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Editors note: While it’s always good to review Black History and the struggles Blacks might have seemed to overcome, we have a long way to go. Evolution has created a clear and present danger for Black college students across the United States and right here in the Twin Cities. If you thought Blacks got shot, hung, raped and beat for trying to obtain an education in the 40′s and 50′s – this still happens today – in 2012 with a little help from evolution, White spaces are filled with classicist bastards who use school policy, and organizational rules to exclude Blacks and other people of color. “You don’t have to look very far to find unadulterated Institutionalized Racism.”
One stereotype about college is that the experience encourages students to be more interested in diversity and promoting racial understanding. To some this is a great virtue of higher education; to critics, this suggests academe is too focused on diversity. What if they are all wrong?
A new study being presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association suggests that as undergraduates progress in higher education, they become less interested, on average, in promoting racial understanding. The study finds that this is true across racial groups — although it finds some characteristics of the college experience that may make students more interested in racial understanding as they proceed from freshman to senior year.
The study is by Jesse D. Rude, a principal research analyst at NORC at the University of Chicago; Gregory C. Wolniak, a senior research scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago; and Ernest Pascarella, the Mary Louise Petersen Professor of Higher Education at the University of Iowa. They used survey data of students at 6 liberal arts colleges and 11 universities collected by the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education.
Students were asked: “How important to you personally is helping to promote racial understanding?” The researchers write that they selected this as the question because, unlike questions about “openness to diversity” or “other more abstract notions of tolerance,” this question “attempts to capture respondents’ personal commitment to improving racial understanding and may be less prone to social desirability bias.” Students were asked the question upon arriving at college, at the end of their freshman year, and at the end of their senior year.
Ranking the importance of promoting racial understanding on a four-point scale, African American students started off with the highest score (above 3.2), followed by Hispanics (just below 3.2), Asians (around 2.9) and whites (just under 2.5). All four groups were lower at the end of their freshman year, and lower as well by their senior year. Asians showed some rebound between the end of freshman year and senior year, but still ended up at a lower point than where they started.
Read more: Inside Higher Ed