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Harvard Student Stephanie Grace's Racist E-Mail: A Disaster All Around

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To paraphrase a recent episode of "Glee:" Here's the thing about reputations. It takes a whole life to build one and just a split second to ruin it. It's the first rule of high school, and it's the most dangerous thing about the digital era.

Case in point? A woman who, perhaps, deserves a soiled reputation. A woman who will surely suffer for the rest of her life from words she wrote in her early 20s.

For the last ten days, legal and gossip blogs have been abuzz with the fall from grace of Stephanie Grace, a third-year law student at Harvard with a dazzling resume, an enviable clerkship secured in California, a spot at the helm of law review, undergraduate accolades from Princeton, and what appears to be egregiously racist views.

"I just hate leaving things where I feel I misstated my position,'' Grace e-mailed two friends after a spirited dinner. "I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair."

It's the type of paragraph that should make all thinking individuals do a double take, a sharp intake of breath. Did she really say that? Does Grace believe what she wrote? She seems to have, back in November when she first wrote them. She certainly knew the ideas she'd set to screen were inflammatory. "Please don't pull a Larry Summers on me," she wrote her friends, referring to the moment when the then-Harvard president said women were not succeeding in math and science because they were possibly genetically predisposed to do worse than men in these fields. To use the phrase implies she knew her words would be – at the very least -- perceived as racist.

That position shifted once her e-mail was leaked – apparently, at least according to Gawker, by a vindictive former friend. Grace quickly issued a contrite apology to the Black Law Students Association. "I am deeply sorry for the pain caused by my e-mail. I never intended to cause any harm, and I am heartbroken and devastated by the harm that has ensued. I would give anything to take it back."

Grace surely is heartbroken. She likely realizes that these comments will live on in the Internet cloud where nasty items posted linger on forever.

The question is: Could Stephanie Grace have been rehabilitated in some way, in the years to come? Could she have come to a more equitable, more charitable, view of society? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But one thing is true: to put these views in an e-mail was amazingly unselfconscious, totally unthoughtful, as well as racist on this woman's part. Here's another way to ruin your life, not fatal, to be sure, but devastating, stupid, and sure to have life-long consequences. There are two levels here: her own noxious views on race and equality, and her thinking that putting that in an electronic format would not have ramifications and reverberations forever. Her apology sounds like someone who is very, very naive.

Does she deserve censuring, chastisement? Yes. Her views are shocking, especially from a woman as educated as Ms. Grace. Certainly they caused pain.

But the second lesson of the Grace story (beyond the tale of a woman who, it appears, has had every privilege and still somehow, disturbingly, believes her whiteness may have landed her where she is): she will be forever tainted by it. She will be seen, in certain circles, as a Racist, capital R, first and always. Even if she devotes her life to racial equality.

Perhaps Ms. Grace, with her eugenically articulated positions, deserves that scarlet R. But with this type of crime, there can be no moment of expunged record. There is nothing she can do to undo. The punishment will be meted out over decades.

There have been other moments where a single incident undermines a person's reputation. There are dozens of e-mail scenarios that have, if not destroyed lives, then, the very least, ruined careers. As Slate recounted last year, there was the Eli Lilly attorney who inadvertently leaked details of a billion-dollar drug mistake to The New York Times; the law firm intern who accidentally sent the whole staff of his firm a casual, obnoxious e-mail. As Politics Daily's Matt Lewis wrote recently, there is the tweeting journalist who casually calls his subjects bigots, which causes them to clam up.

But Stephanie Grace's e-mail, written on the cusp of her career, speaks to me of the type of statement that once would have remained buried and then dug up to ruin a politician or public figure years down the road. There's Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, for example, who was exposed during Senate Judiciary hearings of the Reagan era for his dubious history fighting civil rights leaders and other racist activities and beliefs from his past. There's Sen. Trent Lott, praising the segregationist presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond at the latter's birthday party.

Maybe its good we live in an era where such things don't remain buried until confirmation hearings.

But the thing is: there is no real repentance in that world either. As Gawker commented, "The main lesson here: Don't be racist. But if you really, really are -- and really, really need to voice your racist thoughts -- don't write them in an e-mail to a devious friend who may later sabotage you. Simply find the nearest well and shout your racist thoughts into them; get it out of your system, and continue on with your bigoted life."

