Saturday, May 3, 2008
I wrote a few posts ago about how I had a rough path to graduation. Several things snowballed until I just did not have enough credits at the last minute, but I worked it out. But it was hard work, and I had to pay a lot for everything that led to my graduating today. The biggest price has actually turned out to be my friends.
Now, this is weird to me, because this was not how college ended. With college, I think I was 100% ready to leave. I wasn't attached to the city or the university, nor anybody except maybe one person. I was very tired of school. And I'm tired of school now, but I love the university, where I live and the area...and there were several people I wanted to spend time with before I left because we're all going to be in different places.
I don't know what I was thinking. I don't know if I thought I'd have time or if I was just so focused on getting everything done so that I could graduate. But I didn't attempt to get in touch with anybody this semester. I spent time with BFLS and BRF--oh, and with my Korean friend--because they contacted me to hang out. But I kind of forgot everyone else. Last weekend, BFLS and I were hanging out, and I told her that I wanted to see several people before leaving but there was one person I had to see. Other than BFLS and Angel, this person has been there for me the most. He's essentially the only gay friend I have and the only gay person who has tried to understand or help me with issues surrounding that part of who I am. He's the only person I've been able to talk to about being queer.
I can't believe I'm not going to get to see him before I leave. I haven't seen him in months--not at all this semester, I don't think, and only once last semester. Graduation is bittersweet for me in so many ways, but this is the worst. I go through a range of emotions concerning graduation, but never excited. It has usually been sad, but right now I am just really upset and disappointed.
To top it all off, I'm not even moving to Chicago. So, I kind of feel like Angel is...not happy about that. Even though I visit Chicago, every time I've gone during this school year has not been for long enough to see any of my friends there. And when I start to work, it's not going to be easy to go to Chicago like it has been during law school. So, for me, it feels almost like we'll never see each other again. I don't know how she feels about it. I don't think she has given up on ways of getting me to Chicago permanently. Like me, she's not an emotional person, so she's not going to say how she feels. But from the questions she asks me, I just get the sense that she wanted me to move there or at least spend the summer there to prepare for the bar exam.
Some of my other friends, I'm sure we'll see each other if I do actually move to NY. Nikki will be there, and my Asian Indian friend loves NYC to death so I'm sure she'll be visiting. BFLS is moving to DC, and I can actually practice there if I score high enough on one section of the NY bar exam...I might do that instead. My Korean friend was actually hoping I'd decide to move to CA instead because she hates LA (I don't blame her) and wants people she likes there to hang out with and kind of make it better. I guess I'm hoping my friends who will be in NY or who will visit will make it better for me.
There are all these articles and news stories on TV about unemployment and Bush's approval ratings. I know there are people having to follow the jobs, but this is not really being discussed in the news while I've seen a few people online writing about it being an unfortunate possibility or reality for them. I think there's only two people in the bunch who are happy about my possibly moving to NY, neither of whom are me. My family is unhappy, my friends are unhappy, I'm unhappy--because I couldn't stay here, where the unemployment rate is high, and I couldn't go to Chicago where the legal market is bad if you don't already have a job. I couldn't believe that the issue related to the economy that has most Americans up in arms is gas prices. It seems trivial to me, at least relatively speaking.
Finding a job is not the issue for me; it's where the job probably will be. I'll be far away from the majority of the people I care about, and I don't know if some of those relationships will survive. If it was hard to keep in touch with people when they were right here, just imagine. If I could have stayed here, I would have had a very reliable person nearby. If I could have gone to Chicago, I would have had an extremely reliable person nearby as well as family. Nikki and some of the others are cool and everything, but they are not really the best friends to me...and, let's face it, friends also usually aren't anything compared to family.
On the brighter side, at least I've completed one thing that I've really hated for approximately 2 & 1/2 years. The thing about being so busy, though, is that I've been going crazy with having nothing to do even though it really has only been a few hours of having nothing to do.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
You see, oftentimes being black or any kind of minority is a double-edged sword. The best example of how being black is both a blessing and a curse is seen by examining the black male. Black men are both the most accepted blacks and the most hated blacks at the same time. How could that be?
Well, despite Whitehead's claim in the piece that black guys can be invisible sometimes--and I suppose in certain kinds of environments, they can be--they are the blacks that white people think are cool, whom whites will date, whom white guys will talk about sports with and white females will befriend the quickest despite the fact that they essentialize women and sometimes claim to think we all are/should be united, whose music whites buy and mimic, whom whites will support on the football and basketball fields, whom whites have "positive" stereotypes about. Even Asians and Latinos get in on the act, especially Asians more and more. It's getting to the point where it's unbelievable how many Asian women I see dating black men.
Yet, they are also the ones who deal with white (and other) people locking car doors as they pass, clutching purses, crossing the streets, labeling them thugs, blaming all the crime in the US on them and claiming their rap music is the reason for all the problems with today's youth, falsely incarcerating them for crimes, stopping them for little or no reason as police officers.
With GLBTs, lesbians are the best example. Now, I know white gays never like to admit that gays have any privilege in the world whatsoever. However, you've got to admit that I'd probably have more women AND men chasing me if I were out. Even though in a guy's fantasy a lesbian might have to be hot, in reality all he has to do is be able to tell or learn that you're one, even if you look kind of manly or unattractive. You might not like that attention, but there are plenty of straight women dying for it. Basically, I'm saying you constantly get "sexy" points from the general population just for liking women--even from "straight" women who are curious or sexual--and my observation is that it's easier for out and/or obvious lesbians to get attention from women, too. Furthermore, so many people in the US think it's okay for women to like and have sex with women but think it's completely disgusting for men to do the same things.
At the same time, many people don't believe that any gay person--male or female--should get married or adopt kids, and some rights aren't even legally recognized as protecting GLBTs though they protect other groups. And people in the US are not yet to that point where PCness regarding gays has been shoved down their throats like it has for blacks, making them keep their bigotry about homosexuals inward for the most part like they do with blacks...except when they're on the internet.
Basically, Obama is in the process of benefitting from the double-edged sword, because the majority of people who support him do so at least in part because he's black. It's likely that he'll even win the Democratic nomination because of it. However, being black is also why he probably won't win the general election. The majority of Latinos, Asians and whites are not going to support this guy. Several of them would probably support Clinton if she got the nomination, though, but will swing to McCain or possibly an independent if she doesn't. Many gays are not going to support him, either, because, as I've written before, a black person who is not the perfect gay advocate is going to be criticized much more harshly by white gays than a white person who is the same way (and so it is with Obama and Clinton). Working class whites weren't supporting Obama before in many states, and now after he has "insulted" them, more of them will refuse to support him.
