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Racism in Education

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In the beginning of 1960s, an abrupt change was observed in the blacks that were encouraged and supported by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This change resulted in the beginning of a war that gave them a vision for their social rights in the region. It was observed during these years that the same handling that were observed in the region of American people, even hundred years were not completed after their freedom from the slavery.  Our citizens struggled to get civilized education programs for their adolescence for the right to make а civilized living, and to get self esteem from other ethnic groups. Luckily, for our generation, their wrestle ended in conquest.

However, the efforts that were started in 1960s did not seem to be continuous until today, and progress has not been observed in this region. In addition, situation has become more adverse and deteriorated. For instance, a number of issues are being confronted by black these days, such as racial discrimination, drugs, scarcity of resources, etc. Moreover, unity has been lacked unfavorably and adversely in the region so far.  An added major difficulty is the survival of racism. In the result, the black community has been confronting a number of issues are being confronted by the black community, which have affected them physically, as well as, emotionally. Consequently, the black community has progressed very slowly, even to the extent of no progress in the past decades due to a number of factors, such as racial discrimination, and lack of unison among the black community, etc. (Smith 2003)

It has been observed that existence of struggle racism was an obvious thing before the introduction of the Civil Rights. However, blaming of the current problems on the racial discrimination has been disagreed by some of the experts. Unluckily, they are mistaken. Currently, unemployment rates are elevating, and neighborhoods are separating, which demonstrates the racial discrimination that is common these days. In addition, black community also confronts the ignorance of white people who do not encourage the communication with the black community. In the year 1991, separation of approximately thirty million black people in terms of their prevalence was reported by the USA Today, as compared with the separation that occurred in the 60s, as earlier mentioned in the paper.

Thus, it summarizes that improvement has been observed in the incomes of some of the black people, however, white people has dominated the area that can also be lived in by the black well-to-do people. In the year 1992, it was indicated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that housing industry confronted anti-black prejudice and partiality in the region. This observation can be found in the administrative centers. Another example of racial discrimination can be taken by the example that it was reported by Ed Smith, Ph.D. that unemployment rate of white people with college degree was only five percent, as compared to the thirteen percent of unemployment rate of black people with college degree in the year 1987. In this regard, high minority unemployment rate has been caused by the racial discrimination in the region, which has also been indicated by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The just clarification which justifies these figures is racial discrimination. In the year 2000, it was indicated that black community cannot be compete with other groups that are minor in the region, as racial discrimination has existed against the black community. (Nunn, 2000)

As Janet E. Helms defines racial identity and said in Black and White Racial Identity that ‘the term “racial identity” truly refers to a sense of group or communal identity based on one’s observation that he or she shares a universal ethnic heritage with a meticulous ethnic group. Racial description or group and ethnicity per se are baffling issues in the United States. (Helms 1993)

In the country, it is a fact that minorities have less power, as compared to the white people in the region. Countering of black people by the white people in terms of housing, as well as, the opportunities related to the unemployment. In this regard, hoisting of black community in terms of social, as well as, economic ladder has become very difficult and almost impossible for the black people. In addition, exposure to steady discrimination causes some people to consider that they are valueless and incompetent of succeeding. In this regard, it is very important that black people should have strong will and power in their own selves, which can allow them to overcome the issue of racial discrimination. Until us as а people turn out to be aware and start to raise our self-respect, we will carry on to let racial discrimination be а pestilence to our race.

It has been observed that enthusiasm has been lacked in the new generation of the black community due to the process that has been very lethargic since past decades. The racial discrimination and anti-black policies have resulted in the loss of self-esteem by these black people. As a result, associate brothers and sisters are being rejected by these people, in order to relinquish their existence and improvement. This kind of depressive attitude has been observed in most of the black adolescences that have been deteriorated adversely, and society is often blamed for this consequence.   Since these meetings are typically the result of а unenthusiastic event, there is no inducement for the adolescence to better them. In the result, it has been assumed that continuity will be observed in the high unemployment rate, as well as, crime rate of the black community, if the older generation of the black community will not change themselves, and will not take any step to strengthen their will power and self-esteem. Though each black person is not in these meticulous circumstances, the ones who are will delay the development of the whole race. (Nunn 2000)

All you where brought up to learn were your native language so children have a very difficult time learning and fitting in at school. Sometimes their education might be held back because they might need to be in classes where they have to explain the educational process in two languages. Some children were also being desegregated among the white community until Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. At they time President Lyndon B. Johnson signaled the nation’s first commitment to addressing the English language skill of minority students by signing into law title VII of the elementary and secondary education Act: the bilingual Education Act. Focusing primarily on children who were both poor and educationally disadvantage due to their inability to speak English, Title VII authorized monetary resources to support educational programs and develop necessary instructional resources. (Feagin 2002)

Besides this word is in my opinion rightly controversial, it describes а distinct population of humans distinguished in some way from other humans. The first real racial classification was written by made at the end of the 17th century, where some scientists split the humans into four main-groups – the European group, the Asian group and the African group and the Indian or American Group. But at this time there was no racist idea behind that, they only did it to distinguish the peoples by their skin color, facial type, cranial profile and size, texture and color of hair. But after some time, in the period of the enlightenment these main-groups were split into several sub-groups like East-European or Alpine European and some characteristics were assigned to these groups. Now we know that these views are old-fashioned because new conclusions in the modern gene-research tell us that the differences in skin and appearance are only caused by the different environment circumstances, these groups live in. The appearance of people is only dependent of а few genes. So it’s possible that а person is in some way related to а person, who lives on another continent, although this person has not the same complexion.

The appearance is only generated by а small number of relatively small number of genes and so, from the viewpoint of the gene-research, you can’t really use the word races for human beings. Unfortunately racists believe in the theory that there are different races, with differences in strength, intelligence and personality. The next expression, which has to be explained, is the word “racism”. Racism is an ideology which is affected by the belief that а certain race is superior to other ones. From the view of а racist the other inferior races don’t have the right to be on the same level in society like he or she is. Often people use the word racism instead of intolerance, but that’s not right. Intolerance means that а person treats other people bad because he can’t for example accept their religious or cultural attitude. But the main difference to racism is that а racist can’t accept differences which are congenital, like the complexion. In most cases racism is а reaction to the fear that people have of the unknown. (Smedley 1993)

Historical racism

The notes about racism in history go back till 1500 before Christ. At this time the Aryans conquered North India. The white-skinned Aryans restrained the native Indians, who had brown and black skin. They were completely separated from society and so the Aryans built а racist regime, which was so extreme that it was taken as а model for many racist leaders afterwards. In the ancient world many peoples like the Romans or the Greek conquered а lot of areas and lead its inhabitants into slavery. An example for that are the Egypt’s, as they enslaved the Jews what is written down in the bible. In the medieval ages the Christians restrained all other religions but particularly they had а conflict with the Jewish religion. But this attitude wasn’t racism because it was only restricted to the religion. At the end of the medieval ages there written some laws that the new Christians, which were converted in the inquisition, aren’t allowed to mix their blood with real Christians. (Weisglass 2001)

The next important period where racism happened was the discovery of America, where the Spanish felt superior over the Native Americans. The Spanish colonists treated the Native Americans so bad, that there was а serious discussion, if they were animals or humans. One of the leaders had the point of view, that Indio’s are as inferior to the Spanish as the monkeys are to the humans. After the European peoples settled down in America, they enslaved а lot of Africans, who worked for them. The superior attitude of the white men leads into а few absurd debates, for example there was а discussion, and how the black people could come into existence, because everybody assumed that Adam and Eva were white. So they came to the conclusion that the black humans arose after the displacement of the paradise. The problem with the slavery reached its maximum at the civil war in the 19th century in the USA. In 1865 the slavery got forbidden in the USA but the racist discrimination continued legally until 1964 when а law was introduced, which forbid the discrimination of black people.

In the meantime in Europe, there was the period of enlightenment and the people distanced themselves from the bible more and more. So they looked for а new way to get inferior and they found the Aryans. The Aryans were Indo-Germanic people, which were described as the most beautiful race on earth with their blue eyes, blond hair and tall and strong bodies. After 1933, when Hitler came to power the concentration camps were built. In the period of the Nazis the racism reached its maximum, and the Jews were transformed from а religion to а race. The Nazis described themselves as Aryans or the so called “Herrenrasse” (=leading race), which would save the future of the world. The members of the “Herrenrasse” had the task to keep their blood clean that means that they weren’t allowed to have sexual contact with other races. This attitude was extended so much, that at the end of the Hitler regime, millions of members of the inferior races were sterilized, chased and even killed. Every German inhabitant had to have а pass were the last three generations were mentioned. Particularly the Jewish people were chased, but not only by the Nazi’s. Also the countries were the socialism or the communism began to rise, chased the Jews, because they were the example for the perfect capitalist. (Tatum 1999)

The last period where racism occurred that we are going to mention is the Apartheid in South Africa. This period starts in 1910 but has its roots in the 19th century when the Brits conquered South Africa. In 1910 they introduced some racist laws. For example the white workers were treated much better than the black workers and the black and colored people had to live in separate reservations. After the Second World War the African Nationalists came to power and split the South African people into 4 parts (the White, the Black, the Colored and the Asian). The separation of these races was dramatically: Every race had to live in their own district, had their own laws and for example their own school-system. Of course the white race had the most rights, for example the right on election. There was also а law that all races besides the white had to have а pass with them, where their job was written in. If they had none they weren’t allowed to be in the city and so they got arrested. Already in 1912 the African National Congress was founded. This organization was opened for every race and fought for the rights of the depressed. These protests became very critical in the year 1976 as nearly 1000 black people lost their lives after some policemen started to shoot. After that the leader of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela got arrested, but in the year 1990 he was released, because of the rising pressure of the black opposition. So South Africa became а democracy in four years from 1990 till 1994. (Massey et. all 2003)

Racial discrimination has lots of unconstructive effects on blacks. The list goes on and on. If we carry on falling victim to these effects, our development will never be completely achieved. We, as а people, have to take action and start to facilitate ourselves. If that means pooling our wealth together and providing superior schools and extra jobs, then so be it. In order to grow we have to do whatever is essential. Our major quandary is not that we are not conscious of our problems. It is our incapability to deal with them. Every time we come up with solutions to the dilemma, we start complaining about how hard it is, or how а great deal money it is going to cost. It is very depressing when а person can use $500 on an outfit, but cannot even donate $100 to help further а child’s education. It is а deplorable prospect when we settle for а job that we are overqualified for instead of getting jointly with our associate brothers and sisters and starting our own business. (Shapiro 2004)

We must have to stop saying that we ‘can’t’ and begin following Clark Atlanta University’s motto ‘we will discover а way or craft one.’ An instance is а program called ‘Friends Helping Friends’ where people put their money mutually and grant it to one person. It works in the form of а river water. Under this program, a single person is benefited by the mutual collection of the people. In this regard, the person on top of the hierarchy receives an amount that has been collected by eight people that were playing the role of base, lying at the bottom of four people below the two people in the tree. Thus, this program goes on, as a new individual is selected to be at the top, and get benefited by the mutual collection of the participants. Given that, people keep contributing everybody will obtain eight times the quantity that each person puts in. This is an exceptional way to facilitate others without having to put you in а perilous circumstances. (Massey et. all 2003) In this regard, schools, businesses, and hospitals can be created by the black people, if the abovementioned plan is undertaken and supported by all the neighborhoods in the region. It is not necessary that black adolescences should sit back at home, if the past generations have not significantly taken any steps to overcome the issues that have been confronted by the black community since last thirty years. In addition, unity and unison of all the brothers and sisters is very necessary for the attainment of success in this plan. Thus, it is very necessary that individuals should work in teams, and support each other for the mutual benefit of the community. (Feagin 2002)

Would it be fair to assume that in the era of our ancestors, such as Mary McLeod Bethune, W.E.B. Dubois, and Benjamin Banneker, that because they wanted and obtained an education that they were acting “white”? It is upsetting to know that society has instilled in our young African American students that to excel in academics means to turn your back on your race. However, African American students are filled with pressure from both sides. Pressure to do well in order to succeed in life and pressure from peers to only do enough to get by so that they will be accepted into the “click.” What happens in many schools where there are low expectations is that mediocre performance is acceptable. Since the beginning of time, our African American ancestors have excelled in every aspect of history. If the perception, or idea of not wanting to learn or not needing to gain knowledge (being lazy, as our ancestors were labeled by their oppressors) was felt by our ancestors so many years ago, we would not have the opportunity today that so many of us do not take advantage of, the opportunity to receive an education.

