A colleague of mine here at Tech Law, Dwight McDonald, only recently found out about the Amy Wax controversy at U. Penn. when he read this editorial by Walter Williams, a professor at George Mason Law School. It was published in our local paper on July 4th. Dwight was inspired to write a response in a letter to our paper.
In his editorial, Mr. Williams supports Ms. Wax’s claims and says: “The fact that black students have low class rankings at such high-powered law schools as Penn doesn't mean that they are stupid or uneducable. It means that they've been admitted to schools where they are in over their heads."
In Dwight's pithy response, he points out some weaknesses in Williams' claims, and also a curious contradiction among some of those who take Mr. William’s position. You can read it below the fold.
Here is what Dwight wrote:
"Mr. Williams and Prof. Amy Wax from the Penn School of Law surmise that 'racial preferences hinder the ability of blacks to succeed academically by admitting them into schools at which they are in over their heads academically.'
"Mr. Williams then uses the information provided by Ms. Wax to attack the public school systems in several cities without any information that suggests any black students attending Penn came from those school systems. Nor did Mr. Williams address the fact that there are 75 percent of the Caucasians attending Penn and other Ivy League law schools who are not in the to 25 percent of the class either, and yet they are not being told to go to less prestigious schools.
"I did a five minute Google search, and found an interview Ms. Wax did where she made her claim that there has never been any black students graduate in the top quarter of their class. When pressed for the basis of her statement, she admitted it was not scientific. It was based on her teaching a section of 90-95 students in her Civil Procedure class each year at Penn. Each class has 260-270 students, of which she teaches one-third of them, and used that as her basis for her comments.
"I find it ironic that in an editorial by Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Editorial: The right direction for the Supremes, July 5, www.lubbockonline.com), the editorial opinion extols the virtues of Clarence Thomas. *** [B]ased on Mr. Williams and Ms. Wax opinion, Justice Thomas should never have been admitted to Yale School of Law, and yet he has managed to rise to the highest level in his profession despite not finishing in the top 25 percent of his class at Yale."
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Wax & Alexander: Paying The Price For Breakdown Of The Country's Bourgeois Culture (Aug. 13, 2017)
- Reaction To Law Profs' Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' (Aug. 25, 2017)
- Penn Law Students Try To Ban Amy Wax From Teaching Civil Procedure Due To Her Breakdown Of The Bourgeois Culture Op-Ed (Sept. 10, 2017)
- Controversy Over Law Profs' Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' Shifts From Penn To San Diego (Sept. 21, 2017)
- More Law Prof Reactions To The Wax & Alexander Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' (Sept. 22, 2017)
- Reynolds: It Is Time Academics Preach the Virtues They Practice (Sept. 26, 2017)
- Penn Alumni Speak Out Against Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' Op-Ed (Sept. 26, 2017)
- Wax: The Closing Of The Academic Mind (Feb. 19, 2018)
- Penn Dean Denies Amy Wax's Claim That He Asked Her To Take Leave Due To Controversial Op-Ed (Feb. 21, 2018)
- Gelbach: On Amy Wax’s Credibility And Conduct (Feb. 24, 2018)
- After 'Disparaging' Comments About Black Students, Amy Wax Barred From Teaching 1L Course At Penn (Mar. 14, 2018)
- The Penn Law School Mob Scores A Victory (Mar. 19, 2018)
- Wax: The University Of Denial — Aggressive Suppression Of The Truth Is A Central Feature Of American Higher Education (Mar. 24, 2018)
- The Wax Wars Rage On At Penn Law (Apr. 16, 2018)