And even if he does manage to become President, being black will bite him in the @ss several times during his Presidency. This is probably the worst time for a black person to be trying to be President, with all the problems Bush has created for the next President to clean up. People will not soon forget or stop criticizing Bush, but the next President will also inevitably find him or herself the target of criticism for stuff relating to what Bush has done. Inevitably, Obama will find some white people criticizing him, yet finding some way to tie it to the fact that he's black and how a black person should never have been President, how incompetent blacks are for the position, etc. Sure, Clinton would get the same in relation to her sex, and some people will use it to make sweeping generalizations about women. However, most people do truly believe that blacks are incompetent and unintelligent, including many blacks.
In addition, being white can counteract criticisms commonly associated with sex more effectively than being a man can counteract criticisms associated with being black, partially because there are more white women in society than black men or even black people. There are a lot of more famous examples that [white] women are capable per societal standards than exist for blacks, and with blacks even when an example exists it's often dismissed as an exception. Hell, Obama is that example and exception. And yet, the first sign of a screw up, whites will throw him to the wolves. It doesn't work that way for women. Furthermore, all those white male superdelegates, mayors, senators, congressmen and governors who back him now will surely leave him hanging when he runs into a problem that results in criticism of him. Right now, many people are saying he's not qualified. Imagine what they'll be saying when he's in office and stuff goes wrong or he does something a huge group of people don't like, as happens for every President at some point. Only with him, it'll have something to do with race.
I don't think it's totally the case that Obama is being handed the nomination, though I'm sure some people do perceive that to be the case. The thing about blacks being handed anything, though, is that there's always tons more that is taken away to the point of the handout being worthless sometimes (this is one reason why he should have just let Clinton run for and win the Democratic nomination). Affirmative action can be like this, for example. You might be able to attend a better college, but that doesn't mean you'll get the same kind of job as white classmates, the same pay as white classmates, the same kind of treatment on the job as white classmates or even reach your full potential on the job in terms of promotion or the fast track like white classmates. You get just one thing that non-blacks can perceive as discrimination while you're still left to battle discrimination that they don't get, from all corners. This leads to your getting blamed when things don't work out for you as well as they do for others who don't battle the extra discrimination.
This is ahead for Obama whenever he becomes President.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Yep, sometimes we even went into elementary schools or invited kids to the campus so that we could teach them all things "anti-Western," from how baseball sucks to inequality is real in the US to how Columbus didn't really discover America because you can't discover something when other people are already there once you get there. Nah, eff the West, man. We're going to take over and force everyone to get "authentic" African hairstyles, all guys have to walk around with their clothes hanging off--you know, because that's what they do in Africa. All women have to roll their necks, get up in your face and yell all loud with a finger about to poke your eye out--also done in Africa. All kids have to get up and sing every...single...word straight from memory when "their song" comes on the radio or TV but still go to school and flunk their reading and spelling tests because they can't read. Again, Africa.
Hopefully, in time, whites, Asians and Latinos will see what we've done as American values. Hey, why not? It worked for whites when they "discovered" America. Apparently, whites figure that if their ancestors did it, why would it be so far-fetched that blacks, Asians and/or Latinos are sitting around in their racial/ethnic organizations planning to do it? Hmmm, but they're the only ones allowed to do stuff like that. It's "manifest destiny" or "survival of the fittest" and all that when they do it--it's something great to be taught in the US History. But if another group is teaching anything like that, then it's anti-Western, cause for concern, to the point of passing bills and doing anything possible to keep others from doing it. It's basically all here.
First of all, as much as I think racial & ethnic organizations should sit down and come up with ways to either smash so-called American values because they're really nothing but white standards or figure out how to get into power in the US, this is not what people do in these organizations. Second, this has been an issue for a long time now--whites have opposed these kinds of organizations for a long time. Now I'm finally starting to see why--it's fear. Apparently, they have no idea what goes on in these meetings, but because whites have done the worst they assume we're trying to. It's also an indirect admission that whites have more status and power, and they're worried one of the less powerful races is plotting to take all that away.
The funny thing is it seems usually whites are, at the very least, told they're welcome at these meetings. The overwhelming majority just never come. If they really wanted to know what went on, they'd come to a meeting. Then they'd see orgs like the Black Business Students Whatever are usually never more than, at worst, some kind of "let's see who is black enough because they're here and who's not black enough because they're not so we can talk crap about them after the meeting" thing...at medium, a "holy sh!t, hardly anyone at this school is of my background, and experience tells me that unless I find some black people quick I'm not going to have very many people to socialize with" thing...and at best, 1) it's about planning and having social events that are the black equivalent to those little drunken parties or bar-hopping events white people have but don't invite us to--or sometimes do but we feel incredibly awkward at them--and 2) it's about half-hearted efforts to get us in touch with alumni and other networks, and give very basic career advice, study advice, etc. You can argue that racial pride fits in somewhere, but I don't even buy that--these organizations are almost strictly social. Trust me, nothing deep comes up most of the time, let alone "seditious teachings." And, honestly, this is part of the reason why I don't participate in these kinds of organizations. If they had real discussions about ANYTHING, I'd be there...but since they just want to socialize I say, hey, I've found the few people I like and want to hang out with here.
The medium reason for racial & ethnic organizations is important, though, because it, once again, demonstrates the fact that we're not all just American. To me, there's no such thing as American values. If there were, they'd need to be about more than shoving white ideals down everyone's throats and trying to make everyone conform to and assimilate into whiteness. This bill is yet another example of that. However, I will grant you that a few American values really do exist. Probably the first and biggest one is anti-difference. If that's true, then that encompasses racism. In addition, it encompasses homophobia, sexism, classism and every other identity issue from which the US suffers.