We have to teach our children to be proud that they had ancestors who paved the way for them to be able to receive this “gift”, and to appreciate the fact that so many lives were discriminatorily lost because of it. Benjamin Banneker once wrote in а letter to Thomas Jefferson dated August 19, 1791, “One universal Father hath given to us all…Endowed us all with the same faculties… We are all of the same family.” If а black man wrote in this capacity two hundred and fifteen years ago, why are our children still made to feel inadequate when all they want to do is to learn to better themselves? Is the message being relayed to our young African American Children that it is acceptable and normal for white children to excel, and not acceptable for our black children to do the same? We for one cannot accept the term “acting white” as а legitimate statement. We should teach our children that there is no such thing as “acting white.” If we teach them to achieve levels of intelligence in everyday life, there would be no cause to separate black and white, period. (Heubert & Hauser 1999)

African American students who dedicate themselves to their studies frequently account that they are taunted by their black classmates for “acting white.” So what does it signify, rationally speaking, to act genuinely black? The respond to that could help resolve а quandary that has perplexed American educators for 50 years: How do you perk up the education of Black children? To open-minded and many blacks the answer is clear: You put them in white schools and grasp whites answerable for their development (attributing any dissimilarity of results to racial discrimination). That approach has brought us to where we are today extra ethnic bitterness and hostility, better academic disparities, African American drop-out rates of 60 % or more extensively lower education standards and а great deal broader school and communal segregation. We must educate our children to the fact that society does not want us to succeed, because if we as а people succeed in numbers we will become so powerful that society would not be able to accept it, just as they were not able to accept Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers or Malcolm X. It cannot be fair to assume that because our ancestors learned how to read and write, and many became inventors, doctors, lawyers, and educators that they were acting white. However, during that day and age, it was unheard of that а black person could read and write proficiently, let alone attend а College. Only the white men were allowed to be educated, these were the doctors, lawyers, and educators of our time.

Few of us have been raised up by definite standards, taught to speak evidently, trained to even dress well for whatever the event is. There are black students attending what happens to be White institutions, whether they are ivy league, private, or whatever, and there folks are as well taught to act consequently , it does not frequently occur that way, but that is the way it is. So let’s get that little white boy or white girl and send them into an all African American school, or into а African American community, that little boy or girl is most likely told long before they get there that certain blacks talk certain ways, so that boy or girl has to do the same. Being а part of а society does not always mean “When in Rome do as the Romans do/say,” it only means first being you, taking arrogance in what you think in and who you are. Being part of а society means coming and bonding together once and а while as а unit, wrong answers never discourage liberals. (Heubert & Hauser 1999)

Chapter II

Literature review

Kozol found that if any questions concerning isolation were being raised today, they were far nearer to the Supreme Court’s “divide but equal” ruling in Pleasy vs. Ferguson, approximately 100 years ago, than to the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education verdict in which the court found that isolated education was unlawful because it was inherently imbalanced. If the degree of isolation is what surprised him the most, though, he is uniformly outraged by the grown dissimilarity, in public education, between rich and poor. Poor children, and particularly poor children of color, he finds, are being ever more written off as dispensable, and any attempts to train them are being seen as doomed to malfunction. (Kozol 1992)

Racism is an attitude (а mindset), an action (behavioral exertion of power), or an institutional structure (policies, procedures, rewards, rules, values) that subordinates individuals or groups of individuals because of physical characteristics, such as skin color and body features (e.g., shape of eyes or nose). Jones suggested that racism is а multidimensional construct in that the thought, feeling, and response (cognitive, affective, and behavioral) dimensions of an individual’s personality are navigated (selecting certain choices in and among these dimensions) to negatively influence the lives of others. He described racism as а process that intersects at three levels: individual, institutional, and cultural. This intersection allows for analyses of potentially complex dynamics where Whites are seen as the institutional gatekeepers of а racist system. Such analyses are important to counselor educators and supervisors as they foster the maturation of culturally sensitive and competent counselors. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

As а counselor educator for the past 7 years, we have heard numerous White counseling students share personal thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about racism. As а person of color, we have been privileged to personally and professionally experience my students’ challenges with the concept and realities of racism, particularly as it applies to them as aspiring culturally competent helping professionals. We have witnessed openness to discussions of racism. We have witnessed and felt the intensity of students’ debilitation, anger, confusion, relief, and so on, when faced with their own racism. WE have shared in their personal struggles at emotional and cognitive levels with racism.

А thematic voice often precedes discussions and training about racism. For example, “At home and in my counseling courses, WE have been taught not to judge others by their outward appearances. We have been taught to see the individual not the color.” More often than not, students offer this voice with good intentions and а genuine desire to prepare self for providing quality service to all clients. Yet, one of the most common ways to exhibit racism is to be colorblind; that is, to act as if one’s outward physical appearances (e.g., skin color) are not visible. White counseling students must be challenged, within а safe environment, to question the potential influence of this voice on the dynamics of their counseling with clients who live in а society that not only sees color but often judges, rewards, and punishes on the basis of color. Furthermore, students must ask and seek answers to the potential influence of such an attitude on persons who value their color as а part of their identity.  Racism influences the effective training of White counseling students. As the counseling profession moves toward excellence with multicultural and diverse clients, one way to counter the influence of racism is to provide increased opportunities for White students to comfortably identify their attitudes about racism, recognize their actions around racism, and develop skills in identifying institutional structures that may subordinate clients on the basis of racial characteristics. А tool to facilitate the effectiveness of this process is racial identity training. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

Mill’s argues that a group crystallized eventually in European thought to symbolize entities those who are humanoid but not completely human (‘savages’, ‘barbarians’) and those who are identified as such by being part of the common set of nonwhite races. Predisposed by…the difference between complete and question-mark humans, Europeans association a two-tiered ethical regulations with one set of rules for whites and an additional for nonwhites. Indian laws, slave codes, and majestic native acts officially codified the subsidiary status of nonwhites and (ostensibly) regulated their handling, creating a juridical space for non-Europeans as a divide class of beings. A hierarchical system based on the ethnic dominance of Europeans and extended internationally was a vital feature of the formation of the contemporary world. (Albert 1997)

Racial Identity

Racial identity consists of а number of elements and mandates а number of psychological and emotional considerations. One significant element and consideration is that racial identity is the sense an individual has of belonging to а particular group and sense that the people composing that group share а racial heritage. According to racial identity theory and research, specific feelings and attitudes related to distinguishable racial groups are influenced by а person’s stage or dimension of racial identity. Numerous models of racial identity exist. Although each model reflects differences, two common threads (advancing both self-understanding and understanding between counselors and their racially/ethnically different clients) are woven through the models. These threads assist in enhancing understanding both the relationship of racial issues and realities to the “self’ and the influence of racial realities and life experiences between counselors and their racial and ethnic clients. Accompanying racial identity is а sense of racial awareness, sometimes referred to as racial consciousness.

That is, а person who is racially aware has an understanding that her or his racial group membership can and often does influence her or his psychological (what one thinks about race), emotional (what one feels about race), and physical (what one does about race) functions. To illustrate, over the years, two thematic voices of White counseling students have reverberated during their work involving racial identity development. “Racial identity development has helped me know where we are in our own racial identity development. We can be more honest with me and with my clients about race, racial experiences, as well as racial attitudes and feelings (mine as well as those of my clients). We don’t want clients of color to think we are `fake’ or а `want to be’ and we don’t want to be that way either. …. We feel that we have grown throughout this course. My understanding of my own racial identity helps me а great deal. It helps me clue in to my personal motivations and helps me see better where WE am with my thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about my being White and how that relates to people who are not White. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

We feel less prone to allow where WE am in my racial identity to negatively interfere with the counseling process, relationship, and outcomes.” Elements and considerations related to racial identity are critical to the ethical and competent training of counseling students who will work in а pluralistic society. In the literature, five assumptions seem to under gird racial identity theory:

  • In addition to other groups, every member of society belongs to one or more social groups (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender).
  • Membership in а particular social group influences а person’s worldview (e.g., the way in which а person makes sense of the world and the world’s relationship to the person is influenced by that person’s membership in а particular racial group).
  • The United States is а race-centered society and operates on judgments about superiority and inferiority of individual racial groups (e.g., many members of the White race consciously or unconsciously perceive themselves to be superior to other racial groups).
  • А racist social environment influences the process of racial identity development (e.g., living in а racist society affects how one perceives self as а racial person).
  • As one develops in social identity, one grapples with racial identity (e.g., as а person becomes more mature in social interactions with people of diverse racial groups, that person more firmly grasps her or his racial identity).

The primary goal of racial identity development is to promote а healthy racial identity, а healthy sense of self as а racial being. For White counseling students, that mean the primary goal of racial identity development is to promote а healthy White racial identity, а healthy sense of self as а White person. The White racial identity model used in this article is that of Helms. (Smedley 1993)

Several authors have found that although Whites may not view themselves as racist, racist sentiments and attitudes remain. For example, Trepagnier refers to this form of concealed racism as silent racism, which is insidious because the individual with racist attitudes may be unaware of their presence. In her qualitative study of highly-educated White women who considered themselves opponents of racism, which may characterize many White female faculties, Trepagnier found two aspects of silent racism: stereotypical images and paternalistic assumptions. These images and assumptions occurred on both а conscious and unconscious level among her participants, and they were often motivated by what the participants saw as “good will.”

From these findings, Trepagnier concludes that the categories of “racist” versus “not racist” are not useful. Instead, she contends that, because racism in the United States is routine and habitual, it should be understood as а continuum ranging from more racist to less racist. Trepagnier’s assumption strongly suggests а deterministic perspective on racial attitudes, which leaves very little room for individual agency and free will. However, the notion of silent racism may help to explain what some see as a reluctance in adequately and consistently infusing content on racism and people of color. Silent racism may help to explain this reluctance in the face of official CSWE standards that support the inclusion of people-of-color and racism content. This reluctance also should be understood within the context of the equality-of-oppressions paradigm, which is assumed to contribute to the denial of racism in education. (Heubert & Hauser 1999) Interestingly, one of Trepagnier’s findings was that some of her respondents acknowledged they would not reveal the views they shared in the study publicly or cross-racially. This sentiment may demonstrate that the “silence” in silent racism may not just be about the subtlety of contemporary racism, but the privacy through which much of it may take form. (Townsend 2002)

McLaren argues that classroom service in St Ryan worked to replicate and strengthen existing patterns of class and racial supremacy. How? First, a working class is reproducing by services managing Azorean migrant students for the world of labor. Second, a working class is reproduced ritually. Ritualized classroom lessons tacitly produced dispositions towards definite student needs as concurrently offering to fulfil those needs. For example, students were made to experience insufficient because of their class É status and therefore the school offered to assist socializes them into the suitable values and behaviors by locating them into designated streams and fundamental level courses. (McLaren 1994)

Evidence of Silent and Symbolic Racism in Education

Recent studies have examined the presence of racism in education. Although most of these studies have examined student attitudes and perceptions, а few have explored the attitudes, perceptions, or behavior of faculty. For example, based on their case studies of African-American faculty who had experienced contemporary racism in academe, Roberts and Smith conclude that approaches to diversity within predominantly White schools of represent an “illusion of inclusion.” They suggest that the major source of this illusion is the paucity of agreement about the definition of diversity. (Feagin 2002) Roberts and Smith also suggest that symbolic racism plays а role and contend that some in believe that African Americans “have had center stage long enough, and now it is time for other oppressed populations to be the focus of diversity initiatives. If this sentiment has generalizability, the current equality-of-oppressions paradigm may be а tactic used by some to deflect attention away from racism. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

In а quantitative and national study of former CSWE Minority Fellowship Program minority doctoral fellows who were professors, Schiele and Francis also find possible evidence of silent and symbolic racism. When asked if they had at least “somewhat” experienced subtle racism in their schools of, the overwhelming majority (78.4%) of the sample indicated “yes.” Two additional measures of subtle racism were used in the study: (1) whether they perceived the tenure/promotion process as biased against faculty of color, and (2) whether they perceived that it was difficult for faculty of color to penetrate the “buddy system” of influential faculty. The majority of the sample indicated they perceived the tenure/ promotion process to be biased (59.7%) and that it was difficult to penetrate the “buddy system” (70.6%). Symbolic racism may have contributed to the participants’ perceptions in the Schiele and Francis (1996) study. Members of the sample may have been stigmatized at their schools as being unfair beneficiaries of affirmative action policies, which is а complaint often made about faculty of color. Thus, colleagues of the study participants may have felt that many of them should not have been hired and that their hiring violated the American creed of meritocracy. (Smith 2003)

This faculty taught racial oppression content in their schools of, and some reported that their colleagues often would place racial oppression content readings in their syllabi, but would not cover the content in their classes. More faculty resistance was found when one professor revealed how in his school, students who resisted racial oppression content would seek refuge from supportive White faculty who would collude with students to undermine the legitimacy of the content and the professor teaching it. Clearly, Singleton’s study is limited in its generalizability, but the accusation that some faculty conspire with students to derail racial oppression content may indicate silent racism’s depth in education. Evidence of possible faculty resistance also was found in Bowie’s national study of African-American MSWs’ (N=89) perceptions of their experiences at predominately White schools of Bowie found that over half (51.7%) of respondents indicated that faculty sensitivity for people-of-color issues and concerns was marginal or nonexistent. The respondents also reported that faculty of color more frequently included people-of-color content in their classes than did White faculty, which confirms student observations reported by Bronstein and Gibson. (Gotanda 2000)

Evidence of possible silent and symbolic racism also has been found among students. For example, in the Singleton (1994) study cited previously, faculty who taught oppression courses indicated that White students frequently viewed racial oppression content as representing “special interest issues,” with little relevance to them and to practice. One student’s response to а professor is very illuminating: “we are in this program because WE want to go into private practice; why do WE have to study all of this stuff about poverty and Black folks?” In another study, Swank, Asada, and Lott found statistically significant evidence for the important role symbolic racism played in White students’ acceptance of people-of-color content. They found that when controlling for 10 additional variables, their measure of symbolic racism (referred to as racial resentment) was the strongest correlate of student attitudes regarding multicultural content.

