NCARB and white male privilige

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    Scott Barber

    First: I don't know that this forum is the place for this discussion, and given other posts that have been removed don't be discouraged or feel that it's a racially-biased or gender-specific reason. I can't speak for the moderators but I think they try to keep this forum focused to helping people pass the exams. That being said, I'm happy to participate in the conversation, and hope I can learn from any dialogue that is able to take place.

    I realize my experiences are specific to those of a white male, but I don't intend any disrespect in the following thoughts. I continually try to be aware of my privilege (that I do recognize exists) and assure you that I'm not trying to be blind to any genuine bias. I appreciate the growth of diversity within architecture and construction, but know there's a long way to go and hope to see a cultural shift as I continue in my career. I just want to dissect your statements and try to understand more clearly:

    Language of testing: How do you classify white upper class language? I think the language is written for those who are educated, but anyone who is sitting for these exams had to go through college and get a professional degree, so I'm unsure how NCARB uses a certain level of language to discriminate. I think the distinction is more on the basis of education level, rather than race, but I want to understand how you view it.
    Slight tangent, but: While I have given thought to NCARB providing other languages for the exam to ease people who speak English as a second language, I recognize they're evaluating people to practice architecture within the United States, a predominantly-English nation, so I haven't pushed that matter or mentioned it to NCARB. 

    Sitting at the table: I think there is a change that needs to take place within the architecture profession at large. I think progress has been made but there's a long way to go. But is there a specific 'table' you're referring to? It looks like there has been diversity on the Think Tank the last few years, but is there something else you had in mind?

    Testing Schedule: This is a result of Prometric, NCARB has no control over the availability of testing appointments. Some Prometric centers are busier than others, but it seems like an issue for most locations (I scheduled mine 4 weeks in advance, minimum, and had to test during the week). I also don't understand (but would like to, so please tell me) how testing schedules are racially-biased. 

    I hope there can be some good dialogue and input from others. If any of my comments above come across as rude or condescending please understand I'm wanting to understand these issues. I know my experiences are limited and always want to learn from others with different backgrounds, I know I have a lot to learn.

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    Mollie Pelletier

    I honestly don’t see bias in the tests themselves or the way they are administered. But the licensing process in itself carries with it s privilege bias. Wealthy people can afford professional degrees. Men are more able to work throughout their careers without lapses for child rearing thus making internships hours and years expetoence more attainable. When i graduated from undergrad, getting licensed was a 5 year commitment before the testing process even started. Putting the reality of being licensed around age thirty. If you fell off that path by not being able to afford grad school or b

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    Mollie Pelletier

    Or as a woman by having children, getting licensed in most states was not even possible. This kept the keys to licensure in the hand of privileged males.

    Of. course there are exceptions to this, but all in all it is how the system for professionals was set up. Law school. Medical school. Wealth and privilege begets wealth and privilege.

    NCARB actually has made strides to level this playing field. AXP and testing can overlap and can start while still in school. You can get an NCARB certificate with just a highschool diploma if you have enough years experience and pass the tests.

    As for getting a seat at the table, things are changing slowly there as well. I sit in many rooms where everyone is a white male except me. And they often talk over me or assume I’m the secretary. But I’m at the table. Not all white male dominated firms play the good old boy game. You’ve earned a seat at that table, so if you don’t have one where you are, i suggest you move to where you are valued.

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