One could make an argument that if racial & ethnic orgs are stripped away, then the next thing will be GLBT orgs, women's orgs, and so on. However, if you look at the reasoning for the "anti-Western" bill...I'm not sure anyone would believe gays or women are sitting around teaching people to hate America. Furthermore, men benefit more from sex-exclusive anythings than women do...being that men are the ones who come up with dumb stuff like this bill, I don't think they're going to want to bite themselves in the @ss by coming up with something that will keep them from being able to segregate from women whenever they feel the need or to bestow benefits on other men as many all-men things do. Finally, gays and women are not cast outside of American identity the way racial minorities are, unless the gay person or woman is a racial minority. It's also because of this reason that gays and women don't really have as much of a reason to form groups to undermine white American ideals, and not many people think they do.
The fact that racism is the American way necessitates a need for racial & ethnic orgs. These groups are not the reason we're segregated; we formed these groups because of segregation. Most blacks know that you can put racial minorities in one small place together and that's not going to make us all mix. I can imagine how many blacks attend Arizona State vs how many whites do. When blacks are in environments like that, it's just a fact that the majority of them will not have as many friends as whites in those environments, and race has a lot to do with that.
Although whites complain about racial & ethnic orgs and claim that they'd never be able to have a White Student Org--which, yeah, almost every org on campus is the equivalent of a White Student Org with the parallel phony "all are welcome" extension that black student orgs offer--the majority of blacks AND whites would tell you essentially that there's nothing wrong with segregation. Most whites see nothing wrong with living in all-white neighborhoods, attending all-white schools, having all-white friends and dating only whites. A lot of blacks concur. I can't tell you how Asians or Latinos feel about it. But if this is the case, then why not let blacks, Asians and Latinos have these seperate orgs? As a matter of fact, at my school, we have several Jewish orgs and I think even an Irish org. Or is it that you think we're supposed to be dying to hang out with you because you're a white God or Goddess, but you can take or leave us? Basically, doing away with these orgs will not make us become one with whites, and that's generally going to be white people's fault.
And, believe it or not, take the orgs or not but you'll still have the black table, the Asian table, the Latino table. You'll still see groups of blacks clumped together, groups of Asians together. Could we not, in those instances, be denigrating America? Actually, it's more often in these kinds of gatherings than in organizations where you'll find us talking sh!t about the US. So, what to do about that? Basically, as long as you segregate from us, we'll segregate from you. If you're not going to send a white transplant over to our gatherings every single time, then you're not safe from knowing that we're not plotting against white Americans and America as we know it.
And the point about "go back to that culture"--as I was hinting at, most of the things that are stereotypical of blacks in the US have nothing to do with Africa, which people usually consider our only place of ancestry. They have nothing to do with any of my ethnicities or cultures. So, going back to Africa won't work on that one--there's nowhere we could go if our only choices were to be who we are or be like white Americans, because we are unlike any other culture. As far as Asians and Latinos who keep part of their heritage alive in the US, people can argue this is a melting pot and that different cultures is what makes America so great. I'm not disagreeing, particularly with the argument about different cultures making things better, but the fact of the matter is most people who say those things don't mean it, as demonstrated by their daily actions. The bottom line for me is everyone has the right to be who they are or who they want to be, especially without some white jackass stepping in all the time as the culture police. Besides, Asians and Latinos who grew up in the US are stuck in the middle culturally almost as much as blacks are.
Finally, I usually don't use the Constitution to back up any of my arguments because I think its an imperfect document, almost to the point of being worthless. But there's another thing a lot of Americans, especially Repughblicans, like to throw in all of our faces when they're saying something others don't like--it's called the First Amendment. Once again, it's whites trying to change the rules mid-way through the game to suit their needs (which, actually, is how the courts use the Constitution, which is one reason I think it's kind of worthless). People can speak freely on their issues with the US and acknowledge that the US isn't perfect just like whites can claim all black mothers are on welfare freely and skinheads can go on hate marches in Ohio. In general, speech is protected.
Friday, April 18, 2008
The MPRE is the exam nobody ever talks about. You hear all about the Bar exam far before you enter law school or even if you're not a lawyer. You think that's the last and only hurdle before practicing and after you get through, at least, your second year of law school. The MPRE is this test with 60 questions, only 50 of which count, that is as essential as the Bar exam...because you're not practicing law until you pass it. The score you need is jurisdiction-specific. Since I decided to take the NY Bar, I needed an 85. Had I decided to take the Illinois Bar like I want(ed) to, I would have needed an 80. The state of my law school and the state that I'm from only need a 75, and the consensus around getting that score is you only need to get half the questions right on the exam. Now, that's kind of sad to me, as well as makes me question the point of the exam in the first place, but whatever.
However, no one really knows how many questions you need right to get any other score, regardless of what you find on the internet. Unfortunately, there just aren't any clearcut guidelines. Honestly, are you surprised? I mean, those of you who have been through two or three years of law school? The fact that the organization administering the exam won't let you know anything other than you need to take this exam and there are 60 questions on it but only 50 count falls right in line with everything else regarding law school and the legal profession, i.e. downright nonsensical and unnecessarily complicated/mysterious/scary. That, my friends, is the one thing that makes the "easiest test ever" induce anxiety attacks...well, aside from the fact that many people DO fail this exam...some MANY times.
I'll do a Q & A for you, based on stuff people tend to want to know:
Q: How easy is this exam?
A: Honestly, I didn't think it was as easy as most people say. The key might be that it's easy to pass. But the material is not easy--it's convoluted (which is probably why most jurisdictions make it so easy to pass). To that end (the next two Qs)...
Q: How long should I study?
What should I use/do to help me study?
A: Depends on you. A lot of people say they studied too much for this test, and oftentimes those people studied for a week, maybe a little bit less time than that. I studied for close to a week and don't feel it was too much. Don't let anyone tell you their story about how they studied in the car on the way to the exam only and got a 141 out of 150 as evidence of how easy this thing is, unless perhaps you're a white male. I say that because I've been noticing that the people who get the highest scores on this test of ethics and professional responsibility and/or do the least amount of work and get a great score...are often crazy, extremely unethical and unprofessional (online) white males. Or so they say, i.e. I don't believe their stories to begin with and just think they are messing with everyone's heads when they get online and write about how they went into the test with a hangover from partying the night before and got a near-perfect score without studying at all.
Don't let them succeed in freaking you out or making you think you don't really need to study. My theory is these are those borderline serial killer-looking kids you see in class with glasses who have really lame "friends," got picked on in high school and either do nothing but study or study most of the time with study breaks that consist of them behaving like an alkie because they don't know any other definition for the word "fun" but that. If you see a calm, logical-looking post that discusses studying for a week a few hours a day or maybe three days for about 8 hours a day, pay more attention to what those people have to say.