Students who had higher racial resentment for people-of-color content were significantly less likely to support multicultural education, even when controlling for gender. In their study of discomfort with multicultural content among а sample of MSW students that was 85% White, Hyde and Ruth found that of 10 courses taken during the academic year, including research, students expressed the most discomfort with а racism course. (Bobo, 2000) To explain the level of discomfort students had with the racism course, Hyde and Ruth concluded that issues of power, oppression, and cultural identity produced considerable student anxiety and arose “particularly when students from relatively privileged backgrounds [were] asked to engage in some often disconcerting self-reflection”. Hyde and Ruth’s observation linking the anxiety associated with multicultural content to students’ “privileged backgrounds” reinforces Vodde’s (2000) earlier analysis and another one conducted by Garcia and Van Soest (1997), who examined changes in student perceptions once they had completed а required course on oppression. The researchers found that from half to 71% (n=36) of the White students stated that “their own White privilege” (p. 126) prevented them from honestly grappling with oppression and racism. The students also acknowledged the role of fear in their discomfort: “fear of losing friends and family, of being seen as а race traitor”. (Bonilla 2001)

The studies in this section suggest that despite the claim by some social scientists and others that racism has declined in significance, racism appears to have not diminished in education but rather to have mutated. On the one hand, this mutation officially acknowledges the presence of racism and the need to abolish it, but, on the other, continues its reproduction by means that are much more silent and symbolic. By claiming that all forms of oppression are equal in importance and consequence, the equality-of-oppressions paradigm appears friendly to the goals of human liberation. However, by attempting to equally affirm and amalgamate all forms of oppression, every group becomes an equal victim of the oppressive social structure. Symbolic and silent racism might become а factor when the belief in equal victim hood prevents those who profit from racism from admitting these benefits and their continued role in fostering racial inequality. Indeed, this latter, assumed dimension of the equality-of-oppressions paradigm might explain why Van Soest asserts “in practice, the profession displays considerable ambivalence about its commitment to social justice and is reluctant “to seriously examine [its] own ‘isms’. (Feagin 2002)

Despite advances to include more people-of-color content and students and professors of color in education, contemporary evidence suggests that racism remains а factor in education. One way racism has persisted in education and the social sciences generally is the increasing denial of its existence. Ever since William Julius Wilson’s, the Declining Significance of Race, some contend that the social sciences, to which belongs, have placed increasingly less emphasis on race and racism. These writers suggest that the changing dynamics of а post-racially segregated society have given birth to ideas that ascribe the problems confronted by people of color to factors other than racism. Thomas refers to these ascriptions as the “anything but race” perspectives. He suggests that these perspectives either (а) ascribe the problems of people of color to other social phenomena, such as social class, or (b) increasingly blame people of color for the problems they confront. (Massey et. all 2003)

Some contend that the denial of racism, in which the blaming of people of color for their problems occurs, represents а new form of racial injustice known as symbolic racism. In symbolic racism, unambiguous pronouncements of racial superiority and legal segregation are replaced by attitudes that imply that people of color, especially African Americans, fail to conform to core American values such as the Protestant work ethic, meritocracy, and delayed gratification. Bobo, Kluegel, and Smith assert that this new form of racism, which they call laissez-faire racism, emerges from the eradication of old social systems, such as legal racial segregation, that relied on and reinforced blatant racism. With the arrival of new social structures that rendered the long-standing rationalizations of racial oppression obsolete, new methods of maintaining White privilege and preference arose. These new strategies depend more on moral justifications that malign people of color for violating what are deemed universal and race-neutral American norms. Bonilla-Silva views these justifications as constituting the ideology of color-blind racism, which he believes protects and defends European-American domination. The goal, therefore, of the era of symbolic, laissez-faire, or color-blind racism is to fundamentally disavow or downplay the role racism plays in shaping the life circumstances of people of color. (Hernstein, 1994)

Symbolic racism is а broader American trend that also may have applicability to education. Indeed, some have concluded that education is reluctant to address racism and people-of-color issues, despite its intellectual and formal commitment. If reluctance to address racism implies its denial, then symbolic racism may exist in education. For example, in social welfare policy courses, where issues of inter-group power dynamics are most likely to be examined, Neubeck and Cazenave suggest that racism usually is downplayed in social welfare policy texts. These authors maintain that this occurs because the dominant lenses through which social welfare policy is interpreted fall into three major categories: class-centered perspectives, gender-centered perspectives, or state-centered perspectives. Although racism is acknowledged and examined in these perspectives, it does not receive primary attention.

Additional evidence of racism’s marginalization can be found in other curriculum areas. The dominant practice and human behavior theories, such as the ecological, psychosocial, and cognitive-behavioral approaches, have de-emphasized racial and cross-cultural diversity. Like social welfare policy content, issues of race and racism are covered in these theories, but they rarely received paramount attention. The marginalization of race and racism issues may reflect the lack of interest in the topic among those who are most likely to publish in: European-American male faculty at large Research we universities. Affirmative action is а set of laws, executive orders, and court cases designed to guarantee equality of opportunity for minorities and women and to correct for past discrimination that may have occurred. In its simplest form, affirmative action means that if two equally qualified applicants apply for а single position, preference will be given to the applicant who is а member of an underrepresented class. Like most issues in law, the simplest form is seldom encountered. Actual implementation is more complex. (Ladson 1994)

If an institution has an under representation of one or more minority groups, what often happens is that the institutions enters into an agreement with enforcement agencies. Such an agreement forestalls litigation or punitive actions that the enforcement agencies might take. The agreement specifies goals (quotas) that the institution must attempt to meet. So long as the institution makes an effort to meet these goals, other enforcement actions are not implemented. The most common metaphor for affirmative action is the “footrace” metaphor. Members of minority and majority groups are pictured in а footrace. Because of past discrimination, the majority member is represented as having а head start. Affirmative action is seen as а way of correcting for the disadvantage of the minority member. The idea is that by giving advantage to the minority member in college admission, the difference in starting position will be remedied and eventually there will be no differences between minority and majority groups. If you were to look at someone and based off of appearance, would you be able to determine if that person would be а good friend to you.

Would they be caring, unselfish and reliable? Now, let’s switch gears and say you’re part of the admissions committee for а large, prominent university. Again, based on ones race, would you be able to determine if an applicant is а “good fit”, someone who exemplifies what your university stands for? Is race really а factor in determining the admissions of students today, and if not, should it be? What are the possible outcomes of admitting so many different races and letting them interact inside and out of classrooms? With one simple question involving race, question upon questions are spawned and this once simple question doesn’t seem so simple anymore. The matter is, race and affirmative action in higher education is а much more complex issue than most would like to give thought to. So how do we go about understanding such а complex and often underexposed situation in an unbiased manner? The key is, before you can understand the issue itself, you must understand the views and opinions from whom the issue is shaped. In this paper, we will take а deeper look into the views of those who are in favor of affirmative action in higher education, those who are against it, and those who are walking that fence of uncertainty. Maybe your opinion has already been formed, maybe not, maybe this paper is the breeze of knowledge blowing you off that rickety fence and landing you on а more educated and opinionated platform. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

Before we get too in depth, let’s simply define what affirmative action is. After consulting the definitional gods of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition we see that affirmative action is “А policy or а program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment.” What exactly does the definition mean by redressing past discrimination though? Discrimination against men, women, minorities, who exactly is being discriminated? (Nunn 2000)

Race-based and gender-based affirmative action is deeply linked. The social and legal histories of affirmative action policies show how steps toward equality for women have followed and been dependent on steps toward equality for black people and other minority groups. А good point of clarification on the topic is that affirmative action is not а program only catering to minorities but also includes women in its quest for equality. Since the ratification of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women and minorities in general have been seeing the benefits of affirmative action say Carmen Hendricks, president of the National Association of Social Workers.

“The legacy of past and present discriminations, the widening gap between the very rich and the very poor, racial tensions, xenophobia, and heterosexism continue to make affirmative action necessary today”. Incongruent with efforts of the proponents of affirmative action, an unnamed member of President George W. Bush’s administration told the Washington Post that “We need to try, if at all possible, to promote the broadest amount of diversity without taking race into account. (Bowman & Smith, 2002) This being said though, it’s difficult to understand just how а successful diversity program is supposed to succeed if race isn’t а consideration. The National Organization for Women, better known as NOW, is quick to point out that Bush himself has benefited from certain type of affirmative action. “There is little uncertainty that George W. Bush’s grades were lesser than those of hundreds of students who were discarded by Yale the same year Bush was welcomed there”, now goes supplementary by stating that: (Bonilla 2001)

“Yes, George W. Bush was а recipient of one sort of affirmative action–the kind that preferential the sons of (overpoweringly white) Yale graduates. Yet there has been no White House condemnation of the additional points’ universities still gives to children of large donors or former graduates–merely а condemnation of efforts to counterbalance that by considering racial discrimination and racial background. With opposition from someone in such а position of power, affirmative action is still fighting the battle for equality. It would seem that in this day in age there wouldn’t be such а problem with inequality, yet still it persist say advocates of affirmative action. “А recent study has shown that although women, on average, have higher college grade point averages than men, they are admitted to law school in lower numbers proportionally. Apparently, the need for affirmative action and its subsidiary programs has not diminished, yet how they are enacted and put into use is а matter of social evolution. The adaptation of affirmative action and its ability to maintain its momentum in an uphill struggle will be critical in the longevity of the program. (Anderson 1998)

Opposition to affirmative action has been around since the conception of the idea itself. “The first well-publicized legal attack, however, occurred in 1976 when Allan Bakke sued the University of California at Davis Medical School for allegedly denying him admission and admitting Black candidates who he claimed were less qualified. So if affirmative action serves such а great purpose, what is it that has many people up in arms? А major argument against affirmative action is that it leads to reverse discrimination by accepting lesser qualified minorities and women. “Thus, there is а tendency among both whites and people of color to view affirmative action as the reason for every black person’s success and every white man’s failure. In а way, anti-affirmative action groups see the program as one that has unintentionally set women and minorities up for failure. They say it’s human nature to find the faults in а person who has received а job or admissions to а prestigious school you weren’t admitted to and try to justify theses feelings of failure and somewhat dismiss is as being the liability of affirmative action. Whether that person is better qualified or just the right person at the right time will always be а subject for debate, was it affirmative action or not? “Individuals of African descent continue to be disproportionately discriminated against in the labor force, still have limited access to opportunities, and are still victims of most of the hate crimes in this country. The federal Glass Ceiling Commission report released in the spring of 1995 revealed that white men still held 95 % of all senior management positions in the U.S.”.(Wightman, 2003)

It’s interesting to note that this quote was taken from an article, which is intended as an anti affirmative action article. Many people have adopted the stereotype that people who oppose affirmative action are racist. Although there are racists among those who oppose the program, the majority isn’t racist at all and only believes that the way in which the issue of discrimination is dealt with by affirmative action is simply а wrong turn on the long road to equality. Let’s try and imagine а scenario for а moment. You’re а white male who has just lost а job to а women or а minority and you suspect affirmative action to be а leading reason to your dismissal. What kind of emotions are you feeling right now? What if it was а white male who took your job? Now let’s say you’re а minority or а women who has just been replaced by а white male, how does this change the way you feel? If you’re feeling angry or upset or even slightly bothered you’re beginning to understand the view of those who are against affirmative action. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

As John I. Goodlad projected elementary school education from age 4 to 16, and the amalgamation of more broad internship for teacher training (he uses the term, “teaching hospitals”, in view to more broad internship that is linked with the training of physicians). His work at the University of Washington Educational restitution has again centered on the intensity of teacher preparation. Note the contrast of Goodlad with Doug Englebart and his collective IQ.  (Goodlad 1990) In many cases it seems that it’s hard to find а middle ground on а hotly debated topic. Affirmative action is no exception because of the implications and consequences you accept when you do form an opinion about the subject.

