Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The AALS v. Howard Law School

What does the AALS have against Howard Law School? As I related below, the AALS has configured its search engine to allow law schools to search only for female or minority job candidates. Granted, I question whether a law school could use that feature without violating anti-discrimination laws. But let us generously suppose that a law school might legally search for candidates having certain genes in an effort to increase the diversity of its faculty. Why, then, does the AALS stack the deck against Howard Law School?

Judging from this photo directory, Howard might want to diversify its faculty by hiring some pale-skinned professors. On a rather cautious accounting, at least 22 of Howard’s 36 faculty—61%—tout relatively recent African ancestors. (By most accounts, of course, all our family trees ultimately take root in Africa.) Only about 6 of Howard’s 36 faculty members obviously descend from mainly Northern European stock. The inherent uncertainties of racial and ethnic classifications make these mere guesses, of course. It nonetheless seems quite clear that if Howard, like many schools, aspires to have its faculty reflect the racial and ethnic make-up of the whole of the U.S., it has to hire a good many more light-skinned people. Why, then, does the AALS make it so hard for Howard to do so?

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