Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Sorting Hat

…is a magical hat in the Harry Potter stories. When placed on a student’s head it divines that person's aptitudes, intelligence, interests, moral disposition, etc.. The Hat then decides to which “house” (dorm/tribe) the student will be assigned. The primary objective seems to be maximizing the students’ opportunities to develop within the cultural characteristics - supportive and conflicting - of each distinct “house.” This doesn’t necessitate uniformity; challenges contribute to development.

The Sorting Hat may be heard to mutter things like “keen mind,” “ambitious,” “has courage,” or “seeks answers” during its analysis. The Hat is omniscient in its role. It’s MAGIC. Even so, it may struggle in a decision where a student possesses qualities associated with more than one “house.” It also may take a student’s desires into account.

UC Berkeley School of Law administrators are neither omniscient, nor do they consider individuals’ talents or desires. They sort on the basis of race and ethnicity.

The primary objective seems to be enforcing an identical skin pigmentation average across all cohorts, or “mods.” In their sorting hat role UC Berkeley administrators may not speak out loud, but if they did you’d hear things like “alumni-caucasian,” “economically deprived african-american,” “overachieving-oriental,” and “Elizabeth Warren type-amerind.”

They may sort on the basis of skin color, but they’re not even able to get that right:
“In an effort to create a more positive experience for underrepresented minority students, the UC Berkeley School of Law has implemented a new “critical mass” policy, which has resulted in some racial divisions in the first-year classes.”
UC Berkeley administrators can’t plead ignorance of the consequences of their segregationism. It had to be obvious from their spreadsheets that one of their “super-mod” diversity silos wouldn’t have any blacks in it. What I don’t understand is how they failed to take gender identity into account. If only they added a factor for the explosively expanding gender-identity categories it would work. Right?

Here’s another idea. Give each student a score for what they are and an equal score for what they are not. Then, since the scores would all be identical, toss the names into a hat and get the most mixed-race, thoroughly gender-confused individual they can find to draw them out randomly.

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