Lets say you’re а white male who is for affirmative action; well then you’re just betraying your own race. Wait а second; now you’re а white male who is against affirmative action; well then you’re racist. Although these comments seem extreme, many people have such а limited understanding of the matter and their attempts to simplify the many facets of the issue seem realistic, when in fact it’s not that simple at all. Still, even after one has studied the various issues surrounding affirmative action, simply stating it as right or wrong, good or bad does not do justice to the complexity and intricacies of the issue. Thus, the middle ground is forged like а River through mountains of two extremes. It seems if you’re not on one side then you’re on the other. So where’s the middle ground. А popular solution or slogan depending on who you talk to was coined by President Clinton when he said “Amend it, don’t end it. As а nation we are not going to dispense with affirmative action entirely. Nor do we wish to”. (Massey et. all 2003)

        The view of the so-called middle grounders is one based in the idea that affirmative action is of sound merit, but it can be improved upon. Some varieties of affirmative action (such as race-normed tests and further breaks for the already conspicuously advantaged) have proved difficult to defend. One specific approach in need of mending is any academic admissions process that displaces deserving white candidates to make room for minorities with weaker credentials who cannot or do not complete the program to which they’ve been admitted. As an affront to both efficiency and justice, failures of this sort ought to concern conservatives and liberals alike. This quote was taken from an article by Christopher H. Foreman, Jr. who is а senior member in the Brookings Governmental Studies Program and the author of The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice. More notably though, he is а black man who is in support of the alteration of current affirmative action programs, such as the admission policies which are in affect for many universities nationwide that benefit blacks as well as other minorities. As we become more enlightened about affirmative action we begin to comprehend that people who are involved in the debate on all sides are as diversified as affirmative action wishes schools and the workplace could be. Now, just how to propagate that diversity into schools and the workplace is а matter of opinion of course. (Shapiro 2004)

The ongoing struggle for equality is one that has lasted many years and will most likely last for many more years to come? Knowledge and understanding of the situation is the fuel that drives positive reasoning towards а resolution of the issue, which can only be stalled by deconstructive ignorance. In essence this paper is а not а manner of persuasive writing, but а mechanism for questioning the ideals that you yourself hold. Hopefully this paper made you think to yourself “Huh, well that sheds а new light on what WE thought WE knew”, but then again maybe not. Whether you know it or not though, by reading this paper you have taken that first step to becoming а more educated and opinionated citizen, now what if everyone took that step? After many years of immigration, the United States has become а melting pot for people all over the world with а wide-range of races and ethnicities. Although American culture emphasizes diversity and equal opportunity, its unique history of immigration has shown that people of different races are not “created equal.” (Bonilla 2001) The White race is dominating throughout all aspects of the American society.

Fact: “White males are 33% of the population, but 80% of tenured professors, 90% of the U.S. senate, 97% of school superintendents, and 100% of U.S. Presidents”. What happens to the rest of the American races? Where are the Blacks, Latinos and Asians? Some experts believe that, people who belong to those groups are grossly misrepresented. According to Mr. Yuen in his book The Politics of Liberation, institutional discrimination, unequal social resource distribution, and inheritable class immobility are the main causes of the racial inequality. In 1964, racial inequality in American was being recognized as а problem that needed to be addressed on а national level. А systematic solution was urgently needed to address the racial inequality. Affirmative action was thus born in 1964 with the ideal of creating а better society with equal chances of success for people from different backgrounds and races. “Broadly defined, affirmative action refers to efforts to increase educational and employment opportunities for minorities and women. More specifically, it applies to various policies and programs designed to increase the number of minorities and women hired by government and industry and admitted into colleges and universities. As good as the ideal sounded, we have encountered many obstacles implementing the idea into reality. For many decades, because of its impact on individuals, races, and social economic classes, affirmative action has become а source of controversy and а focus of many heated debates. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

In his book, Hunger of Memory, Richard Rodriguez expressed his belief that affirmative action has devalued the achievements of people of color, and that а system that prefers one race over another is nothing more than another form of racism. For some individuals of minority the existence of affirmative action is а threat rather than an aid to their personal success. They believe that affirmative action undermines their personal achievements. Granting certain privileges to minority groups creates “the perception that their positions were given to them rather than earned” and that minority people are incapable of competing with white people. (Massey et. all 2003) Richard Rodriguez testifies to this with his personal experience. Growing up in а poor Mexican immigrant family, he has invested а tremendous amount of effort to achieve the academic level of а scholar. To him “it was а scholarship boy’s dream come true. However, his academic success was always associated with his minority status. Mr. Rodriguez speaks his unpleasant feelings towards such an association: “it is а term that should never have been foisted on me.  We were wrong to accept. Mr. Rodriguez was extremely sensitive about the issue. He believes that being “labeled” as а “minority” has put him in а position that he can never compete with other people without prejudice. (Gerald 1999)

Meanwhile, the supporters of affirmative action believe that being racially conscious is merely acknowledging one’s social identity. Understanding one’s own social identity means recognizing the differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages of being an individual in а diverse society, affirmative action simply gives people who are socially disadvantaged а “leg up” so that they can compete equally with rest of the society. In an 800-meter race, the runner at the outermost lane gets to start ahead of the runner at the innermost lane, simply because it is а longer run to complete the race at the outer lane than the inner lane. This analogy can be applied to the racial disadvantages of minority students as well. Because of their lack of educational resource and unfavorable study environment, they have to endure many more difficulties to achieve the same academic goals of the majority. Affirmative action is simply putting them ahead of the starting line to finish the longer run. (Delgado 2000)

Not all minority races are on an equal ground. Statistics show that about 12 % of Whites, 15% of Asians, and 30% of Blacks and Latinos are under the poverty line; 42% of Asian, 25% of White, and only less than 14% of Black and Latino adults finish college. The numbers clearly show that Asian Americans are way ahead of other racial minorities with respect of income and education, despite the fact that Asian Americans have the least amount of population and shortest history of immigration among the key minority races in the United States. (Massey et. all 2003)

Some people question that, “Asian Americans have made it without affirmative action so why can’t everyone else?” (UC Davis Online 1) It is а recognizable fact that Asian Americans have extraordinary performance on their educational achievements; they are nowhere near being misrepresented in higher educational institutions. Thus, Asian Americans have sometime been imaged as “model minority” by opponents of affirmative action to perpetuate the idea that affirmative action is unnecessary for racial-class advancement. However, if we step back from the campus and look at the bigger picture, we cannot overlook the reality that the racial discrimination still exists in all aspects of modern society. Asian people as а minority group are no exception as victims of а much broader system. At government jobs and management level jobs in large corporations, Asian Americans are in no doubt under the confinement of the “glass ceiling.” Because “Asian Americans continue to be subjected to racist stereotyping and scapegoat” (UC Davis Online 1), there is still а need for affirmation action to break the “glass ceiling” and make it а fair game for all. While the ideal of affirmative action is to assist the disadvantaged, and give them an aid in the race of social competition, the racially based system certainly could not accurately identify the poor and socially disadvantaged from а few elite individuals within the same racial group. Eighty five % of African Americans are under the poverty line, while two % of them have а yearly income over 150K. There are also а considerable numbers of Whites who are categorized as under-class. (Heubert & Hauser 1999)

“The priority given to race over class has inevitably exacerbated white racism”. Purely race determined preference does not justify the purpose of affirmative action on many occasions. The “reverse discrimination” seems to have а firm ground at some higher educational institutions which practice affirmative action on their admission processes. Cases like those of University of Michigan have certainly heated up the smoking controversy. Jennifer Gratz, а White university applicant sued the University of Michigan for denying her application because of the school’s racially conditioned admission policy. At the University of Michigan as well as many other universities around the country, minority group students receive 20 extra points when they apply. This gives them а considerable jump to their chances of being accepted over White students with same academic level. It may sound disturbing to many people: “one person may be accepted by the top university over another person just because of his/her race”. (Delgado 2000)

In an effort to improve the current affirmative action, many scholars have proposed that we should consider social class as а determining factor instead of race. Among them, Richard Rodriguez believes that а class based, as opposed to а racially based system may be а better solution to help the disadvantaged. By judging an individual based on his or her class instead of race, schools and other social institutions can assist those who are really are in need. As good as the idea sounds, still others believe that class oriented affirmative action is misleading. Affirmative action was designed to help racial inequality with respect to class stratification, not to resolve class inequality. The class stratification is а by-product of а capitalistic economic system. It exists now, and will exist for as long as the capitalist society persists. Social class stratification is universal to all countries with capitalist economic systems in varies of degrees, even in “racially pure” countries like the UK, France, and Japan. When race is not а factor, the hierarchical structure of class stratification remains the same, but the people that make up the class may change over time without the barrier that concerns about their race. This forms а dynamic, stable class system. However, when race is being introduced into the matter, there are physical features to stereotype people’s class allocation. Discrimination becomes institutionalized. It prevents class movement for colored people. The systematical solution – affirmative action thus was designed to compensate for these discriminating factors that are inevitable in а diverse society such as ours. (Shapiro 2004)

After hearing all the voices, satisfied or disappointed, enthusiastic or pessimistic, it is evident that affirmative action is certainly an exciting and yet elusive topic. It is far from perfect, and flawed in many aspects, but the goals and ideals of affirmative action are unquestionably encouraging. Like all grand missions over history, its goal of creating а utopia of equal opportunities for people of all backgrounds and colors is no doubt а difficult one, if not impossible. Democracy does not come overnight, and it is under constant challenge, debate, and amendment. Therefore, WE believe that we should not abandon such а policy, but to embrace it, perfect it, and apply it to all areas of social institutions where discrimination is evident. While living in а diverse society, we should accept our differences, and not conserve our compassion for people in need. We should let all people who value freedom and the idea of equal opportunity share the “American Dream.” (Bowen and Bok 1998)

Chapter III


Institutions of higher learning have not always used tests to select applicants. Before tests were available, there was still what is called selective institutions. They were called selective because not everyone who applied was accepted. So, without standardized tests, how were students selected? Selection frequently was based on personal recommendations, the fact that а relative had previously attended the school, the social position of an applicant’s family, high school performance, or tests that were not standardized. It is somewhat ironic, and а fact often lost in the debate over the role of tests, that standardized tests were adopted by colleges and universities to increase fairness in the admissions process. It is certain that standardized tests would be fairer than the use of family social position or personal recommendations. The increase in the use of standardized tests is related to increased access to higher education.

In the United States, there has been а phenomenal increase in access to education at every level. Currently, there are 8,775 postsecondary institutions in the United States. Of these, 2,793 are 4-year institutions, 2,552 are 2-year institutions, and the remainder is less than 2-year institutions. In comparison, England, with about а quarter of the population of the United States have 49 universities. In the period between 1971 and 1996, the proportion of 25- to 29-year-olds who had completed high school or its equivalent increased from 78% to 87% (Smith, 1997, Table 22-1). For White Americans, the equivalent figures are 82% to 93%. Although there is some room for improvement, these figures certainly are reaching an upper asymptotic level. Similar but even more impressive figures can be found for 25- to 29-year-olds who have completed one or more years of college. In 1971, 44% had completed one or more years of college, but by 1995, 65% had completed one or more years of college. These data represent nearly а 50% increase in the completion of one or more years of college in а 25-year period. It is obvious that educational persistence has increased dramatically in the population as а whole. (Massey et. all 2003)

Given the large number of schools and the large number of students applying for admission, tests seem an obvious way for postsecondary institutions to make decisions about whom they should accept. Even though there is а large number of students applying, there is also а large number of schools competing for students. Nairn has estimated that fewer than 20% of schools accept less than 80% of the students who apply. That means two things. First, only а small portion of universities and colleges are truly selective (although all may give the impression that they are) and, second, nearly anyone can get into some college because they are so numerous.

These points will be important to bear in mind as this discussion continues. There probably would have been no objection to the use of tests in postsecondary school admissions if it had not been for one problem. Various groups defined as minority groups show different average values on IQ and achievement tests. For the purposes of this article, only one of these differences is discussed. The average difference on IQ tests between Blacks and Whites is about 15 points, or one standard deviation. This difference tends to be reflected on achievement tests to about the same degree, although there is some recent evidence that the difference on some selected achievement test scores is becoming smaller. The problem, of course, is that if Blacks are to be admitted to colleges on the basis of test scores and in proportion to their frequency in the population, they will be admitted to а given academic institution with test scores one standard deviation lower than those of their White counterparts. Has Affirmative Action Changed Admission Patterns at Colleges and Universities?

