Law School Admissions

Title

Cracking the Egg: Which Came First—Stigma or Affirmative Action?

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date

11-2008

Keywords

affirmative action, diverse campus environment, campus climate

Abstract

This Article examines the strength of arguments concerning the causal connection between racial stigma and affirmative action. In so doing, this article reports and analyzes the results of a survey on internal stigma (feelings of dependency, inadequacy, or guilt) and external stigma (the burden of others' resentment or doubt about one's qualifications) for the Class of 2009 at seven public law schools, four of which employed race-based affirmative action policies when the Class of 2009 was admitted and three of which did not use such policies at that time.

Specifically, this Article examines and presents survey findings of 1) minimal, if any, internal stigma felt by minority law students, regardless of whether their schools practiced race-based affirmative action; 2) no statistically significant difference in internal stigma between minority students at affirmative action law school and non-affirmative action law schools; and 3) no significant impact from external stigma.

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