The Second Year Itch Part 1

the_seven_year_itch_19551It’s amazing how much a year and half-plus can alter your views. I often think about the things that I said wanted to use my law degree for when I drafted my personal statement for law school. I think about who I was and where I was at that point in my life and attempt to consider whether or not things have changed. The quick answer to the question is no, sort of. I still would like to use my education and new found access to impact the systematic issues that impact communities like the one I come from, but the way in which I believe I can impact those things is very different. I find that I am no longer convinced that the law degree is powerful or magical as I once believed it to be. I am not sure if this is a result of the typical jadedness that sets in around  the second year of law school or if it is the result of something deeper. I acknowledge that with all that comes with the second year of law school (very much like the first but far more busy, and in many ways less exciting due to the lack of newness) I am some what jaded, however I don’t attribute my new perspective to just that. The systemic issues that are plaguing poor and minority communities are extremely complex to engage. Many of the issues (in my opinion) can’t be adequately addressed via the law, at least through litigation. I am told that is where the policy work comes in. I don’t dispute that one can work to advance change in communities by seeking to influence policy, but I am slightly concerned that doing that type of work will not manifest in the type of change I want to see. I was asked recently if I was president what type of legislative policies would I enact to advocate for the type of change that I want? While it was not meant to be a dubious question I think it speaks to the problem I have with my new found access. There really is no legislative policy which could be enacted that could rectify centuries of deprivation. Poor and minority communities have been denied access at so many levels for so long I am not sure what to do to change directions, whether it is in educational access or in over incarceration, or community development etc. For decades upon decades, the voices which were heard with regard to decisions concerning criminalization of behavior, access to education, access to development capital, access to national legislation have been non-minority voices. In my (current view) law school is a microcosm of this fact. When the president left the Senate to run for the presidency he was was the sole black male (and the sole black person I believe) in the United States Senate. Given the sheer amount of power that Congress has regarding enacting laws that affect the entire country, it is troubling to think about how few of those voices come from, or speak to issues that affect communities like mine.

I was urged to come to law school, because no one well at least only one other person from where I am from had gone…how can I possibly hope to affect change on the level I would like to when access to all the pathways which would be needed to make change manifest are effectively shut off, or only admitting very few people like me…I am by no means Obama, but if I were to all of sudden leave law school, that would leave two black males in my entire class year…the numbers just don’t appear to be on our side….which adds to the angst…

The question about what I would do if I was president and could enact whatever legislation I want is the equivalent of what I ask myself everyday which is if I survive to graduation and or if I am admitted to the MBA program and complete them both, and now I have the option to choose a road to utlize the degrees, what road will I choose, or better yet what road can I choose that will have the impact that I would like? Or is the question itself absurd….should I choose the road that either brings me as an individual the most wealth or the most enjoyment, because changing the system was rendered in possible, before the ink dried on our founding documents?

I’m not sure if I will find the answer….but I will keep looking for it…

Stay Tuned

Post a Comment

Your email address is never shared. Required fields are marked *