extraordinary opportunities.
really that's all that needs to be said.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 10:49 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

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really that's all that needs to be said.
exactly.
my brother graduated from Yale, and he knows he wouldn't have had half the opportunities he did, if that college wasn't on his resume.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 11:41 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

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exactly.
my brother graduated from Yale, and he knows he wouldn't have had half the opportunities he did, if that college wasn't on his resume.
My Law School was about 20 spots below Yale and I know that "doors opened".

Personally when it comes to AA, what you are coming out the other end is the key. They aren't letting black idiots into Ivy League schools because of AA.

LSATs aren't everything; if anything every law school needs more street smart people of all races instead of the book smart clowns that over populate most programs. Half the real successful practice of the legal profession is dealing with people, people who might not be telling the whole truth most of the time.

At my Law School I had the pleasure of competing with many Ivy League grads; a couple were brilliant but most were "in my league". That said, I also competed with State School kids who were brilliant, too. They might not have been qualified on paper for the Ivies, but I'm sure the Ivies wish they had them now.

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 11:57 PM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

Had to be that evil old AA. Couldn't have anything to do with his interviewing skills, or personality, or area of law he was interested in.

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 24th, 2007, 02:50 AM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

Maybe he sexually harassed his job interviewer?
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 24th, 2007, 03:27 AM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

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Originally Posted by Infiniti2001 View Post
I'm sorry Helen, but he comes off as a whiny, lying, deluded piece of shit. He got every job he has and every foot in the door thanks to connections he made at Yale. And if he had problems because he wasn't qualified then he should be ashamed of himself for taking jobs from other more qualified people and should have refused to let himself be used as a token. This is the most self-hating person this side of Donnie McClurkin.
He really does seem as though he has some self-hate. It looks like he did everything he can to deny his blackness even to the point of denying other minorities the same chance that he had.

It appears that after all he's accomplished, he still doesn't feel good about himself as a black man. Law degree from Yale, married a white woman, Supreme Court and still a bitter black man. To bad Michael didn't find a way to turn himself into a white man, he could have given Clarence the hook up.

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old Oct 24th, 2007, 03:30 AM
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Re: Thomas blames Yale affirmative action for his early job problems

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Originally Posted by samsung101 View Post
That's his experience.

He's not alone in that sentiment, white and black and brown.
If you get into some place with special preferences, you automatically
set up grudges, questions, etc., that will follow. Fair or unfair.

I'm sure that happens to firefighters, cops, teachers, etc., who
find they are passed over for a spot, or a job, or promotion for
someone who is black, brown, yellow, gay, female, etc.

UCLA now has to try new programs to get more black (and brown) freshmen.
However, it's not because it has a lack of minority freshmen.
Just that most of those minority students are often Chinese,
Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean American, and Indian American
students. Many blame the lack of a strong AA program at the
UC system for the lack of black students. Even though, there
are many other minorities represented on campus w/o the AA program.
With or without AA, it can even come down to what minority benefits.

In his case, he used his experience to excel even more.

But, yes, AA has major drawbacks, and I get why some are for it, and
some are strongly against it. Very imperfect concept.
Of course I didn't read your full post but I wonder if George Bush feels bad because he was a AA candidate(his father)?

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

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