The first question that needs to be asked is if affirmative action has actually changed admission patterns for Black students. That is, are Black students admitted to the same institution with lower scores than White students? Data on this issue are difficult to obtain, but what data have been reported suggest that the answer is “yes.” Hernstein and Murray report data obtained from 26 of the most prestigious U.S. colleges for their entering classes of 1991 and 1992. They report that the difference between White and Black means on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was 180 points, or approximately 1.3 standard deviations. They also report more subjective evidence of fierce competition for qualified Black students that suggests that universities are taking their commitment to affirmative action very seriously. (Feagin 2002)

If selective institutions are unable to recruit Black students with the same test scores as White students, then it is reasonable to expect that less prestigious schools will have even greater problems. It is therefore not unreasonable to predict that less prestigious schools will show differences between White and Black students as large as or larger than those shown in more prestigious schools. The conclusion, then, is that affirmative action has been taken very seriously by most postsecondary institutions. It is probably possible to make а case that universities have taken affirmative action more seriously than even the strictest interpretation of the law requires. Anyone who has spent time in а college or university in the United States will have little difficulty accepting this conclusion. In fact, postsecondary schools, as а group, have probably embraced the goals and principles of implementation of affirmative action more than any other sector. Although we know of no data on the subject, in my opinion, affirmative action has been more fully implemented in postsecondary school admissions than in employment, housing, or most other areas in which it or similar principles could be applied. (Loehlin et. all 1995)

Has Affirmative Action Changed College Completion Rates for Black Americans?

One way to judge whether affirmative action has been effective is to determine, according to the metaphor, if the gap between Blacks and Whites is becoming smaller. If affirmative action has had the effect intended, objective indicators should show it. One of the most obvious indicators would be the rate at which each group finishes college. If affirmative action has been effective, the percentage of Blacks who finish college should be increasing more rapidly than the percentage of Whites who finish college. Figure 1 shows the percentages of Black and White high school graduates between the ages of 25 and 29 who have finished four or more years of college. (Wightman, 2003) The most obvious trend is that for both groups, the percentages that have completed college have increased.

For both Whites and Blacks, there has been а 48% increase from 1971 to 1996. However, because Blacks have started from а lower base, the increase caused by what appears to be а secular trend affecting both groups has had а smaller absolute effect on Blacks than on Whites. The net result is that the gap between Blacks and Whites finishing four or more years of college has actually increased! In 1971, there was an 11% difference between the two groups. By 1996, that difference had grown to 17%. Although the absolute gap has increased, the relative gap has remained constant. In both 1971 and 1996, about 50% as many Blacks as Whites who finished high school completed four or more years of college, the linear trend lines fitted to the data show that for both groups, the percentage of college completion has increased, but the slope of the line is less steep for Blacks. (McNeil 2000)

Figure 1 Percentages of Black and White 25- to 29-year-old high school graduates who have completed four or more years of college (Smith, 1999, Table 22-3)

One interesting aspect of the data is not shown in Figure 1. Much of the increase in college completion for both Blacks and Whites can be attributed to increasing participation of women. Although percentage of both Black and White women who have completed four or more years of college has nearly doubled, the corresponding increase for men has been 25% or less. One question that Figure 1 raises is what kind of differences should be expected solely on the basis of test scores. As mentioned earlier, it is known that Blacks score about one standard deviation lower than Whites on equivalent tests. If the simplifying assumption is made that completion of college is dependent on а fixed cutoff score on а test and nothing else, the percentages of Blacks and Whites who finish high school and who should complete college can be estimated.

That is, for any given standard deviation for Whites, the equivalent standard deviation for Blacks is one standard deviation higher because the mean of score for Blacks is one standard deviation lower. Figure 2 needs some explanation. The curve shown for Whites is the cumulative percentage of the normal distribution for any standard deviation, accumulating from high to low. This curve is based solely on the properties of the normal distribution. All IQ tests have this distribution for Whites. At а standard deviation of zero, the mean of the normal distribution, the curve has а value of 50%. The curve shown for Blacks is the identical cumulative normal distribution but offset downward one standard deviation. Standard deviation units for Blacks can be obtained by subtracting one standard deviation from the standard deviation units for Whites on the x-axis. (Shih 1999)

Figure 2. Percentages of Black and White students who would be expected to graduate from college on the basis of the normal curve and а test cutoff score as high as or higher than а given point on the x-axis. The x -axis shows standard deviation (SD) units for Whites. Blacks’ standard deviation units would be one standard deviation higher, since the mean for Blacks is one standard deviation lower than that for Whites 

Figure 2, then, shows the difference in college completion rates that would be expected between Whites and Blacks if everyone above а specific IQ cutoff finished college and if IQ tests were distributed normally. Although the second assumption is somewhat incorrect, the first assumption is very incorrect. IQ is not the sole determinant of college completion, and there is no firm cutoff score above which everyone finishes college and below which no one finishes. Even so, these curves are а rough estimate of the difference expected in college completion rates for Whites and Blacks. Figure 3 shows these differences in college completion rates. The curve shown is the cumulative percentage for Whites minus the cumulative percentage for Blacks as shown in Figure 2. The difference curve represents the expected difference for any given cutoff on the x-axis. That is, if everyone above the mean finished college, 50% of Whites and 16% of Blacks would finish and the difference would be 34%. This difference is what is plotted in Figure 3 for each of the potential cutoffs on the x-axis. As can be seen, the differences in college completion rates between Blacks and Whites would be expected to change as the cutoffs for completing college change. (Gurin et all 2001)

Figure 3. Differences between the percentages of White and Black college graduates expected on the basis of Figure 2 for each point along the IQ continuum. The difference is White minus Black for each point on the x -axis. SD = standard deviation 

It is apparent from Figure 3 that the differences in completion rates between Blacks and Whites would not be expected to decline until 68% of Whites were completing college. This corresponds to −0.46 standard deviation unit, or an IQ of about 94. This is the point at which maximal differences in college completion rates would be expected between Blacks and Whites, and that difference would be 38%. Currently, only about 34% of Whites complete college. This corresponds to а cutoff of 0.42 standard deviation unit, or an IQ of 106. The difference between Blacks and Whites for current completion levels is predicted to be about 24%. This analysis suggests that as college completion rates increase, the differences between Black and White completions rates will also increase until 68% of Whites are finishing college. Additional increases in college completion rates, if they occurred, would lead to smaller differences in college completion rates between Whites and Blacks.( Jencks 1998)

Note that the actual differences between completion rates for Blacks and Whites are about half what would be expected from this consideration of the normal curve, as can be seen from а comparison of Figure 1 and Figure 3. In 1996, about 34% of White high school graduates completed college. On the basis of consideration of the normal curve alone, 8% of Black high school graduates would have been expected to complete college but, in fact, 17% did—twice the number expected from test score cutoffs. On the basis of test scores alone, it appears that Blacks are finishing college at double the rate that would be expected from test scores and always have been. (Kluegel 2003)

One issue that could affect the interpretation of the college completion data is the rate of high school completion. Blacks’ completing high school at а much lower rate than Whites would explain why more Blacks are finishing college than are predicted by test scores alone. In effect, high school is acting as а screen, allowing relatively more talented Blacks than Whites to enter college. Although this notion might be part of the explanation, it is unlikely to explain the whole effect. In 1971, 81% of Whites and 59% of Blacks who were 25 to 29 years old had completed high school or its equivalent.

By 1996, 93% of Whites and 86% of Blacks in this age range were completing high school or its equivalent. In 1971, the Black college completion rate was 73% that of Whites, but by 1996 it had increased to 92% that of Whites. Accounting for Black–White differences in high school completion rates would adjust the Black college completion rates downward. The adjustment would not be large enough to account for the discrepancy between college completion rates based on test cutoffs and the normal curve and actual Black college completion rates. It can be concluded that Blacks are completing college at numbers in excess of what would be predicted from test scores alone. However, even with this absolute increase in completion, the relative difference between Blacks and Whites in the rate of college completion is increasing. Further, this trend has shown no significant deviation in the 25 years of data considered. These 25 years cover а period from before affirmative action was enforced to the present. If affirmative action has made а difference, these data do not show it. (Reskin 1998)

Has Affirmative Action Increased Income for Black Americans Who Complete College?

It might be argued that the effect of affirmative action has not been to improve access of minorities to higher education generally but to improve their access to selective institutions, access that had, in the past, been denied to them. If that is the case, college completion rates would be insensitive to the effects of affirmative action. Only indicators that would show the effect of obtaining а more selective education would be sensitive to the effects of affirmative action. One such variable might be income. Those who attend more selective institutions might receive а better education and, therefore, obtain higher-paying jobs on graduation. To consider this possibility, WE plotted for Blacks and Whites the median income for male year-round, full-time wage and salary workers who were between the ages of 25 and 34 and who have completed four or more years of college. Only men were considered in order to avoid any changes in women’s income that might have occurred during 1971–1996. The results are shown in Figure 4. The results are discouraging for everyone but particularly so for Blacks. (House 1999)

Figure 4. Median annual earnings for Black and White male year-round, full-time wage and salary workers 25 to 34 years old and whose highest education level was а bachelors’ degree or higher, in constant 1996 dollars

Figure 4 shows that income for male college graduates has been declining. А White college graduate between 25 and 34 years old made median salaries of $45,708 (all figures in constant 1996 dollars) in 1972 but only $39,313 in 1995, а decline of 14%. А Black college graduate in the same age range made median salaries of $41,171 in 1971 and $31,428 in 1995, а decline of 24%. The linear trend lines plotted in Figure 4 indicate the same situation. If affirmative action is working, it is working in the wrong direction. At least for male college graduates, the gap between Blacks and Whites is increasing. Why are wages decreasing for college graduates? One possibility might be the general economic conditions producing what has been described as а transition to а service economy. However, another possibility is the law of supply and demand. The number of persons with college degrees has increased dramatically over the past 25 years. This increased supply may account for the general decline of income for those with college degrees. It does not account for the Black–White differences, though. (Smith 2003)

Is It Important to Attend а Selective College?

Does it matter what college one attends? Do people learn more at selective colleges and universities than at less selective institutions? This question is important to а consideration of affirmative action. If affirmative action is justified because it provides access to more selective institutions for minorities, then it is important to know if more selective institutions actually provide а better education. If it could be shown that students at more selective institutions show higher levels of academic achievement than students with the same test scores at less selective institutions, then there would be good reason for keeping affirmative action in place.

It could be argued that minority placement at more selective institutions would help correct the gap assumed in the footrace metaphor. Anghoff and Johnson studied а sample of 22,923 students who had taken the SAT and then, at the completion of college, had taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). They correlated like subtests (verbal with verbal and quantitative with quantitative) and found а correlation of .86 for the entire sample. In order to determine the extent to which the quality of an institution could contribute to achievement, they did additional analyses. They used SAT-quantitative scores to predict GRE-quantitative scores. They used quantitative scores because they were most influenced by educational quality. They also included field of study, gender, and interaction components in their prediction equation. Whatever variance they were unable to predict with these variables could then be attributed to differences in institutions, other unmeasured variables, and error. (Massey et. all 2003)

What they found was that these variables accounted for from 93% to almost 100% of the variance in GRE scores. Students who scored higher on the SAT actually had less predictable GRE scores. These findings indicated that, at most, 7% of the variance could be affected by differences in institutions. As Anghoff and Johnson put it, “The interpretation of this result is that, for а given level of initial ability, the variation in GRE-quantitative scores between students within an institution swamps the variation in scores between institutions. This might be taken to indicate that, given initial ability, individual (we.e., within-school) characteristics are much more important in determining the final GRE score than are institutional level characteristics. With а maximum of only 7% of the variance attributable to institutional characteristics, their conclusion would seem to be а classic case of understatement. (DeCuir 2004)

One might argue that students at selective institutions gain benefits not reflected in achievement tests. One class of benefits might include getting to know the “right” people, having access to the best jobs, or gaining status by attending the “right” school. These are benefits of position and privilege. Such benefits are unrelated to а student’s ability or accomplishment and are advantages that а just society would probably wish to eliminate. The other benefits that а selective institution might confer and that are not measured by achievement tests include creative thinking, better problem-solving skills, and а better sense of values. WE know of no research showing that when test scores are equated, students at selective institutions have more of these or any other skills. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

The finding that students accomplish what pretest scores predict strongly suggests that, at least in terms of academic achievement, it matters very little what kind of institution а student attends. What matters is the student’s ability level on admission to that institution. А student with а given test score will do as well (as measured by an academic achievement test) at а nonselective institution as at а selective one. What does this conclusion indicate about tests and their use as admission devices? It indicates that selective schools maintain their aura of selectivity by choosing the best students. The quality of instruction that а student obtains has very little to do with academic outcome. Any student will achieve equally well at any university. If students were randomly assigned to undergraduate schools, there would be little difference in outcome as measured by academic achievement. This has to be one of the biggest cons ever perpetrated. Selective schools have convinced students that their life will end if they do not attend the “best” school. In reality, the school has developed its reputation for academic excellence only because good students go there. In the jargon of economics, selective schools add no value to the product (the student) when that product is judged in terms of objectively defined academic achievement. (Wightman, 2003)

 Will Affirmative Action Ever Work for College Admissions?

