I read 30 years ago in the Chronicle of Higher Education that in 90% of PhD programs in US universities, there were no black candidates. I was reminded of this statistic listening to a report on National Public Radio in mid-July, concerning the decision by Washington & Lee University to remove Confederate battle flags from the school’s chapel.
What caught my attention was the following statement by W&L president Ken Ruscio: “Total American minority population is, on the undergraduate side, about a little over 11 percent. The total American minority on the law side is 16.6 percent. Within that group, African American students are, on the undergraduate side, a little under 3 percent, and at law, about 8 percent.”
After grappling with Ruscio’s syntax, the net-net appears to be that three percent of undergraduates and eight percent of law students are black. Thus, despite the usual minority outreach efforts, the number actually enrolled as undergraduates and law students is quite low compared to the percentage of blacks in Virginia (and nationally).
This sounds odd in the context that affirmative action to alter the public school system to raise black performance has been in place over 40 years, including forced busing, less challenging curriculum, counseling and tutoring Yet black percentages in higher education have hardly budged.
There is an apparently unbridgeable gap between black and white learning achievement in early education that carries the argument to a place few want to venture. But at the college and post-graduate level, the statistical reality needs to be confronted.
The problem may not be due to racism or black failure but to the shrill demands of white liberals and black activists: The reality is there just aren’t enough blacks to fill the spaces in higher education they demand. The same is true for society where the paucity of black professionals is blamed on racism by whites.
Recognition of this reality would relieve tension in race relations and stop the endless cycle of black leaders falsely accusing white society for failing to end racism and discrimination - to them the reason for low performance compared to whites and Asians.
The statistics say otherwise. Actually, praise is due to white society for its historically unprecedented willingness to change society as recompense for past discrimination. Yet, white liberals and black activists have created an industry of laying the problems of black achievement at the altar of institutional racism. This “white guilt” argument is tiresome and damaging. Wrong-footed efforts to solve a faux problem is creating a permanent mediocrity in higher education and society.
Examples of the decline of academic standards to pay extortion to minorities for their failure has become systemic in colleges and universities. Recent events at the University of Wisconsin (discussed here) epitomize the irreversible implementation of the race-based annihilation of academic standards.
But if you look at the numbers instead of listening to the propaganda, the black community would not be suffering from lowering self-esteem and blameless whites should be released from accusations of racism and the drive to alter standards downward. Both black and white citizens have been hoodwinked by activists who are never satisfied with realistic progress, only theoretical utopian outcomes beyond human accomplishment.
This seemingly never-ending impasse occupies a large amount of civic attention. The Obama administration is dedicated to combating racism, and the mainstream media report on racism as arguably the most important issue on the domestic political agenda. The truth is that racism is not the underlying problem dividing America. It’s the fanciful goals dreamed up by the white Left that blacks cannot attain in numbers to suit them.
Here’s why. If we round off the total population of the U.S. at 300 million, and accept that ten percent of the total achieve advanced degrees, that adds up to 30 million. The black population of the country is 11.6 percent. Round that figure to 10 percent and you are left with 30 million total blacks. Take 10 percent of that number–as we did with the total population that received advanced degrees–and you come up with 3 million. It becomes obvious that the problem of too few blacks in the top professions is not caused by racism but by statistical reality.
Taking into account that 1.6 million blacks are enrolled or have achieved advanced degrees, then black success in higher education is worth celebrating. Yet the race war that should not be continues to divide the nation.