It's a joke, of course. The hope is that someone would have known, in advance, just how wrong these statements were at the outset. But perhaps someone who's spent that many years at Princeton and Harvard – the exact trajectory, it might be noted, that the first African-American First Lady, Michelle Obama, took – might have already learned that the African-American men and women studying alongside her were equally deserving of those desks. She certainly has years to ponder the error of her thinking.


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I don't think you should simply be judged by the things you believe in your formative years. Perhaps something like that should pose a question, but not condemn for life.

The sad thing is though, the media, and therefore we the people don't seem very good at distinguishing like from like. Everything is given equal weight no matter when it was said, what was said and who the intended recipient is.

Yeah, the lesson learned is, don't put any opinions down on 'paper' because they could come back to bite you.


Refusing to use the spellchick!

I have put you on ignore. No really, I have, but you are still ruining my enjoyment of this site. .

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I don't think you should simply be judged by the things you believe in your formative years. Perhaps something like that should pose a question, but not condemn for life.

The sad thing is though, the media, and therefore we the people don't seem very good at distinguishing like from like. Everything is given equal weight no matter when it was said, what was said and who the intended recipient is.

Yeah, the lesson learned is, don't put any opinions down on 'paper' because they could come back to bite you.

Yup, the internet is forever. Even if you delete it, its not really gone.

http://www.wxpnews.com/archives/wxpnews-223-20060418.htm


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To paraphrase a recent episode of "Glee:" Here's the thing about reputations. It takes a whole life to build one and just a split second to ruin it. It's the first rule of high school, and it's the most dangerous thing about the digital era.

Case in point? A woman who, perhaps, deserves a soiled reputation. A woman who will surely suffer for the rest of her life from words she wrote in her early 20s.

For the last ten days, legal and gossip blogs have been abuzz with the fall from grace of Stephanie Grace, a third-year law student at Harvard with a dazzling resume, an enviable clerkship secured in California, a spot at the helm of law review, undergraduate accolades from Princeton, and what appears to be egregiously racist views.

"I just hate leaving things where I feel I misstated my position,'' Grace e-mailed two friends after a spirited dinner. "I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair."

It's the type of paragraph that should make all thinking individuals do a double take, a sharp intake of breath. Did she really say that? Does Grace believe what she wrote? She seems to have, back in November when she first wrote them. She certainly knew the ideas she'd set to screen were inflammatory. "Please don't pull a Larry Summers on me," she wrote her friends, referring to the moment when the then-Harvard president said women were not succeeding in math and science because they were possibly genetically predisposed to do worse than men in these fields. To use the phrase implies she knew her words would be – at the very least -- perceived as racist.

That position shifted once her e-mail was leaked – apparently, at least according to Gawker, by a vindictive former friend. Grace quickly issued a contrite apology to the Black Law Students Association. "I am deeply sorry for the pain caused by my e-mail. I never intended to cause any harm, and I am heartbroken and devastated by the harm that has ensued. I would give anything to take it back."

Grace surely is heartbroken. She likely realizes that these comments will live on in the Internet cloud where nasty items posted linger on forever.

The question is: Could Stephanie Grace have been rehabilitated in some way, in the years to come? Could she have come to a more equitable, more charitable, view of society? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But one thing is true: to put these views in an e-mail was amazingly unselfconscious, totally unthoughtful, as well as racist on this woman's part. Here's another way to ruin your life, not fatal, to be sure, but devastating, stupid, and sure to have life-long consequences. There are two levels here: her own noxious views on race and equality, and her thinking that putting that in an electronic format would not have ramifications and reverberations forever. Her apology sounds like someone who is very, very naive.

Does she deserve censuring, chastisement? Yes. Her views are shocking, especially from a woman as educated as Ms. Grace. Certainly they caused pain.

But the second lesson of the Grace story (beyond the tale of a woman who, it appears, has had every privilege and still somehow, disturbingly, believes her whiteness may have landed her where she is): she will be forever tainted by it. She will be seen, in certain circles, as a Racist, capital R, first and always. Even if she devotes her life to racial equality.