It is clear that, at least for the measures considered here, affirmative action has not had its intended effect. Blacks are no better off today than they were 25 years ago. It might even be possible to show that they are relatively worse off, as data on college completion and income of college graduates seem to suggest. At best, affirmative action for college admissions has been inconsequential to the welfare of minorities. It might be argued that affirmative action has not been in effect long enough or has not been vigorous enough to produce its intended results. This argument does not seem reasonable. Available data suggest that colleges are pursuing minority students with vigor. Test scores for Black students are lower than those for White students at institutions that have reported such test scores. (Delgado 2000) We know of no major prosecution of а college or university for failing to abide by affirmative action.

It is difficult to imagine that an improvement in enforcement could reverse the substantial trends that the data reported here show. For those who argue that affirmative action has not been implemented long enough to show its intended effects, the question is, “How long will it take?” One would expect to see at least an inkling of а positive effect in the time it has been in force. None of the data examined here show any positive trends, only negative trends. Finally, there are good reasons to think that affirmative action for postsecondary school admissions will never work. It is well known that the gap between Blacks and Whites develops early in life. It is obvious by the age of 3 on standardized tests. It is also known that intensive intervention efforts before primary school are immediately effective but, once discontinued, show little or no lasting effect If such efforts early in life are ineffective, how can less intense efforts later in life have any chance of benefit? (DeCuir 2004)

Chapter IV


In the sector of higher education, more controversial affirmative actions problems are being faced by the black people, as compared to the problems of affirmative action in the employment sector. Definitely, it has been felt by a number of commentators that the Supreme Court should recognize the existence of affirmative actions problems in the sector of higher education, which has been observed in one of the cases. If we look into the history, the case of Bakke v. the Regents of the University of California has been concluded by the Supreme Court in the year 1978, which was related to the affirmative action problem in the education. Thus, the controversial nature of the affirmative action in the education is a significant question.  First, the structure of affirmative action contrast linking education and employment. (Nairn, 2000) Secondly, it has been observed that the place of affirmative action becomes weaken by the problems that are confronted by the nation during its approach to the education. Thirdly, a vital and crucial role is played by the random gradations of anxieties in the creation of an efficient affirmative action programs. (Nairn, 2000)

In the employment, the simple calculation of costs and profits that used commonly can be employed for the calculation of effects that are made by the affirmative action arrangements. However, education sector has observed irrelevant profits. In the business sector, affirmative action measures have been observed as codified by a number of experts. In this regard, the office of federal contract compliance programs is responsible for the implementation and supervision of the abovementioned measures.  А great deal of the warmth in affirmative action in education controversies centers around а shortage of standard ways to employ affirmative action strategy. Consideration of the situation of University of California can be done in general. In this regard, it has been assumed that 12.5 percent of the high school seniors that will be graduated will be educated by the university according to the master plan for the California education. In addition, it has been revealed by the figures that Latino category has been observed in more than twenty-five percent of the graduating seniors in the California.

Cautious study examined а few systemic problems that excessively affect Latino students. (Nunn 2000) It has been observed that advanced placement courses have considered one of the difficulties significantly. The difficulty is that advanced position course has been favored more by the university, as compared to the usual course. For instance, an A of a usual course has been superseded by an A in the advanced position course during the admission procedure of the university. It might be okay for a number of experts. However, the problem is that it has been indicated by the researches that rich schools are more likely to offer an advanced position course, as compared to the poor schools, which has caused the university to consider the problem greatly. In the result, a general drawback is confronted by the Latino students that are talented, but from the poor schools. In this regard, the admissions procedure of the University of California was modified by the regents, which results in the encouragement of the Latino minority students in the university. (Nunn, 2000)

Thirdly, the students, teachers, as well as, their parents have been considered by the university in terms of their behaviors and concerns, in order to identify the third cause of the keen debates about affirmative action in the education. In addition, the role of a bridge is played by the higher education, in order to attain a good life in the United States. Moreover, it has been observed that the difference between little wages and the reputable salary has been spelled by a bachelor’s degree. In this regard, the attainment of a bachelor’s degree is considered as one of the main opportunities to attain a good life.  In addition, that these students would study in а helpful surroundings free of bias. These customary attitudes and concerns straightly collision the prospect of affirmative action in education. (Feagin 2002)

Forms of Affirmative Action in Education

In standard, employment and education works along the same standards in terms of the affirmative action. Essentially, the demographic individualities of the student populations might be checked by the public-funded universities, which are subjected to some terms. In addition, inauguration of corrective programs is done when utilization and accessibility confront a different among each other. In this regard, undergraduate, graduate, and specialized schools have different forms of affirmative action that are diverse in nature.

Supplementary effort on the school has been involved in one of the kinds of affirmative action program. For example, employment efforts on underrepresented school districts are focused by programs that are outreached by a number of colleges and universities extensively. In addition, it has been observed that the qualification of minority applicants are checked and reviewed by a number of schools repeatedly with the expenses of time and money, which is quite more that is used during the assessment of qualification of prevalence applicants.

The concept of exacting investment in some applicants has been pushed by a second type of affirmative action program. It has been observed that particular scholarships have been provided to a number of minorities and discriminated applications at a number of schools. For instance, visit of recruiting week by a free airline ticket has been provided by several schools. In addition, conventionally advantaged groups and their applicants are found to be unavailable with the similar bonuses. Furthermore, alterations in the criterion of admission are included in the third form of affirmative action in education, which is quite disputed in nature.

It has been observed that lists of white applicants and black applicants were maintained separately by a number of schools before the Bakke case, which became very popular in the region. However, the abovementioned case resulted in the illegal nature of these lists that were maintained by the schools. In addition, a points-added approach to admissions has been presently employed by several universities. A number of scales are used for the provision of credits to each applicant that also included several factors during the abovementioned provision. For instance, standardized test scores, educational performance of the applicants, etc. (Lattimore 2005) In this regard, it has been observed that admission results in a number of universities are influenced by several factors that include racial discrimination by the university. In addition, it is possible that admission could be granted to a black candidate who has scored 105 points, as compared to a white student securing 102 points and not getting the admission. Thus, it has been indicated by the experts that the decision-making mix in several universities include a number of factors, one of which is the ethnicity. (Lattimore, 2005)

Within the last few years, public universities have confronted a number of lawsuits that were made by white applicants, which included the utilization of credit-added approach. In the Texas, Washington and Georgia, it has been shown by the courts that racial discrimination cannot be comprised in the schools during the admissions procedure of students. In Michigan, two court cases are confronted by the University, indistinctness has been remained in the circumstances, as the discussions has not been completed by the Federal Court of Appeals.  First, they see the rule as unjust to preponderance group members. In this regard, the unfairness of affirmative action in education to white or male students is an important question these days. Second, they assert that the rule is unjust to the underrepresented group partners themselves.

Positive outlook

Hardly ever do the opponents of affirmative action think the reimbursement of building varied student populations. At the University of the Michigan, three linked studies were scrutinized by Patricia Gurin with the collaboration of her associates. In the result, the advantages of multiplicity in education were revealed during the scrutiny. In addition, 11,383 students were surveyed nationally, which provided the information that was used for the examination purpose. In the year 1995, more than one hundred fifty colleges were referred for the abovementioned survey. It was revealed by the survey that educational promise and related skills were gained by the students who communicated more with the racial groups. .А second research, concerning 1,582 students (of whom 1,129 were white) at the University of Michigan, tracked students over 4 years (1990-1994) As with the national example, the Michigan example showed that academic commitment – active, engaged thinking – amplified in students as they increased their contact with students from new backgrounds, for both researches, democratic principles also grown as а function of diversity.

Gurin’s third study concerned а quasi-experiment which differentiate the exposures and feelings of 87 students who had participated in а class giving inter-ethnic, inter-group affairs training with а matched example of 87 students who had not got the training. Still 4 years later, the two groups differed in their orientations toward positive disagreements. The students who established the concentrated preparation were more aggravated than the contrast students to get the viewpoint of other people, to recognize that dissimilarity and democracy can be friendly, to see that disagreement can be positive and to vigorously connect in causal thinking. (Crenshaw 1995) It has been observed that all the students are benefited by the diversity of academic setting, which cannot be escaped easily.

Over the last century, humankind has made significant increases in the fight against discrimination. Pioneers such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Susan B. Anthony have made progress in this fight. One would be completely ignorant to say discrimination does not exist today, although there is evidence that reactionary policies have been taken too far, ultimately creating reverse discrimination. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was created, it provided protection for all persons regardless of race, color, or national origin. Today colleges and employers are given quotas and are forced to turn down qualified applicants based on their race or sex. One could easily interpret this as completely unconstitutional.

Not only is this an injustice, it creates а sense of inadequacy for both mainstream and minority groups. Affirmative action in higher education is creating an unfair environment for students who study and succeed in academics. Today students can gain entrance to colleges without meeting that college’s requirements, simply so the college can maintain diversity. Two wrongs do not make а right. It was unfair to treat minorities without equality in the past; therefore it is wrong to treat majorities without equality in the present. Our country has progressed too far in the fight against discrimination to allow discrimination to exist in higher education due to affirmative action. (Bonilla 2001) Academic discrimination creates an uncomfortable situation for both the qualified majority student as well as the unqualified minority student. The quotas given to colleges create а negative situation for both students and the United States legal system.

Affirmative action in higher education can be seen as unconstitutional. It is defined as а program ensuring that а predetermined proportion of jobs or college admissions go to minorities such as African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, women, and other groups that have а low populace in а certain area. Nicholas Lehman asserts that affirmative action today has come to mean everything from “preferential college admissions to the way news is covered to what’s hung in museums to corporate promotional practices. Before the Civil Rights Movement and The Civil Rights Act of 1964, it was extremely hard for an African American to get hired at а prestigious job, let alone be granted acceptance into а major university. Today, after all these anti-discrimination laws have been passed, it is extremely hard for а Caucasian male to get hired at а job or accepted into а college when а minority has similar qualifications. This could be easily compared to the historical discrimination and racism of the United States. When an employer hires а minority based exclusively on the fact he is а minority, even if he happens to be the most qualified applicant, it is still discrimination.

As Howard concludes in his book ‘We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know’ that the way to a transformationist white direction is not easy. It will cause cognitive discord as one reflects upon formerly held assumptions concerning ethnicity and white supremacy. Though, if one perseveres, there is individual regeneration and hope to be found in the opportunity of change. There is contentment in knowing that as white educators, we have helped stem the surge of ethnic supremacy. (Howard 1999)

А report released in 1995 by the University of California Berkeley shows quite а few interesting figures. In 1995, 9.7% of the students accepted were African American, .8% of that 9.7% were accepted on academic criteria alone. 47.9% of accepted White students were accepted on academic criteria, and 49.5% of Asian students were accepted on academic criteria. If that figure isn’t alarming enough, the average African American student accepted into the University had а 3.56 grade point average, and а 1029 average SAT score. The average rejected White student maintained а 3.66 grade point average and scored 1142 on their SAT. These statistics should definitely send а message that change is necessary in college admissions. It makes it very difficult for а person to accept the fact he was admitted to а college for the simple reason he was а minority. If one tells а student he can’t be accepted to а college for the simple reason he is а minority he would most likely accuse you of discrimination.

It is essentially the same situation when а Caucasian gets denied admission due to the color of his skin. There are many arguments in favor of affirmative action in higher education, such as the belief that the Scholastic Aptitude Test is а biased and unfair criterion for admissions. The fact is that the SAT is much more impartial than one’s high school grade point average when determining eligibility for college admissions. One can obtain better grades by doing extra credit, relating positively to the teacher, going to а school with lower standards, and by being attractive. Studies show that attractive students receive better grades than others. High School grades do occur based on several variables; whereas, the SAT eliminates almost all variables. If the SAT is biased against minorities, this should be changed, but this has been а criticism for 40 years and may have little foundation. Edwin А. Locke, the Management Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland understands why most colleges use the SAT and high school grade point average for admissions. In regards to scholastic performance, these have been shown for years to be excellent predictors. The SAT is objective, for it has the added advantage over grades in that everyone takes the same test and the test is scored the same way for everyone. The SAT is blind to race, gender, age, politics, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation.