To me, this is how you answer the question of how long you should study (and, for the record, this is basically what I did): before you study at all, get the Barbri Professional Responsibility study guide (if you're not taking the prep course, buy the book off eBay or something like that, which is what I did) and do one of those practice tests cold. If you were smart, you did this with the LSAT--the MPRE is not to be handled any differently. Do a practice test and see how many you miss. Obviously, if you're missing half or more, you need to study more than one day, which a lot of people claim they only studied that long (and I know someone who really did only study for one day). If you're missing, I'd say, 10, maybe 15 (out of 60), you're good to study for one day just to be on the safe side (i.e. maybe read over the short outline in the Barbri book and explanations for the questions you missed).
For the score I needed, based on materials I read online, my rough guideline was I needed to be getting 32 out of 50 correct and/or 39 out of 60, i.e. roughly 64% if I'm remembering correctly and have all the numbers right (I think I am/do). Although one guide I found during an internet search indicated that 64% was needed for an 85 one year (I think 2005), another guide indicated that only 53% was needed another year (I think 2003). Thus, I went with 64%. For me, no matter how much I studied or what I did, that's roughly what I was making on nearly every practice test--whether it was the first test I took cold or the last one I took before the exam. On one practice exam, I did extremely well and on another I did beneath what I needed (not all my exams were from the Barbri book, and I honestly did at least 6 or 7 of them). So, on average, I was hitting somewhere around 32/50 or 39/60. Since I got a 91, I'm guessing this was good enough for NY, CA and any other jurisdiction if this is what you're getting on practice tests.
If you do a practice test and don't care for how many you're missing, I suggest reading the explanations given for the ones you missed and then reading through the big outline in the Barbri book. Then do another practice test after you've finished that. Note what you're having problems with most and go back to those sections in the guideline and/or maybe take note of what kinds of questions tend to pop up the most so that you can get that material down. The good thing about emphasizing practice exams a little more than reading/memorizing the material is you get familiarity with what kinds of stuff pops up a lot on the test--how questions are asked and what kinds of answers are correct for those questions. Again, this was how I found the LSAT to be (although I did better on the LSAT than the MPRE). But if you're GOOD at memorizing or remembering what you read, studying the outlines more will probably be best for you. I, unfortunately, just don't remember things that I read all that well, unless I'm really interested in it.
Q: Do I need to take a legal ethics course?
A: I took one, and I would say no. That class helped me only with issues that were crammed down our throats during class and/or weren't convoluted to begin with. Then again, as I hinted at before, I'm not that nerdy kind of student who takes class, school or studying seriously (unless it's for an exam like the LSAT, MPRE and--coming up--the Bar exam). I pass/failed that class and went about my business (it's required at my school, so I didn't take it trying to learn for the MPRE...as I somewhat indicated, I didn't even know about the MPRE when I took that class, not that that would have made me work harder--it wouldn't have)...so you can question how much I learned in that class to begin with, not through the fault of the instructor.
If you're going to take the class and take it seriously, it might help...but I don't think it's necessary. It's not hard to sit down with the outlines in Barbri's book and/or learn from the explanations to the practice tests in that book, even if you're taking the exam while school is in session. The material was convoluted in Legal Ethics, and it will still be convoluted when you open the Barbri book...regardless.
Q: Did you feel you failed right after the exam, or did you know you did well?
A: Neither. Had no idea how I did. I just felt that if I were taking the MPRE for Illinois or any state needing a score lower than that, then hell yeah I passed. For NY? Not too sure about that one. Indeed, it seems that the majority of people who fail...were taking the test for a jurisdiction needing one of the higher scores. I just told myself that, hey, the test cost me $60 and they're offering it again in August. I won't have my Bar exam results that soon anyways and since I'm not going to a law firm that hires people to start in September, I don't need to be licensed before August.
Q: Does the Barbri study guide/course prepare you?
A: I didn't take the course, but I have friends who did and have read about it. I suspect the course is a waste of time. The Barbri book...I can't put my finger on it, but I don't feel like those questions are exactly like the ones on the real MPRE. It's not like studying from the book will steer you wrong. But if I had to say anything, I'd actually probably say the MPRE is a tad easier than the Barbri questions. Some people feel the opposite. To me, while I was taking the exam, there were simply more questions that I felt like either had obvious correct answers--even to the point of your knowing the answer before reading the choices--or obviously incorrect answers to the point where you could get it down to two choices. There were just some questions that if you read the outline, you were going to get those questions right because they were so straightforward. Others were a little too off-the-wall from what I'd seen on practice tests or discussed in the outlines to the point where I figured they had to be among the questions that don't count towards your score. As with most other standardized tests, the MPRE just has levels of difficulty, it seems, for all the questions.
That said, I did say that no matter how much I studied I just could not get my score to go up to a point where I felt safe. This might have more to do with me than the study guide, being that, as I said, I have problems retaining what I read (auditory learner, part of the reason why my grades suck in law school since they don't just tell you in class what they want you to spit back out on exams/papers like they do k-12 and college).
Q: Is it normal to finish early?
A: Absolutely. I finished all my practice exams in about an hour & 1/2 and finished the actual exam in that amount of time, as well (the exam is 2 hours, 5 mins long). I was one of the first to finish, though, so I don't know how long it took others.
One more thing I found about this exam--if you read the directions, they try to make it seem as if you can't bring anything in the exam except pencils and your admission ticket. But people came into my center with drinks, cell phones, hats and all kinds of stuff that was expressly prohibited. The only thing the proctors said was that you couldn't have drinks at the desk and cell phones needed to be off. In addition, you probably don't even need pencils, because the proctors came with a whole bunch of those.
As far as timing, you don't need to be there super-early. It seems like they will basically close doors right at 9am on the dot (which they did to us), but you don't have to be there at 8:30. The test won't start until 9:30am anyway, thanks to all that bubbling-in crap for your name, address, etc. So you will have time to go use the restroom and everything.
