Neo Nazis and Harmonious Society

September 12, 2008

This morning I was watching “Nazi America” on History Channel. After several great laughs at those members’ speeches on the screen, I eventually came to the conclusion that I don’t want to live in those small towns in Idaho. 

But on a second note, I agree with one of the commentators who said we cannot just crack down on them merely because those people congregate and spread hate speech, because that would make us as intolerant as them. Come to think of it, it is really amazing that these people can wave the flag of this country’s archenemy fifty years ago without worrying about a total crack down. (Of course, it’s a totally different story if they harm or kill non whites.) 

The current Chinese president has given China a new task: to build a harmonious society. Funny thing is when I first heard that word, the first image in my brain is somehow the whole population of China sits down and starts to meditate. Nothing can be more harmonious than that! But anyway, I believe that China is within reach of that goal already: you don’t see protests on the street; you don’t see T-shirts making fun of the president; you don’t hear fighting voices from different media; you don’t see outrageous bumper stickers; you don’t hear people say the government is ridiculous when the troops ordered victims not to go back to their flooded houses; you don’t see TV shows with a guy addressing to the “nation” and making fun of everything he can possibly think of. The Chinese people are working hard all for a common goal (actually I have no idea what that common goal is. Maybe… free ice cream for all?); all the intelligent students are patriotic no matter where they are and they all 100% stand for the great nation (plus their speeches are 100% correct). Seriously, the gold medal for harmony is within reach for China, except that it has to beat its powerful opponent: North Korea. 

But really? When you have to deny all 77 applications for protest, and put 2 old ladies in their late seventies into some “re-education through labor” camp just because they filed the very same applications following the procedures set up by the government, and when you reduce some tragedy happened 19 years ago into only one sentence in high school history book, you really have achieved harmony? 

The commentator in “Nazi America” said this country is great because of diversity not in spite of it. Let me change that a little bit. I think this country is great because of all the noise Americans can make not in spite of it. I truly believe that the US Constitution is THE greatest invention in the human history. The First Amendment alone contains so much magic beyond one can possibly imagine. Americans should feel lucky that Neo Nazis can make their voices instead of being suppressed. Otherwise, today it’s their voice to be silenced; who knows it won’t be your turn tomorrow? 

In the end, I would rather live in a place with plenty of noises than in a true silent state. Silence does drive sane people crazy.

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Diversity and Law school

September 12, 2008

The word diversity is popular these days. You have diverse companies, diverse working environment, diverse universities, and diverse law schools. I can’t really speak for those places that I have never been to, but I can talk about diversity and law school. Of course, talking about diversity and law school, one cannot avoid the affirmative action suit against University of Michigan Law School: Grutter v. Bollinger. In that case, the US Supreme Court held that the law school’s use of race in admission, which seeks to create diversity in the law school, is not prohibited by equal protection clause. After that case, diversity is like a wild fire burning in most of the schools I researched when I was applying for law school. 

But that case is not really relevant to my topic today, because that case is about affirmative action in admission, in which one can argue that affirmative action is justified since the minorities of this country lack equal resources to let them go to law school as easy as the while majority does. My topic is about what would happen AFTER a law school achieves diversity on the face. Does that somehow significantly change how the school works? Sadly no.

In my humble opinion, law school might not be the last place that requires diversity, but it definitely can live happily without diversity. Most of the classes offered in law school does not require any diverse background. On the contrary, for the exams of most of the classes, there are only one correct answer or one correct legal analysis. Well, at least you have to use the analysis laid out in the United States jurisdiction. Answers like “in the country where I am from, this case is likely to be ruled in this way” might only give you some extra credit provided you answer the question right using the analysis taught in class and held in US courts. Of course, in some classes that involve international issue, diverse background would play a more significant part. But those classes, among the whole law school curriculum, is only a tiny part. 

A more important question is whether race really play a big part in creating diversity. In my opinion, it only works when the sole diversity one cares is statistics, which is, sadly, the main point that a school cares about: it will help its US News ranking with a higher rate of diversity. However, it is not surprising to see those second generation of, say, Chinese immigrants who cannot even identify an upside down Chinese character. For those people, what do they bring to the goal of diversity apart from their skin color? And how can a school justify using their skin color to achieve its goal of diversity? I often get those emails from the school for some “diversity” event. I never attended because I figured the only contribution I can make is to show my none white face. Let’s face it, for the most part, law school is very job oriented. And the majority of the jobs do not require a different background. Even for firms that claim that they have a diverse team, the use of diversity is no more different from the one in law school. It’s a funny endless loop. After all, for the most part, “diverse” people can be said to have successfully played their role as long as they don’t go through any cosmetic surgery like what Michael Jackson did to himself.

Just this week, my law school launched a new website. The first picture I saw on this new site was one with three students in it: a white male, an Asian male, and a female Latino. What can I say? All hail diversity!


Standing up in a bus

September 7, 2008

I personally have no problem with standing in the bus when there is no seat available. I have to say that I have never boarded a single “crowded” bus in the US. If you have lived in China, you have a different definition of “crowded.” The bus is not crowded if you can stand in it without any physical contact with anyone.

But apparently that’s not the case for some people in Seattle. Here is the words from one on Seattle Times: “I refuse to stand up. It’s just crazy, we’re like sardines.” The photo of that stories shows, however, that even though there are people standing in the bus, they still have a perfect personal “bubble” around them.

I don’t see any craziness in standing in a bus. What I find crazy is people can easily get mad when someone said “this is a nation of whiners” while actually, however, it is.