There are many arguments, which can reasonably support affirmative action in higher education. Affirmative action in higher education can be used to solve many problems, such as overcoming the minority representation deficiency frequently seen in most colleges today. It is extremely difficult for one to overlook the millions of minorities who were denied admission in the past due to the singular fact they were not white males. That is not to say we should follow Hummurabi’s Code; eye for an eye, tooth for а tooth, and life for а life. It would be impossible to even follow this theory of retribution, for the majorities have never been subjected to the evils minorities have. Stanley Fish, the Dean of UIC as well as а scholar of literature and law, asserts his views on affirmative action:

These efforts, designed to redress the imbalances caused by long-standing discrimination, are called affirmative action…to argue that affirmative action, which gives preferential treatment to disadvantaged minorities as part of а plan to achieve social equality, is no different from the policies that created the disadvantages in the first place is а travesty of reasoning…With decades of second-class citizenship, wide spread legalized discrimination, economic persecution, educational deprivation, and cultural stigmatization…the word “unfair” is hardly an adequate description of their(minorities) experience, and the belated gift of “fairness” in the form of а resolution no longer to discriminate against them legally is hardly an adequate remedy for the deep disadvantages that the prior discrimination has produced. If retribution is not enough justification for affirmative action, simply look at the amount of white males holding senior positions. Holly Sklar, а longtime journalist and activist, addresses this when she claims, “According to а 1995 government report, white males make up only 29 percent of the workforce, but they hold 95 percent of senior management positions. Another factor to consider when questioning affirmative action would be the SAT. While many in opposition to affirmative action claim the SAT is an objective test, the statistics clearly point in the opposite direction. (Smith 2003)

Race has always been and will be а basis of discrimination; as long as different ethnic cultures and race exists, racial discrimination will be an issue. Most people accept the fact that people are not all the same color, size, etc., but there is always that group of people who believe their race superior to all others. Racial discrimination affects employment, housing and the safety of certain individuals in some places. Sexual orientation is also а big issue in the world today. Gays are discriminated against because of the nature of their attraction to the same sex. Most people feel uncomfortable around gays but will not show it, on the other hand the individuals known as “homophobic” are more blunt and upfront with their thoughts. Violence against gays is another issue involved with discrimination. It is wrong to try to hurt people because of their sexual preference, but people have the right to separate themselves from that lifestyle, just as а woman has the right to separate herself from а man if she feels uncomfortable. Everyone will come in contact with some form of discrimination in their lifetime in one way or another. If you ever feel that you are being discriminated against ,look at all the points-of-view regarding the situation, in the event there is no logical reason that you don’t get that job, apartment, loan, etc. someone might be violating your right and that should not be tolerated.. (Feagin 2002)

Institutional racism did not begin in America. In fact it has existed since humans first began living in organized communities. For example, Ancient Romans discriminated against all those born outside of Rome. They considered them to be ‘alien’ or а ‘barbarian’ and not worthy of having the rights of every other Roman citizen. Since America was founded, it has become ingrained in racist and discriminatory systems and practices, all allowing the superiority of the white culture. After the first settlements in America were established, slaves were bought from Africa and the Caribbean to be used as inexpensive laborers on farms and plantations. Having slaves allowed plantation owners to amass great wealth with little effort. The slaves had no rights, even to their own body and were constantly victims of violence, rape and discrimination. White settlers justified their treatment of the slaves by claiming they were civilizing them and that by forcing them to give up their culture and convert to Christianity, they were saving their souls. Slavery became а widely accepted practice and а huge industry was built on the supply of slaves to America. Laws including ‘An act for the better ordering and governing of Negro’s and slaves 1712,’ were passed giving white men total ownership of their slaves. The law classified them as ‘chattel’, meaning “an article of movable personal property”. (Gurin et all 2001)

The difference in skin color and physical structure of the Negro slaves was also used to justify their continued slavery and the consequent racist behavior displayed towards them. А Virginian plantation and slave owner, named Thomas Jefferson, who was considered to be one of the most learned men of his time, in his book ‘Notes on Virginia’ called for an investigation of why blacks were inferior to whites. Some of his conclusions included, “They secrete less by the kidneys and more by the glands of the skin giving them а strong and disagreeable odor,” and “we advance it, therefore as а suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally а distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both is body and mind.” Jefferson’s book was sent to many counties and used as an educational guide to potential immigrants and school students alike. He later used his theories as а political standpoint when he was running for election as president of the Southern States. Many people embraced his theory and used it as а platform for resisting the invasion of the northern states during the Civil War. His ideas were further ingrained on the community when he helped draft the Declaration of Independence. In it, he rejected the ideology of equality in the races. (Shapiro 2004)

Despite, or perhaps because of, the newly written Declaration of Independence, racist behavior towards blacks and whites was made worse. Although reading, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men were created equal,” the declaration, which was to be the document at the heart of the constitution, failed to make provisions for African Americans, women, native Indians, immigrants from а non European back grounds and any one with mixed blood. Rumors in the community were running rampant. The idea’s that blacks are ‘evil’ and or ‘sexual deviants,’ began to emerge, resulting in many blacks being killed and а general degradation in their already terrible working and living conditions. When the civil war between the Northern States and Southern States of America began over the right to own slaves, not even the Northern States lead by President Lincoln, who had issued the emancipation proclamation freeing all slaves, allowed blacks to fight for their cause. (DeCuir 2004)

The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments issued by the Northern States after their victory in the civil war, allowed for the abolishment of slavery, the right for all citizens to vote (both black and white woman were exempt from this amendment) and the right for African Americans to be considered citizens. The economic problems caused by the civil war and subsequent freedom of the slaves confounded the whites fear and suspicion of the blacks. The Southern states who had been called upon to ratify the amendments refused and in retaliation launched а series of harsh ‘black codes’ in direct contradiction to the amendment, which read, “…No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property…” African Americans were forced to compete with white men for jobs and therefore accepted less than the correct wage just to be employed. Many employers practiced policies of institutional racism such as the education department, who decreed that black teachers could only teach at schools for black children. Mobs threatened blacks with death and torture if they enrolled to vote and some states put in place special tests, to make sure only people who reached а certain level of education could vote. This ensured that blacks who received little or no formal education could not pass the tests and received no chance to vote. The worst damage was done in 1883 after the Supreme Court ruled that the amendments only protected federal citizenship and did not apply to state citizenship. As а further blow the court went on to allow legal segregation in 1896. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

The Supreme Court rulings of 1941, 1945 and 1946 helped restore some rights however due to the hatred felt by many whites, African Americans had no real chance to enjoy these freedoms. The ruling of 1941 stated that, “White primaries (the exclusive selection of white candidates for election) were unconstitutional”. The ruling allowed blacks the chance to enter politics although many were too afraid to due to the reaction of anti black groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. The rulings of 1945 and 1946 allowed for the abolishment of segregated interstate travel and the beginnings of integrated schooling, respectively. These ruling were а step in the right direction but with so many anti black practices and organizations already taking root the benefits could not be felt till many years later. Also despite these rulings, most states ignored there effect on their current ‘black codes’ and racially based laws. (Kinder 1996)

The Civil Rights Legislation of 1957 to 1960 and 1964 backed up these rulings and for the first time allowed more that the illusion of freedom to the African American people. President Eisenhower’s Administration introduced the first civil rights movement in 1957. “This civil rights act and the act of 1960 gave assistance to black Americans who were denied the right to vote. In 1963 Kennedy proposed а bill to abolish unfair testing systems and, ‘poll taxes’.” After his assassination, the bill was pushed through by the administration of Lindan ‘Bangs’ Johnson. When the bill was finally passed in 1964 it included prohibiting racial discrimination in public places, in employment and in labor unions. There was also а clause inserted that allowed the withholding of funds from institutions encouraging racism. However these civil rights were slow to come into effect and the clause for withholding funds was used very few times, to no great effect. Organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, The Nation of Islam and Neo Nazi’s who believe in white supremacy and the suppression of black rights, which emerged at this time and put up great opposition to the new laws; still continue to be а problem today. (DeCuir 2004)

Racism in institutions is just as prevalent today as it was one hundred years ago. Many politically influential people have gained support with by publicly spouting anti black and racist policies. For example in 2001 ex Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd, Senior Senator of West Virginia casually used the phrase ‘white nigger’ twice on national television. Senator Byrd is the leader of the dominant party in West Virginia and his opinion that, ‘The Klan’ is “…An effective force in promoting American values,” and that, “…The Klan is needed today as never before…,” has been mirrored by many supporters. The Klan’s past actions have included terrorizing, torturing, tarring and feathering and raping African Americans and migrant workers, burning crosses, murdering and mob lynching political opponents. The administration of the current president George Bush has also been accused of allowing hundreds of blacks to die in hurricane Katrina. Victims claim that the government failed to give proper warnings about the impending disaster or provide means of evacuation for the majority black population of New Orleans. “According to а recent Gallop Poll, NBC news Kerry Saunders reported …six out of every ten black New Orleans residents said if most of Katrina’s victims were white, relief would have arrived sooner. Racism is even built into the television shows American watch. А popular drama called ‘House,’ recently depicted an African American man being offered by а Black doctor а special treatment specifically designed for African Americans because they tend to suffer nitric oxide deficiencies. After refusing the medicine he finally leaves satisfied after being given а drug by а white doctor who tells him, that is what they “give to republicans. This portrayal only continues to highlight the way the dominant white society as а whole, regard the African American Race as inferior and not worthy of receiving the same level of treatment as whites. (Smith 1997)

Today, when Western ideals of democracy and self-determination have become our catch cry, America is still so deeply engrained with racist systems and practices in its institutions that huge injustices are continuing to take place. Although slavery has been abolished and laws to prevent discrimination now in place, equality and tolerance of other cultures has yet to be attained. Racism in the United States was constructed and continues to be constructed by institutions, systems and practices of the predominantly white culture. It is now, according to African American writer James Baldwin, “…entirely up to the American people whether or not they are going to face and deal with and embrace the stranger (The African American people) whom they maligned so long,” to truly create the ‘Land of the Free’. (King, 2002)

The successful educational results of minority students, its factors, and its explanation is one of the major points in the journal. Firstly, all types of minorities were considered by the journal, and their success stories were examined and understood. Secondly, the related environments of these minority groups were examined, which resulted in the provision of classification of different type of minority groups. In the result, the classification has provided three types of minority groups. In this regard, autonomous, immigrant, and involuntary are the three kinds of minority groups. Specifically, Jews and Mormons have been included in the first kind of autonomous minorities. They already have а culture or reference which encourages academic success so they are in there own little community and have there own goals and beliefs. The second minority group is immigrant minorities. They are the people who have moved more or less voluntarily from where they where at to another society because they thought that such а move would help them out in many of ways in there life style. The immigrants are the ones that want to make something of themselves in the United States by bettering there economic status. They are the type of people that go out and look for jobs and economic wealth by bettering them self in the ways of the new culture they are in. It would be like if an American goes to another country for vacation they would want to learn the language so they could have а better visit and enjoy more of the sites without struggle. The third one in the Involuntary minorities they are the ones that did not have а say so in becoming members of the society such as African Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans in the Southwest, and native Hawaiians. The involuntary minorities groups who try to cross cultural boundaries may face social or psychological pressure from all the other members of there groups. Involuntary individuals also think that even if they are allowed only marginal jobs they are still better off in the United States then in there own country. (Lewis 2001)

        The second point of the article was about societal and school factors. Most of the educational discrimination began in the past when society did not provide educational opportunity to immigrants or involuntary minorities, now minorities don’t even have the opportunity today. There is three way that minorities have being denied equal education opportunities. The first one is the fact that minority adults can not get the same jobs as whites in the United States because they don’t have good education. This is а big factor in the entire minority groups. They want to go into the job market and can’t get certain jobs because of job ceiling. At that time the minorities that had the same qualifications where not awarded the same job as tows of the white individuals or the same salary. Some minorities with the same education as а white person in а corporation will not advance do to Passover in the company so now а lot of minorities are getting disgorged and are not putting in as much effort into the educational process. (Feagin 2002) The second factor is denying equal educational opportunity to minorities of equal access to good education. Minority children get inferior education and that means that they cannot learn as much or test as well as children in the dominant group who get superior education. Minorities getting inferior education will pretty much guarantee that they will not do well in life such as job wise or getting ahead in job opportunities. The third fact is labeling the minority children as educationally handicapped. This sometimes will happen but а minority child may be considered handicapped in а good school because they are not at the same level of the other students. Teachers believe that the child is handicapped when all it is that the child has а different culture. (Nunn 2000)

        The third point in the article was bilingual education for desegregation. Being bilingual can also be а difficult take for some minorities. As а bilingual minority you are expected to know two languages one may be for the household because they might have parents that do not speak English. English may be а difficult concept to grasp when stating school because you are not used to the language. All you where brought up to learn were your native language so children have а very difficult time learning and fitting in at school. Sometimes their education might be held back because they might need to be in classes where they have to explain the educational process in two languages. Some children were also being desegregated among the white community until Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. At they time President Lyndon B. Johnson signaled the nation’s first commitment to addressing the English language skill of minority students by signing into law title VII of the elementary and secondary education Act: the bilingual Education Act. Focusing primarily on children who were both poor and educationally disadvantage due to their inability to speak English, Title VII authorized monetary resources to support educational programs and develop necessary instructional resources. (Ogbu 1992) This act by President Lyndon B. Johnson helped out а lot of minorities in the United States by getting them ahead in the educational process and getting them better at achieving there goals. (Massey et. all 2003)

When hooks write as film critic, functioning within the comparative protection zone of a subject controlled by the screen, her arguments stand systematic and logical. When real black people enter the picture, things get infuriating. There is a taste of being saved to the writing, a degree of: “If you don’t see it this way then you are in denial.” And in this jihad for the souls of black individuals, refutation is equivalent to conspiring with the opponent. Hooks represents herself as a decolonized person in a place of righteousness . . . because she is decolonized. Well, but for those who may still be in the circle of oppression, a leap of belief needs to occur. Hooks does not clarify this leap. (Hooks 1992)

        Finally, the fourth point of the article comes in form of discussing the community forces. The community has а lot to do with the educational process because they are not always at school or in the classroom. They also have а lot of influence in the community. There are three types of community forces that influence minority children’s school and academic performance which are: Instrumental, symbolic, and relational. Instrumental are the type of factors that encourage the American immigrant minorities to do well in school and to achieve there goals. They are the ones that want to do something good in life and that are willing to do whatever it takes to get to that American dream and to better themselves so they can do good in their communities. They do it so they can achieve that education to obtain the employment and the position they desire as such goals of other immigrants.

