African-American Men: 4.3% of College Enrollment Since 1976!!!!

I am breaking my word from yesterday in order to post news about this report because the results are so disturbing I can't keep them to myself. I want someone else to be upset with me. From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Black men are underrepresented at institutions of higher learning over all, and even more so at flagship universities in the 50 states, says a report released on Wednesday by a national research center.

The report, "Black Male Students at Public Flagship Universities in the U.S.: Status, Trends, and Implications for Policy and Practice," was written for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies' Dellums Commission. Led by former U.S. Rep. Ronald V. Dellums, Democrat of California, the commission focuses on public policies affecting the health of young African-American men...

In 2000 black men represented 7.9 percent of the 18- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. population, but in 2004, they constituted just 2.8 percent of undergraduate enrollments across the 50 flagship universities. Thirty of the universities enrolled fewer than 500 black male undergraduates that year. And at 21 of the institutions, more than one of every five black men on campus was an athlete, the report says.

The findings "confirm that higher education is a public good that benefits far too few black men in America," writes the report's author, Shaun R. Harper, an assistant professor and research associate at Pennsylvania State University's Center for the Study of Higher Education.

"Given all of the institutional rhetoric regarding access to equity, multiculturalism, and social justice," Mr. Harper said in an interview on Thursday, "I just see next to no evidence of those espoused values being enacted on behalf of black male undergraduates."

Statistics cited in the report include the following:

In 2002 the proportion of all students enrolled in colleges and universities who were African-American men was the same -- 4.3 percent -- as it was in 1976.


The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies says it will post a copy of the paper on its Web site on November 15.

It's recruiting season on college campuses everywhere. Please people, please tell me you are going to start deep-sixing the kinds of recruiters who, when approached by African-American men looking for information on your multicultural engineering program, respond internally with "I'm a white guy so what the hell do I [need to] know about the MEP?" and externally with "Our MEP coordinator isn't here at our recruiting event. Let me introduce you to our women in engineering program director. She can probably tell you something about the MEP program." and continue internally with "because, afterall, blacks, women, what the hell, they're all the same. Not white men. Now, let me get back to talking to the white boys, who are the ones I'm really after." If you replaced them this year, that would represent some positive action within a decade!

Fifty flagship universities - there's a whole lotta shoes in need of some pukin'.

More like this

Oh yeah, it's the fault of white recruiters, right. Check this IP and you will see it's coming from UNC. After being here 4 years and knowing people of every stripe, I can guess why there are lots of black women here and very few black men. Black women value education. They will suffer late nights and empty wallets for it. Black men don't value it. Probably half the black men I've known here have dropped out. They aren't as likely to have the values which lead to success. And the ones who do, find success. you are saying recruiting has no impact whatsoever? I guess we should call the universities then and tell them they can save a great big huge chunk of their budgets every year that they are now wasting on a process that does not influence student intake.

Or is it that the nature of recruitment has no impact whatsoever? So anybody can do it and say or do anything they want with no ill effects? Then let's call the universities and tell them we still have a money-saver; this time it's salary, because they can hire folks with no high school degree and pay them peanuts to travel around, set up displays, and mutter inanities like the stuff I describe above. No need for an advanced degree and a fancy salary to talk that kind of trash. They can also dispense with training, so there's another line item on the budget!

I don't doubt that insensitive idiotic recruiters aren't the whole story to that 4.3%. But I am pretty damn sure they aren't helping any.

One fine day, I will post an entry on some hideous state of affairs affecting underrepresented groups in science/engineering/higher education in general, and commenters will respond: sweet mother of jesus, that's terrible. Let's figure out together how we can individually and collectively take action against this.

Instead of: no, no, no, no, let me explain to you why what you have said is not true/is irrelevant/is wrong in this nitpicky detail and therefore all of your argument is suspect/is a minor issue/is only true for an insignificant group and/or insignificant portion of time/is not my fault/can't be changed/is not due to sexism-racism-homophobia-classism-whatever, it's just how things are/is the fault of the underrepresented group themselves and they deserve what they get/fuck them I'm sick of them I'm sick of hearing about them and their problems I don't give a shit I wish they'd all just shove off and leave all us deserving hard-working folks alone or else suck it up and prove they deserve it like we do.

Oh, wait, nobody ever says that last one - at least, not out loud.

If you haven't read Talking About Leaving by Seymour and Hewitt, go read it. Then come back and tell me how everyone who quits, doesn't have the values that lead to success.

Having recently graduated from a top school with a (possibly not top but improving) engineering program, one of the things I found most disturbing was not so much the number of black students (the National Society of Black Engineers chapter seemed to be thriving), but where they came from. Such an enormous percentage of the black kids were the children or, at the very most, grand children of African immigrants. Most of their parents were educated and often fairly well-off. I fear that while we're shortchanging an entire race a little, we're shortchanging a more specific demographic, African-Americans who come from the inner cities or poor rural areas, who may better represent typical American black people, a lot.

By ThePolynomial (not verified) on 03 Oct 2006 #permalink

I am curious as to where and what these flagship universities are? The university I attended as an undergrad, Cal State Northridge has a African American enrollment around 10%, but low retention of males. Proximity to Los Angeles is a big part of it, and there may be a geographic factor to this sample of flagships.

In California, I would suspect that would be Cal, but if you consider what a top feeder that university is, you have to look to the thirty odd UCs or CSUs for your african american enrollment.


Perhaps you should offer some more realistic solutions. I've seen exactly the opposite trend from what you described. When recruiters encounter a minority with great grades and potential, they're usually falling all over themselves to get that person to their school.

The fact of the matter is, that by the time they think about going to college, many minorities have already established themselves as underperformers who don't give a damn about school. We need to get to kids long before they think about applying to college.

You're going to have to go deeper than college recruiters and focus on the economic and social factors that disproportionately affect blacks in this country. Lower incomes, lack of cohesive family structures, less pressure from family and peers to succeed, etc. We can't fix all those, but by fixing the educational system, we can help alleviate the effects and encourage kids to succeed.

Blaming college recruiters is way off the mark.

I don't know how recruiters act at my school (NCCU) but considering the fact that it is an HBCU I very hardly think that they are racist. Any college educated woman like myself can tell you what they see in their classes. Over time, as you progress through getting your degree, the classes become more and more female. It is a depressing situation to be in. I think the cause of the situation is that a black household usually has a strong woman. So she knows how to raise her daughters. She knows what the daugthers need. But more often that not, there's no strong man in the household to raise the boys. So when a boy is raised by his momma and granmomma, where does he learn to be a man? From his immature friends, that's where.

When I go to High Schools and Junior High Schools for Society of Women Engineers to recruit young people into Engineering, I talk to every teenager I can find. I especially target minority groups for recruitment into Engineering. I find kids from all backgrounds just as potentially qualified to become Engineers. The main thing these kids need is a role model and inspirational voices that say, "You can do this!"

How many of you have gone up to a black male teenager and made sure that they understood that they had a bright future ahead of them?

I know I have.