Saturday, June 19, 2021
I have previously mentioned that the ABA Council has proposed several changes to the ABA standards. I am particularly troubled by the proposal concerning 303(c) because it is based on unproven and disputed social science.
Here is the proposed 303(c): "A law school shall provide training and education to law students on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism. . ."
You can find my full comment here.
"I urge this Council to reject the proposal concerning ABA Standard 303c because training and education to law students on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism, as these terms are currently construed in the literature, have not been scientifically proven and they are under significant dispute among cognitive scientists, social scientists, and others. These elements include 1) the implicit bias test, 2) white fragility theory, 3) microaggressions theory, 4) anti-racism, 5) pervasive white supremacy, and 6) diversity training."
Brian Leiter has criticized the ABA proposals on his Law School Reports for reasons similar to my own. (here) He declared, "As a threshold matter, the ABA should have to explain why the existing standards were not more than adequate, especially since some of the proposed changes will impose substantial costs on schools and seem ill-supported by evidence. He also asserted concerning diversity training, there is evidence that such training is not effective, and can even be counter-productive. (Citing here "Yet laboratory studies show that this kind of force-feeding can activate bias rather than stamp it out.") Professor Leiter also noted the ambiguity of the terms used in the proposal.
Most importantly, Professor Leiter declared, "Before imposing a requirement like this, the burden should be on the ABA to establish, and not simply assume, that such training is possible and efficacious."
Citing to numerous studies, I then spend several pages showing in detail that cognitive scientists, social scientists, and others have demonstrated that the elements of bias theory, cross-cultural competence theory, and racism theory have not been scientifically proven and have been highly disputed.
In sum, law schools and others should not impose 1) the implicit bias test, 2) white fragility theory, 3) microaggressions theory, 4) anti-racism, 5) pervasive white supremacy, and 6) diversity training on students because the validity of these theories have been substantially disputed. I want to make clear that the authors of these studies are not outliers who have have deceptively selected, but authorities who are leaders in their fields. In addition, the weight of authority concerning the above theories is strongly against their validity.
I am open to those who disagree with the above. In fact, I challenge those who disagree with my comments to show me where I am wrong. Please feel free to make a comment.