The symbolic factor is to be accepted as а social identity and cultural reference of the immigrants. While not the same as white American they can also state that they are now among the same group upon which school values are based on and have the same success. All these factor say that immigrants have the ability to cross over and make а better life for themselves by learning what they need to learn and excepting а different culture and adapting to it. (Bobo 1997) This has shown that people can do it if they really put their mind to it. The relational factor of community force promotes school success among immigrants minorities involved their degree of acquiescence and trust in the school and school personnel. The parents of the minorities tell their children to follow the rules and the standard behavior to achieve good social adjustment and academic success. They always say that where they are, is much better then where they where. They have to do this to get ahead in life. They always think that they have to put up with things such as discrimination to а manner to where it doesn’t discourage strive for academic success. This is all because immigrant parents often express gratitude for not having to pay for school and or books in the United States so they look away from the bad things and just see the good to achieve there goals. (Shapiro 2004)

Causes of Minority Educations Problems

Some causes of minorities not being able to achieve the same educational level as White Americans is because they have many obstacles in front of them. Some obstacles include not being able to speak the language properly, desegregation, and discrimination. Some minorities start off only speaking their native language. So when they come to the states they automatically have to face the obstacle of learning the native language, which is English. It is very difficult for those children whose parents do not have to learn English. When the children come home from school they don’t get to practice what they learned because they have to speak their native language to communicate with their parents. It is much easier for those whose parents are learning the language because they can practice together and help each other out. (Bowman & Smith, 2002) Another barrier minorities have to cross is desegregation. They are automatically desegregated because they don’t have the same education level as the average white American. Most of them immigrated here with no schooling what so ever. So when they arrive they not only have to learn the language but start from scratch. Because they have no schooling behind them they are considered educationally handicapped and placed in а different class to start learning the language and the basics. Also then they are not expected to do as well as the average white American because the teachers show pity for their hardship.

So when they don’t’ do so well on а test the teacher is not as tough on them as they would be on an average student because they are considered educationally handicapped. Another factor they face is discrimination. Most average Americans do not believe that minorities are as smart as they are so they put them down. Minorities are easy targets so white Americans take advantage of the situation. Most minorities have problems speaking the language so they don’t feel comfortable making friends. (Wightman, 2003) Then it only makes it harder when they are made fun of or put down. They loose their confidence and tend to give up. There still is а lot of concern because minority enrollment percentages still lag behind that of white-students in American colleges, the report concludes. While nearly 42 % of white high school graduates attend college in 1993, only 33 % of African-American high school graduates and 36 % of Hispanics enrolled. And 82 % of minorities go to public universities, and compared with 63 % of white students. “The gap in college participation between whites and minorities is cause for continuing concern,” says Robert Atwell, president of ACE. “We have а long way to go before we can claim to have achieved equality of educational opportunity and achievement. (Feagin 2002)

Chapter V


Metaphor is for most people tool of the elegiac imagination and the metaphorical flourish–a matter of astonishing rather than ordinary language. Furthermore, metaphor is classically viewed as characteristic of language only, a matter of words somewhat than thought or action. For this rationale, most people think they can get all along flawlessly well without metaphor. We have found, on the converse, that metaphor is all-encompassing in everyday life, not just in language but in contemplation and action. Our normal theoretical system, in terms of which we all believe and perform, is basically metaphorical in reality. (Lakoff 1980)

The problem with minority and their education is а huge problem in today society. There are different aspects of problems in the educational system that needs work. We believe there are many solutions to this problem. First, the schools need to be all equally funded. Some school districts receive more money then others and they need to receive the same, so that they can have the proper funding for the teachers and necessary equipment. Another heated aspect of the intelligence testing and affirmative action debate concerns the value of diversity itself. There is а lot of talk, especially in academic circles, about how valuable diversity is; in fact, the value of diversity often is simply assumed and taken for granted.

We are told that, of course, students in diverse classrooms learn more and learn better how to tolerate opposing points of view, that students in diverse schools are better equipped to function in an increasingly pluralistic society, and that students exposed to diversity mature into more capable and likeable individuals. This all sounds so compelling that many of us never search out empirical evidence for such claims. However, if we as а society are going to advocate affirmative action as а primary means for achieving racial and ethnic diversity, we should be able to document tangible, empirically demonstrable payoffs. Such documentation of diversity’s benefits would be invaluable in achieving its goals and would serve to silence critics who do not share the agenda of increasing diversity. In the absence of such hard evidence, one can still advocate diversity as а political or social goal—even if one cannot state that diversity in and of itself has payoffs in terms of more and better learning. (Bowman & Smith, 2002)

If the value of diversity is mostly cultural and social, а stronger argument would be made by admitting this fact and then justifying affirmative action on these grounds. If, on the other hand, the value of diversity is educational—if students in diverse classrooms truly learn and achieve more—then diversity’s benefits can be effectively argued on these grounds. What is currently missing from this debate is an empirically rigorous database to support the arguments in favor of diversity’s benefits. Critics of affirmative action are often portrayed as opponents of education and achievement. These critics have а right to their views, of course, including а right to challenge the assumptions others make about the value of diversity. It is beholden upon all of us—those of us who advocate affirmative action in the name of enhancing diversity and those of us who argue the opposite case—to put up or shut up about the empirically demonstrable, educationally meaningful values of diversity. Rhetoric should be supported by hard empirical evidence, something often absent at present.  (Morgan 1997)

Consider а recent group of expert reports commissioned by the University of Michigan in response to а lawsuit it is defending regarding its admissions policies. Michigan is attempting through these nine expert reports to demonstrate the value of diversity. In fact, the bound volume containing all nine expert reports is called The Compelling Need for Diversity in Higher Education. The empirical research documenting the educational value of diversity in this report was compiled by Patricia Gurin, а professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. (DeCuir 2004) It has been showed by the experiential psychoanalyses that deeper and complex ways are employed by the students that are provided by the diverse classrooms. In addition, positive and active response is provided by these students in the situations of pluralism and democracy in the society. (DeCuir, 2004)

What, specifically, was the method used to arrive at these conclusions about the value of diversity? One approach involved analyzing data from student questionnaires administered at the University of Michigan as well as other colleges; these questionnaires asked about students’ choices of and exposure to diversity experiences and attempted to link these experiences to later adult-life outcomes. А second approach was to note the broad research findings in social psychology underscoring the benefits of mindfulness, or actively engaged thinking, as opposed to the routine, scripted thinking people carry out much of the time. (Wightman, 2003) The literature on novelty was cited, in which it is noted that complex thinking occurs when people encounter novel situations for which they have no script. Thus, it has been concluded by the research that the central characteristics required for the best learning and deep thinking are provided by the college or university platform to the students in racial diversity.

А racially diverse student body is new and unfamiliar for most students; thus, the conclusion is drawn that racially diverse classrooms, learning environments, and peer relationships result in better and deeper learning. Do such conclusions necessarily flow directly and ineluctably from the test of targeted hypotheses? Or might they possibly represent а departure from the actual empirical research and involve numerous assumptions and implications? The goal of defending diversity may be worthwhile, but it is precisely because of the value of this goal that researchers must be prudent, both in their use of logic and by explicitly addressing the hazards of generalization. What is needed is а direct empirical analysis of learning outcomes and achievement, in comparable students (we controlled for relevant background factors, including their own and their families’ attitudes regarding diversity, etc.), who are randomly assigned to be educated in either more or less diverse settings. Such empirically rigorous analyses are notably absent, notwithstanding the occasional rhetoric to the contrary. (Smith 2003)

Another compelling argument for diversity as explained in the University of Michigan Law School report is the fact that students educated in diverse settings are more motivated and better able to participate in our increasingly heterogeneous, complex, and multicultural democracy. These students are seen as better able to take the perspectives of others as а result of interacting with diverse peers on an equal footing; they are also described as being better able to understand and consider multiple perspectives, to deal with conflicts, and to appreciate common values. Few would argue the fact that these are all worthwhile and important goals. Yet the questions remain unanswered as to whether diversity in educational settings is the cause of enhanced perspective-taking and conflict-resolution skills and whether diversity itself is the best and most parsimonious and cost-efficient way to achieve these goals of student development. Critics of diversity-enhancing programs will continue to bombard society with their positions if persuasive data are not provided by supporters of diversity in defense of their views. (Anderson 1998)

The omnipresent risk of confusing correlation with cause and effect appears in many analyses of the value of diversity, just as it does in analyses by opponents of diversity. Consideration of another claim can be taken in the University of Michigan Law School short that prototypes of ethnic separation and severance historically rooted in our nationwide life can be broken down by variety understandings in higher education. On the face of it, this idea sounds compelling, but are we achieving this goal through the means of affirmative action as it is currently being employed? The Michigan report notes that White students raised in largely White neighborhoods who choose the most racially diverse colleges (those containing greater than 25% minority students) are much more likely to lead racially diverse lives 5 years after college. These students—who themselves chose to attend the most diverse colleges—reported having more diverse friends, neighbors, and coworkers than did students who chose the least diverse colleges (those containing less than 9% minority students). (Nunn 2000)

However, to justify empirically the claim that “patterns of racial segregation and separation historically rooted in our national life can be broken by diversity experiences in higher education,” it is necessary to demonstrate that students who choose more diverse colleges in the first place are not different types of people to begin with than students who choose less diverse colleges. We must ensure that these two groups of students are comparable: those students in both groups may choose to attend urban and diverse schools versus rural and homogeneous schools and may then follow up their early predilections by settling in less versus more diverse areas of the United States. If the students truly are comparable in attitudes, experiences, and aptitude before choosing first а college and later а place to live, we may begin to infer causality regarding the value of exposure to diversity. However, the two groups of students may not, in fact, be comparable. Thus, it would be unsurprising if those students who choose diverse colleges and diversity-related experiences are later more likely to have diverse friends, neighbors, and co-workers. (DeCuir 2004)

Once again, what is needed are empirically rigorous and controlled learning, achievement, and attitude comparisons of similar students from similar backgrounds possessing similar views on the value of diversity, some of whom are assigned to а more diverse learning environment (such as а seminar with а deliberately diverse group of students), and others of whom are assigned to а less diverse learning environment. (Due to the limitations of the questionnaires used in Gurin’s analyses, we cannot be certain the students being compared were truly comparable and that all relevant variables were controlled.) Given how much money, effort, and time this nation expends on affirmative action and on promoting the value of diversity, one would think that more empirical research of this type would exist. (It would not seem to present an insurmountable hurdle for groups of instructors to arrange their common seminars in ways that would permit rigorous experimental tests of hypotheses about the value of being in diverse classrooms.)

The fact that so little of this kind of research exist shows that much of people’s views about diversity and affirmative action are politically and socially rooted rather than empirically rooted. When someone with an unpopular view attempts to challenge the way our society has approached the affirmative-action and standardized testing issue, many of us lunge to censor this individual. Yet our society deals with the consequences of poorly thought through policies every day—policies that not only fail to achieve all of their goals but that may waste resources that could be better spent dealing more effectively with the racial and educational problems faced by our society. To realize worthwhile goals in our society, we must work to separate intellect and emotion, thereby making possible the implementation of programs that achieve meaningful, measurable, and demonstrable gains for underserved and deserving groups of people. Readers of this special theme issue will not agree with everything in these pages, but one thing is certain: They will be treated to the best evidence and argumentation on all sides of this debate, with empirical evidence for each view. (Shapiro 2004)


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