Perhaps Ms. Grace, with her eugenically articulated positions, deserves that scarlet R. But with this type of crime, there can be no moment of expunged record. There is nothing she can do to undo. The punishment will be meted out over decades.

There have been other moments where a single incident undermines a person's reputation. There are dozens of e-mail scenarios that have, if not destroyed lives, then, the very least, ruined careers. As Slate recounted last year, there was the Eli Lilly attorney who inadvertently leaked details of a billion-dollar drug mistake to The New York Times; the law firm intern who accidentally sent the whole staff of his firm a casual, obnoxious e-mail. As Politics Daily's Matt Lewis wrote recently, there is the tweeting journalist who casually calls his subjects bigots, which causes them to clam up.

But Stephanie Grace's e-mail, written on the cusp of her career, speaks to me of the type of statement that once would have remained buried and then dug up to ruin a politician or public figure years down the road. There's Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, for example, who was exposed during Senate Judiciary hearings of the Reagan era for his dubious history fighting civil rights leaders and other racist activities and beliefs from his past. There's Sen. Trent Lott, praising the segregationist presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond at the latter's birthday party.

Maybe its good we live in an era where such things don't remain buried until confirmation hearings.

But the thing is: there is no real repentance in that world either. As Gawker commented, "The main lesson here: Don't be racist. But if you really, really are -- and really, really need to voice your racist thoughts -- don't write them in an e-mail to a devious friend who may later sabotage you. Simply find the nearest well and shout your racist thoughts into them; get it out of your system, and continue on with your bigoted life."

It's a joke, of course. The hope is that someone would have known, in advance, just how wrong these statements were at the outset. But perhaps someone who's spent that many years at Princeton and Harvard – the exact trajectory, it might be noted, that the first African-American First Lady, Michelle Obama, took – might have already learned that the African-American men and women studying alongside her were equally deserving of those desks. She certainly has years to ponder the error of her thinking.


IR5

2007-07-27 – Case complete at NVC waiting on the world or at least MTL.

2007-12-19 - INTERVIEW AT MTL, SPLIT DECISION.

2007-12-24-Mom's I-551 arrives, Pop's still in purgatory (AP)

2008-03-11-AP all done, Pop is approved!!!!

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Lawdy, Lawdy, I would have posted earlier but I'm running on CP time. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

To paraphrase a recent episode of "Glee:" Here's the thing about reputations. It takes a whole life to build one and just a split second to ruin it. It's the first rule of high school, and it's the most dangerous thing about the digital era.

Case in point? A woman who, perhaps, deserves a soiled reputation. A woman who will surely suffer for the rest of her life from words she wrote in her early 20s.

For the last ten days, legal and gossip blogs have been abuzz with the fall from grace of Stephanie Grace, a third-year law student at Harvard with a dazzling resume, an enviable clerkship secured in California, a spot at the helm of law review, undergraduate accolades from Princeton, and what appears to be egregiously racist views.

"I just hate leaving things where I feel I misstated my position,'' Grace e-mailed two friends after a spirited dinner. "I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair."

It's the type of paragraph that should make all thinking individuals do a double take, a sharp intake of breath. Did she really say that? Does Grace believe what she wrote? She seems to have, back in November when she first wrote them. She certainly knew the ideas she'd set to screen were inflammatory. "Please don't pull a Larry Summers on me," she wrote her friends, referring to the moment when the then-Harvard president said women were not succeeding in math and science because they were possibly genetically predisposed to do worse than men in these fields. To use the phrase implies she knew her words would be – at the very least -- perceived as racist.

That position shifted once her e-mail was leaked – apparently, at least according to Gawker, by a vindictive former friend. Grace quickly issued a contrite apology to the Black Law Students Association. "I am deeply sorry for the pain caused by my e-mail. I never intended to cause any harm, and I am heartbroken and devastated by the harm that has ensued. I would give anything to take it back."

Grace surely is heartbroken. She likely realizes that these comments will live on in the Internet cloud where nasty items posted linger on forever.