Also, don't be like some of the dweebs I saw at my center, i.e. don't study right up until the exam. If you don't know the material by the morning of, you're not going to know it...save those white-boy stories I mentioned. Plus, I figure it just makes you more nervous. You have to let go of the exam at some point and except it's out of your hands. There were people out there at 8:30am cramming, 8:45am cramming, 8:55am cramming. The worst part is I was probably the only person there who needed a high score--the rest needed a 75, I would bet (based on the state we were in, the kind of law schools people in that state attend, the kind of states they tend to end up working in and the kind of states that will even consider hiring people from the law schools they attend). Seriously, I'm not going to say the test is easy or serious, but it's not that serious, especially if you need a 75. On the day of the test, let it go. Go take it, and then forget about it because there's nothing you can do anymore.
While you're taking the exam, as well as while you're taking practice exams, I advise that you mark questions where you don't feel like you know the answer or you're unsure (if you're worried about how you'll do). This helps on practice tests because it allows you to match your feelings up with reality when you go to check your answers. You can see how many from the ones you marked were actually incorrect and how many you didn't mark that turned out to be incorrect, and get some sense of how often you do these things. When you do it while taking the test, it allows you to utilize time you have left over to go back and count up how many you marked and compare that to your experience taking practice exams. This way, you can do some rough math leaving out of the exam, knowing that you probably missed a certain percentage of the ones you marked and a few of the ones you didn't mark.
During the exam, I marked about 15 questions. Therefore, figuring that I probably missed 15 out of 60 and maybe a few more just from ones that slipped past me, I did feel a little more like maybe I at least got an 85 on the dot. Considering that I figured out of 60 I'd be able to miss around 21 and get the score I needed, plus the fact that I came out with a 91 from marking 15 questions, this seems like a good task to help you feel better when you leave the exam or at least somewhat accurately measure how you did on the exam before you get your score.
Finally, don't let anyone tell you you're a complete idiot for failing this test. For certain jurisdictions, I can totally see how someone could fail. Needing a 75, I don't get it...but, as I have said repeatedly, I find the legal ethics rules to be convoluted. Even seasoned lawyers have to go to other lawyers sometimes for help interpreting those damn rules--my Legal Ethics professor told us about how he gets calls from former students who are practicing regarding the rules. Plus, my experience with the practice tests on which I did worse than others were little mistakes, when corrected, make a big enough difference to get you where you need to be. Don't rush and read carefully are huge. Probably on every practice test, I missed some questions for silly reasons like not reading carefully just because--despite the fact that I always finished early--I felt I had spent too much time gazing about the room because I was mentally tired, thinking or quibbling between two answers on other questions, causing me to read faster or skip over words in the passage on subsequent questions.
So, no, if you fail, don't feel bad about it--just suit up again and figure out what type of study style works best for you. Consider what I've written here and you probably won't fail, especially if you don't let others play with your mind.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Some friends of mine and I went out. This particular group of friends is great because we always end up having real conversations, whereas with some of the other people I know they always want to talk about the same empty twenty-something nonsense. Closer to the end of the conversation, we somewhat did that by talking about guys. One of my white friends, whom I've referred to here before as my best friend in law school (BFLS), said that she thinks black men are the most attractive men in response to my mentioning that another one of my white friends (my best friend in music, BFM) thinks black people are the most attractive. And since she was speaking to two black women, she assumed we would agree with that. I guess my black friend agreed, but I didn't see her response because she was sitting beside me and I was looking at BFLS, who was across from me. Plus, I just figure she probably would agree--I can't really see her dating interracially, though we've never talked about that.
When BFLS kind of asked us if we agreed that black men were the most attractive, I was thinking, "HELL NO!" and just shook my head no. She was kind of like, "You don't?" And I could feel that the next thing would probably be to assume I thought white guys were the most attractive, because that's what so many people do, i.e. the only options are black or white. At the same time, this is a friend of mine who should know better, because I tend to carry on about white men and not in a good way. I've been doing that with her almost ever since I've known her, so 2 & 1/2 years. So I just said, "I like Asian guys."
And then both of my friends went crazy. How? I guess just out-of-this-world couldn't believe I said that or could think Asians are more attractive than white or black people. Now, with the black female, I'm not necessarily surprised. I know how most black women are about Asians, especially when thinking about blacks and Asians dating--it's weird to most. But with BFLS?!?! White females actually do date Asian males. And, though I know Asians still do experience racism from white people, I have just never seen it, at least not in real life. To me, white people generally love Asians and have no problems with dating or doing anything else with them, so this was really amazing to me. And it still is. And, you know, I'm not ever surprised by racism, but this has really caught me off guard.
I kind of want to ask BFLS what that was all about. Chances are the whole thing will get lost in the hustle to graduate and figuring out what to do about the Bar exam. But I have a hard time resisting attempts to answer questions like this. And the other reason why her reaction surprised me is I know she would have something to say if someone acted like that in response to blacks. Usually, I hate when people try to act like everyone in the US gets way more up in arms when bad things happen to black people and just 100% won't tolerate unfair treatment towards blacks while they will do so with every other disadvantaged group and sometimes even with whites--it's not true. But with her, I think it is; she would have poo-pooed someone if they had acted shocked that anyone thought blacks were hot.
And this isn't the first time this has happened, but I guess I'm more shocked because I know her better. The other time was actually when BFM told me that her fiance--white guy--said he doesn't find Asian women attractive. Now, I was really surprised at that, too, and still think about that comment in amazement. But with that comment, it's not the racism I find in it so much as...you know, I've never heard of a white guy not liking Asian women, HAHA. And with him, I think he wouldn't totally dismiss dating a black female, so that's also interesting. I'm pretty sure many Asians have these experiences as teenagers and younger with white people, but I didn't really think it kept happening after that because the majority of white people appear to grow into a point where they accept Asians as almost no different than they are.
And the funniest thing is after her reaction, BFLS got back on her liberal (though she denies being a liberal) throne and started talking about how Asian men are hurt by interracial dating. As always, she was correct and knowledgeable with what she was saying. But still, you're going to act like I told you I was going on "Flavor of Love" so that I can date Flavor Flav at the idea that Asian guys can look better than black guys, and then talk about how much harder it is for Asian guys than other guys to find women. With people reacting like that, uh, YEAH it's harder!!
