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The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, July 01, 2004

Stubborness in academia

New York Times via Best of the Web:
While about 8 percent, or about 530, of Harvard's undergraduates were black, Lani Guinier, a Harvard law professor, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the chairman of Harvard's African and African-American studies department, pointed out that the majority of them--perhaps as many as two-thirds--were West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples.

They said that only about a third of the students were from families in which all four grandparents were born in this country, descendants of slaves. Many argue that it was students like these, disadvantaged by the legacy of Jim Crow laws, segregation and decades of racism, poverty and inferior schools, who were intended as principal beneficiaries of affirmative action in university admissions.

What concerned the two professors, they said, was that in the high-stakes world of admissions to the most selective colleges--and with it, entry into the country's inner circles of power, wealth and influence--African-American students whose families have been in America for generations were being left behind.

This is clear evidence that America's problem is not really "racial" at all: people with black skin are being accepted into top universities in record numbers.

The problem - specifically - is one of culture: native African Americans don't value learning to the degree that they should to succeed in America.

This is unfortunate, but it may very well be one of those problems that the state is incapable of solving.

It will only be solved when thousands of African-American parents choose to eschew victimhood and take education and raising children seriously.

This, however, difficult in a demographic with so many single parent families, concentrated in bad neighborhoods.

How do we give the ambitious children a chance at something better?

I would think it was obvious: education vouchers, targeted at poor (not necessarily black) families.

Of course, Guinier and Gates would never go for that. Their solution is the same as it was in 1975 - loosen up standards to let more of the "right" African Americans in.

It hasn't worked yet, and it will never work.

In fact, these kinds of policies have been a nightmare for blacks. It is no accident that larges numbers of black freshmen are immediately steered into remedial writing and math classes upon enrollment, and most never catch up with their white and Asian counterparts.

At what point do the liberals declare that a 70% black dropout rate in college is too high?

On a related note:

From Joanne Jacobs:

Academically rigorous schools are 'placed in neighborhoods where parents fully expect their children to go to college.' The faddish schools end up in the Bronx and Harlem. For example, New Visions opened the Urban Peace Academy in East Harlem in 1993.

The school says it addresses 'issues of peace and justice, wealth and power, racism and oppression and the creation of ourselves and our cultures.' What's missing there? Hint: Fewer than half of Urban Peace Academy's class of 2003 met state Regents English standards and none met Regents math standards.

Oh, what depths has liberalism sunk to?

I share their desire to have a bias free society.

But using racial bias to create ignorant - but blissfully liberal - African Americans is not going to achieve that.

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