The question is: Could Stephanie Grace have been rehabilitated in some way, in the years to come? Could she have come to a more equitable, more charitable, view of society? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But one thing is true: to put these views in an e-mail was amazingly unselfconscious, totally unthoughtful, as well as racist on this woman's part. Here's another way to ruin your life, not fatal, to be sure, but devastating, stupid, and sure to have life-long consequences. There are two levels here: her own noxious views on race and equality, and her thinking that putting that in an electronic format would not have ramifications and reverberations forever. Her apology sounds like someone who is very, very naive.

Does she deserve censuring, chastisement? Yes. Her views are shocking, especially from a woman as educated as Ms. Grace. Certainly they caused pain.

But the second lesson of the Grace story (beyond the tale of a woman who, it appears, has had every privilege and still somehow, disturbingly, believes her whiteness may have landed her where she is): she will be forever tainted by it. She will be seen, in certain circles, as a Racist, capital R, first and always. Even if she devotes her life to racial equality.

Perhaps Ms. Grace, with her eugenically articulated positions, deserves that scarlet R. But with this type of crime, there can be no moment of expunged record. There is nothing she can do to undo. The punishment will be meted out over decades.

There have been other moments where a single incident undermines a person's reputation. There are dozens of e-mail scenarios that have, if not destroyed lives, then, the very least, ruined careers. As Slate recounted last year, there was the Eli Lilly attorney who inadvertently leaked details of a billion-dollar drug mistake to The New York Times; the law firm intern who accidentally sent the whole staff of his firm a casual, obnoxious e-mail. As Politics Daily's Matt Lewis wrote recently, there is the tweeting journalist who casually calls his subjects bigots, which causes them to clam up.

But Stephanie Grace's e-mail, written on the cusp of her career, speaks to me of the type of statement that once would have remained buried and then dug up to ruin a politician or public figure years down the road. There's Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, for example, who was exposed during Senate Judiciary hearings of the Reagan era for his dubious history fighting civil rights leaders and other racist activities and beliefs from his past. There's Sen. Trent Lott, praising the segregationist presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond at the latter's birthday party.

Maybe its good we live in an era where such things don't remain buried until confirmation hearings.

But the thing is: there is no real repentance in that world either. As Gawker commented, "The main lesson here: Don't be racist. But if you really, really are -- and really, really need to voice your racist thoughts -- don't write them in an e-mail to a devious friend who may later sabotage you. Simply find the nearest well and shout your racist thoughts into them; get it out of your system, and continue on with your bigoted life."

It's a joke, of course. The hope is that someone would have known, in advance, just how wrong these statements were at the outset. But perhaps someone who's spent that many years at Princeton and Harvard – the exact trajectory, it might be noted, that the first African-American First Lady, Michelle Obama, took – might have already learned that the African-American men and women studying alongside her were equally deserving of those desks. She certainly has years to ponder the error of her thinking.

Huh? On the one hand she argues that African-Americans might be genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. On the other hand she argues that they might be as intelligent as whites in the same way if certain variables are controlled. Huh? She vitiates her own argument. This argument, as odious as it is, has no business coming from a 3rd year Harvard Law student. I bet that she was drunk but doesn't want to admit it.


IR5

2007-07-27 – Case complete at NVC waiting on the world or at least MTL.

2007-12-19 - INTERVIEW AT MTL, SPLIT DECISION.

2007-12-24-Mom's I-551 arrives, Pop's still in purgatory (AP)

2008-03-11-AP all done, Pop is approved!!!!

tumblr_lme0c1CoS21qe0eclo1_r6_500.gif

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It's a horrible sentiment, but I had some rather absurd opinions when I was 17 through early 20s, and they changed almost weekly. So what?

Edited by Madame Cleo

Refusing to use the spellchick!

I have put you on ignore. No really, I have, but you are still ruining my enjoyment of this site. .

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It's a horrible sentiment, but I had some rather absurd opinions when I was 17 through early 20s, and they changed almost weekly. So what?

So what? The internet , so what. :lol:

Yes, i'm sure we all had some sort of view in high school or university that we regret today. Lucky for us, cell phones were prohibitively expensive, the internet was in its fledgling stages, and youtube had not yet been invented.