I guess another thing that surprised/bothered me was this idea that one race is better-looking than another. For some reason, it seems like black men are the flavor du jour while Asian women are the counterpart flavor du jour. I'm tired of that. While I have my preferences, I know there are times when a white guy will be the best-looking in a room, a black man will be the hottest, etc. In the past year, I've gone from being interested in a lily white-looking female to a dark black female to a half-Asian/half-white female. This weekend, I stayed up all night watching re-runs of "I Love New York 2" on VH1 and just thought the black guy Buddha was the sexiest thing. She picked this wimpy white guy called Tailor Made because he would allow her to run the relationship, and I get that--I applaud her for that one, not to mention find it hysterical. But the white guy had nothing on the black one. Buddha was just sexy. I'm not one of those people who exalts one race; I see beauty where beauty exists, and it could be in anybody.
So, I just can't stand when people make a blanket statement that one race is the most attractive, or act like a couple of races are acceptable but others aren't. Part of the reason I was like, "HELL NO!" was because I was rejecting the blanket nature of BFLS's statement. In other words, no, I don't think black men are more attractive than other men--I think there are all kinds of attractive men. Generally, I don't want to date them. But I notice good-looking guys. Furthermore, I feel like this sudden fashionability of black men is, yet, another symptom of this mass movement occurring in the US entitled "White People Dying To Demonstrate We're Not Racist." I know this is not true of BFLS. She's marrying a white male, and she said she wouldn't date black men because 1) that hurts black women, and 2) she would be afraid of black women, HAHAHA. Oh, man, I love that woman! HAHAHA. Plus, you can't be friends with me unless you acknowledge your racism, which she did a long time ago. But I think some of these other women are silently self-congratulatory, thinking they are waging their own modern-day civil rights movement or some such crap with their black boyfriend or husband and a Barack Obama sticker on the car or whatever. With Asian women, who knows...perhaps white men are being "revolutionary," too, but are generally too wimpy (or shall I say too fond of white male power?) to go too low on the social totem pole.
Meanwhile, they've got a little problem with Asian men and black women, gasping at dinner tables when people find them attractive or completely acting like they don't exist. Yep...definitely not racist. You see, I've kind of noticed that white women who get with black men tend to not have black female friends or even associates, and white guys who get with Asian women tend not to have Asian male friends or associates, HAHA. Not all, though, but I've seen it too many times.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I'm not going to go into details as to what I went through this week, but the bottom line is now I can say a little more confidently than I could all semester that I will graduate soon. And that was really, really hard to say all semester. Things fell completely apart first. It was one of those times when if someone asked you how you feel, you couldn't answer. I guess it was a combination of emotions and thoughts, no single one prevailing except, perhaps, the survival instinct. I didn't have time to sit around angry or depressed.
And, actually, someone did ask me how I feel, at least about graduating. And that's another question that brings up different emotions that are hard to put into words. It's one of those questions people expect you to answer the same, that you're happy or ecstatic because you're finally done with schoolwork or because you're now going to make money. Schoolwork is not what law school has been for me; it's a lot more complicated than that. And I've been so caught up in dealing with graduating that I have barely searched for a job, so one thing I can say for law school is that I seem to jump one hurdle and immediately encounter another one. This has been so for, actually, approximately four years of my life now, starting with the law school admissions process and won't stop until I pass the Bar exam or get a job, whichever comes first. Now that I have the graduation thing pretty much squared away, I have to focus more on finding employment.
My friend Angel asked me how I felt about graduating. Excited? Nervous? I responded that it was neither of those things. I think my latest experience has been a case in psychology and have thought this for a long time. The truth is I don't want to leave. There are two reasons why, despite this, I worked hard to graduate: appearances and money. By appearances, I mean how would it look to get this far and not graduate? Or to graduate and then immediately enroll in another program at this school just so that I can stay at this school, in this town...which is really what I want to do? By money, I mean law school costs too much to spend another year here, and another program here would also cost too much. I have to move on.
Thus, the story has been a tale of conflicts: sadness over leaving, worrying about not being able to. But perhaps the reason that I had to worry all along was because I didn't want to leave, i.e. I was subconsciously sabotaging myself. And then there's the fact that I want to stay here, but, on the other hand, I want to go to Chicago. It is probably the case that neither will happen. I am thinking of taking either the California Bar or the NY Bar, because they both have way more job opportunities. If I don't get a job where I'd like to before I graduate, then I will have to choose California or NY because the deadline for registering for the Bar exam will be really close at that point. Although I don't want to go to NY and certainly don't want to go to CA, I already have the feeling that if this is what happens it will be because it's better for me somehow.
By the way...the reason I say that the struggle to graduate turned out for the best is I ended up getting probably the easiest path to graduation that I could, at this point. The path I was trying to take would have been more difficult. And with the newer, simpler path, I wondered why I'd never thought of it before. So, this leads me to believe that the job thing will go the same way.
I've been reading a little about the fallout from Obama's speech on race, and I was going to write a separate post about it...but. I think the most important part of my reaction to white people's reaction fits here, because a lot of white people seem to partially take Obama's speech as yet another black person playing the victim all because he essentially said racism still exists and is still a problem in the US. What I want to say is some people really are victims. It's not exactly the same, but I wonder if white people think it's okay to tell a rape victim to "get over it" or stop acting like a victim just because she tells her story and says rape is a problem in the US. Rape is a problem in the US, and this woman really did get raped--what's wrong with admitting it? The rape is over and done with, but the effects still live on and her story is still important. Some people really are victims. There are more victims in the US than not.
But that's not the point. The point is how do you let being a victim affect you. Obama is a victim because of race, even though he's mixed. But he went to Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He's running for President and is beating a white female who went to Yale Law School and has way more political experience. And he's running on a cheesy campaign of "change" and "hope." He makes one speech, probably the truest speech he's ever made, and to whites and Asians like Michelle Malkin, it's a vital mistake that could be the undoing of his campaign. He never stands up and speaks honestly about racial problems; it's always about uniting people rather than pointing out what's really wrong. And yet, to a lot of people, he is now just like "every other" black person, playing the victim and blaming white people (neither of which he really did). Tell me, who sounds more irrational and delusional--him or these people?
Obama is successful, no doubt, but being successful doesn't mean you don't have more difficulties because of some group to which you belong, and being successful from one of these groups doesn't mean others in that group don't experience more difficulties. Obama knows race is a problem, but, clearly, he has not sat around and let race destroy him or his efforts to succeed. Still, apparently, any time a black person gives their perception of race in the US, unless it is something people from other groups want to hear, they are being the victim. I see nothing wrong with telling it as you see it, or even with complaining and getting angry at times; what I do see a problem with is not taking action. The two are not mutually exclusive.