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So what? The internet , so what. :lol:

Yes, i'm sure we all had some sort of view in high school or university that we regret today. Lucky for us, cell phones were prohibitively expensive, the internet was in its fledgling stages, and youtube had not yet been invented.

I know, the parent's duty today is to prevent your kids from making these sorts of errors in ways that can affect them later - this seems to mean teaching them to use pseudonyms and keeping their image off the internet :wacko:


Refusing to use the spellchick!

I have put you on ignore. No really, I have, but you are still ruining my enjoyment of this site. .

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If she argues both sides how could it be racist?

Some parts of intelligence are genetic. And some parts are nurture.

Some people are just plain stupid. No amount of education will change that.

Everyone just deals with them in daily life.

Huh? On the one hand she argues that African-Americans might be genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. On the other hand she argues that they might be as intelligent as whites in the same way if certain variables are controlled. Huh? She vitiates her own argument. This argument, as odious as it is, has no business coming from a 3rd year Harvard Law student. I bet that she was drunk but doesn't want to admit it.


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Huh? On the one hand she argues that African-Americans might be genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. On the other hand she argues that they might be as intelligent as whites in the same way if certain variables are controlled. Huh? She vitiates her own argument. This argument, as odious as it is, has no business coming from a 3rd year Harvard Law student. I bet that she was drunk but doesn't want to admit it.

:thumbs: I was thinking the same thing, especially that it happened after having a spirited debate with friends. It was spirited alright...neutral grain spirited.

I think it's silly to hold every word to what people say. If she was making similar comments in other emails or if she had a big Nazi flag on her dorm wall, then it would be a real issue.

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It is done all the time though - and it is done via media 'expose'. Originally these media exposes were well researched, thorough examinations of a person, not this finger wagging gossip flimsy stuff.

Frustrating...


Refusing to use the spellchick!

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"I just hate leaving things where I feel I misstated my position,'' Grace e-mailed two friends after a spirited dinner. "I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair."

I don't find this to be racist in the least. Similarly, you can't rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on the average, genetically predisposed to be more intelligent. We don't understand genetics well enough to really understand the origins of intelligence in the genetic code.

She didn't state that she thought one race was better than the other. She only stated the obvious--that there are genetics differences between people of different races. And she acknowledged the obvious fact that those genetic differences may determine any number of characteristics, some of which may be important.

Society seems to be so enveloped in the utterly baseless assumption that people of all races are the same that it ignores the obvious fact that races are different. All people are created equal. But they weren't created the same. Some of them are smarter than others. Until we understand the genetic basis of intelligence, we won't be able to objectively prove that all races have the same genetic predisposition towards intelligence.

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There's nothing wrong with what she said.

You can't argue genetics in once instance and not argue it in another.

Every last piece of our structure, the way we look the odds of having a disease, what color our hair will be, skin will be, etc. are all attributed to genetics. Why would the brain and its development be any different?

There's plenty of factors to look at.

She never made a 'matter of fact' statement. She made a probability statement that she thinks they could be a certain way, not that it was factual though.

People need to lighten up. Hell, I could come to the same conclusion in my interactions with certain groups of people as well if I go by the statistics and the intelligence of those I've come into contact with.

Sometimes people just need to look at the big picture and stop pushing it into something small like racism.


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There's nothing wrong with what she said.

You can't argue genetics in once instance and not argue it in another.

Every last piece of our structure, the way we look the odds of having a disease, what color our hair will be, skin will be, etc. are all attributed to genetics. Why would the brain and its development be any different?

There's plenty of factors to look at.

She never made a 'matter of fact' statement. She made a probability statement that she thinks they could be a certain way, not that it was factual though.

People need to lighten up. Hell, I could come to the same conclusion in my interactions with certain groups of people as well if I go by the statistics and the intelligence of those I've come into contact with.

Sometimes people just need to look at the big picture and stop pushing it into something small like racism.

She was a law student and not a geneticist. She is trying to tie skin color to intelligence without really having the data or credentials to back it up. Which suggests another motive.

Might what she said be right? I don't think anyone really knows that yet. I think she was trying to justify her views in a way that couldn't be disputed, but what she "observed" could just a much be a result of environment as genetics.


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