I discuss this latest turn in Obama's quest for the Presidency because I do complain and get angry, and I do think all blacks are victims whether they want to see it or not. The same is true for gays, Asians, Latinos, the poor, the elderly and many other groups of people in the US. Furthermore, I agree with the ideas motivating parts of the speech by Pastor Wright that I saw quoted. I haven't seen the whole speech, and I can't find right now the article that I saw. I just remember that the basic idea was that blacks are not treated fairly in the US, and, for that, we should condemn the US. I'm not sure I would use the word "condemn," but if you've read enough of my blog you know that I am not all sunshine-y about this country, in large part because of race. So what I'm saying is I agree with what led him to make that part of his speech, that what drove him truly is a problem here (and this might be what Obama was basically saying in his speech).
But despite the problems the US deals all those groups of people I listed, we also have opportunities and, at least, ways to fight for our rights. Obama knows that. I know that. If being black was a problem in every situation, then I wouldn't have been able to go to [white] people at my university and work out my graduation issue just the way that white students can and do. If being black was always a problem, I wouldn't feel that if I keep looking for a job I will get one. If being black was always a problem, I wouldn't have several [white] people out there helping me find a job the way I do now. If being black was always a problem, I wouldn't be where I am. Just because it's not always a problem doesn't mean it's never a problem. But being a problem sometimes doesn't mean that you shouldn't try.
If a black person isn't where Obama is or where I am, it doesn't always mean they haven't tried or that they are just blaming race without it being a factor. I believe I have run into numerous times since I've been in law school where race has been a negative factor, most importantly in the many job interviews I've done over the past three years. I've seen many fake smiles, critical eyes, intimidated demeanors, and once even got hostile tones--to my surprise, more so from white women than white men--followed by rejection letters. Making the claim is not what tells you that I "play the victim" in a way that unfairly blames all my problems on others; giving up looking for jobs after a few of those experiences is. I could go home and live off my parents. They are paying my undergraduate loans; why not let them pay the law school ones? Or I could work harder to find a man who will take care of me, which I actually hear more white women at universities discuss as their plan than black women. But I will not do these things. I will consider places I don't want to live and apply for jobs there, whether law-related or not. It's hard, especially right now with the economy, but I will make the effort.
If you read this blog, then it's no secret: I hate law school. It was a mistake. However, coming here was not. Out of everything bad comes something good. I love the university. It's hard to explain, because you never think someone could love a school. But I do; it could be a person. It's going in my will, and not just the law school. I will be trying to encourage my nieces and nephews to attend this university, and if I ever have kids I will be one of those parents whose kids will grow up having the school shoved down their throats. They will watch every football game, every basketball game and they will attend some. They will visit the school, wear the school's shirts/jackets/hoodies/hats/etc and they will be forced to apply. It's true; it has already spread to others in my family.
This is something I thought only happened on TV sitcoms until I came here and saw it. I'm not the only person who is like this. I know of no school other than Harvard that inspires pride, fanaticism and loyalty to this degree. I see families wandering around with their really little kids all the time and have heard of kids being raised to attend this school all their lives, which could be a lot of pressure since this is one of the hardest schools to get into in the nation. One day, I tried to count how many students I saw walking around wearing some article of clothing bearing our school's name, and I couldn't keep up. And those people who have been eager to give me advice and/or help me find a job have generally been graduates of this university. I can contact anyone else out the blue, including other blacks--most of them don't respond. And I haven't even mentioned the friends I've made that I wouldn't have made otherwise.
I jumped hurdles to get here, and I jumped hurdles to get out. As I said, this has been my life for four years. When something goes wrong, I come up with solutions and move on to the next issue. As with the graduation situation, sometimes the hurdles are solely my fault. Other times, as with some job rejections and the situation I described about a year ago in my blog with LA Girl, race plays some role. But the response, for me, is always the same, regardless of the situation. Everyone has to do what simply needs to be done, no matter the reason. This is not me saying "get over it" because I know better. Keep your struggle with you. It makes you stronger, and it makes you appreciate what you have more than those people who somehow expect you to get over inequality when they (if they're white) also complain when they perceive themselves to be the victims of it. You don't have to try to convince anyone, because if a black person like Obama can't convice white people then no one can. If you wonder why I say unity cannot be achieved in the US, why we'll never eradicate race and/or why racism will never go away, our best symbol of the possibility of all these things played a part this week in demonstrating why.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Q: Why is that in movies targeted at blacks with all black casts, the entire movie seems to be about being black? You'd never see a bunch of white guys actually mention being white in conversation. Do black people really talk about being black that much?
A: This is actually not true, on both counts. Sure, "white movies" definitely will not be all about being white, not blatantly anyway. But black movies usually aren't, either, though they will probably refer to being black and realities of black life throughout the movie. However, I am not sure I could sit down and think of too many white TV shows, for example, that last for a couple seasons that don't eventually have some borderline-offensive episode that plays with race and has white people referring to the fact that they're white and white stereotypes. On Lifetime alone (which I watch every afternoon during the week), I've witnessed this in shows such as "The Golden Girls," "Still Standing," "The Nanny" and "Reba." In everyday life, white people can be heard "joking" about or stereotyping stuff like the fact that one of them can't dance or play a "black" sport or doesn't have a big d!ck.
I've seen white celebrities do interviews and refer to themselves as white in relation to some stereotype, i.e. Ben McKenzie from the "The OC" insinuating that he wasn't good enough in football in high school because he was white and Felicity Huffman from "Desperate Housewives" on "Oprah" implying that black women are better singers/dancers and have nicer lips than white women while describing her experience as the only white female in a studio. As far as white movies, whites usually won't refer to whiteness like blacks do in black movies. However, they definitely display it and exploit white stereotypes. Whites perform whiteness all the time; they're just not verbally explicit about it like blacks are.
Do blacks really talk about being black a lot? YES. I have generally found that a group of black people aren't going to be together for a good amount of time and not talk about race in some way at some point. It's just a huge part of our lives. It's the same for queer people and oftentimes for women, too.
Q: Why are the most dangerous cities in the Us predominately black? Why are the dangerous and bad parts of cities predominately black?
A: I've somewhat touched on this in my posts about anti-racists, as well as a couple other posts here. But to be most simple, 1) blacks are angry, and 2) black men, at least subconsciously, feel a sense of entitlement to everything just like white men do. A white neighborhood is not going to be crime-ridden, because angry black males are simply not going to go to those neighborhoods and commit more than a few crimes over time...and because nobody else is that angry, nor do they have any reason to be. Why won't they commit crimes in white neighborhoods? Because crimes involving white victims are more costly than crimes involving black victims. So, blacks in black neighborhoods often have less than whites in white neighborhoods, but blacks will prey on the blacks anyway because they are much more likely to get away with those crimes or get lighter sentences than for victimizing whites in white neighborhoods.
Many black men will go around breaking into other blacks' homes, stealing/breaking into their cars, etc, and hurting other blacks in the process rather than get a job just because they perceive white males as not earning everything they get...so why should black men have to, especially working crap jobs while the white men get the good jobs with a similar kind of resume or have a better resume simply because, as white men, they were given more opportunities in life? Not saying I agree with these black men or that this is even definitely the case, but this is how I perceive black men who commit crimes as thinking based on comments I've heard many black men make, including ones who aren't criminals. Everything those black guys take or work for, they seem to feel they're automatically owed just because white men don't have to work as hard for those things.
On the site I took this question from, the black responder correctly mentioned the connection between crime and poverty and education. While I agree, it's still also the case that some of those black men could be working but aren't; they live a life of crime. It's also the case that they generally won't go to the better neighborhoods to commit crimes, even though they could potentially walk off with more stuff from those places than they get in poor black neighborhoods. Although you could also make a proximity argument, I believe my response is the reason why.
Q: Why is it that Blacks blame a lot of their problems on Whites? Don't they create their own destiny these days?
A: It's not whites, per se, so much as the problems/systems that whites have created throughout history that either have lingering effects and/or are still perpetrated/kept in existence by whites. We generally don't blame specific white people. As long as whites are still predominantly the ones in positions of power, no, blacks don't create their own destinies.
Q: My Q-if you could pass for 2 weeks(or any period of time) is there anywhere you would want to go or do, that you wouldn't do now?
Q2 Anything you want to ask of other races?
A: Regarding question 1, probably not.
#2, definitely, but when I have questions for other races I generally just ask people of that race. The answers I usually get aren't satisfactory, but I think that's because people don't sit and really think these kinds of things out the way I do. One question that comes to mind, though, that I haven't asked some people yet is how can white people look at people like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and all the other crazy young white female celebrities, and then talk about only black people having no morals or black women being promiscuous. For people of all other races besides black, I want to know why they have such a hard time accepting that we're all different, race does matter and will always matter.
Q: I am a white female, rasied in white suburbia, California. I think we had two blacks kids I went to school with all the way from 1st to 12 grade. The were nice enough kids and they had nice parents who cared about their kids welfare and education. I was just wondering why weren't there MORE of these families? Why do some black people feel they are OWED something becuase they cam from slaves? My Neighbors didn't feel this way! They worked hard and raised nice kids, who raised more nice kids! The didn;t think they were "Opressed!"
A: I seriously don't think there's a black person alive who believes racism is real but doesn't think they are owed something. It has very little to do with slavery, too; we're talking stuff that goes down TODAY. Just because a black person doesn't complain and/or works hard doesn't mean they don't think blacks are oppressed or not getting what they deserve. It's all about the approach, though, i.e. some blacks believe we're owed more but will go ahead and play by white people's rules, some won't do much of anything to help themselves, some will try to make their own rules, etc. How do you let your mindset affect you, is the question. Do you understand that you can be owed but you're probably not going to get it? How do you respond to this reality? As far as whether or not blacks are oppressed, whites and blacks just define "oppression" differently just like we define "racism" differently.
Q: I understand that the "N-Word" is extremely offensive to black people. I would like to understand why and if black people think that if they took less offense to it, maybe people wouldn't throw it around so much.
A: Clarify by saying "some" black people. For black people who are offended, I think they would point to the historical context in which the word was used towards black people and the fact that it is often still used today with a similar kind of context/meaning to it. If blacks took less offense to it, I think its use would actually increase because whites and others are clearly dying to be able to use that word without blacks getting mad, especially given that so many blacks use it in a way those blacks deem "positive." Many whites, Asians and Latinos find that use cool and really want to imitate it.
Q: Why do blacks vote democrat?
A: The majority of blacks are middle-of-the-road, with many conservative viewpoints. However, time and time again, when Republicans get into office, they make decisions that harm blacks more so than Democrats do. Financial decisions are huge since they affect employment, taxes, etc. Republicans also have a habit of being against programs that benefit blacks, such as affirmative action. Democrats also usually pay lip service to blacks; Republicans often don't, and even when they do we don't believe them or one of them shows up in a racial-slur scandal, i.e. Trent Lott, Arnold Schwarzenegger, even John McCain with the "gooks" thing.
Q: Why do blacks smell?
A: My experience is every race has a scent that is particular to/similar among people of that race, a scent that differs from people of other races...including whites. I'm not kidding, nor am I trying to be offensive. I strongly encourage everyone to use fragrances, because I hate when I am, for example, sitting in a classroom and feeling overwhelmed/unable to concentrate by the natural scent of a white or Asian person. The worst is sharing a communal bathroom with a bunch of white females; the scent is awful. It's the same scent I smell in a classroom when I am sitting by a white person, whether male or female, who doesn't have a nice fragrance on, but 1000 times worse.
I actually can't recall smelling a particular black scent or bad smell among blacks, but this might be because I am black. I will say, however, that I have smelled a scent among some but relatively few blacks that, when I've smelled it, has been the same in every black person I've smelled it in. I have never smelled that same scent in another race. At the time, many blacks have called it "musty." I don't know if this is what whites and others mean when they say blacks stink. I asked one of my white friends if blacks had a scent and informed her that, to me, whites and Asians do. She was unable to answer this question. But that "musty" scent is usually from sweat/not having washed up recently.
I have heard throughout my life blacks say whites smell like wet dogs or bologna. This is not quite what I would say they smell like, off the top of my head (could be wrong--haven't smelled a wet dog in forever), but it supports my idea that we all have a natural scent that is common among people depending on their racial background.
That's edition 3. See ya next time!