Inside Higher Ed reports this morning on a new study’s finding
that among high school graduates, “immigrant blacks” — defined as those who immigrated to the United States or their children — are significantly more likely than other black Americans to attend selective colleges. In fact, immigrant black Americans are more likely than white students to attend such colleges.
The study noted
that previous research has documented that a smaller proportion of black high school graduates than white high school graduates enroll in college. But when students of similar socioeconomic status are compared, the black high school graduates are more likely than their white counterparts to enroll. Given the debate about the immigrant factor in analyzing black enrollments, the authors set out to determine “whether this net black advantage is very African American.”
Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, Bennett and Lutz found that among high school graduates, 75.1 percent of immigrant blacks enrolled in college, a slightly higher percentage than that of whites (72.5 percent) and substantially larger than for native blacks (60.2 percent).
In terms of the college destinations of those who enrolled in college, the rates for immigrant blacks compared to other black students were similar for two-year colleges and non-selective four-year colleges that are not historically black. The biggest gap was at selective colleges, which enroll only 2.4 percent of native black high school graduates but 9.2 percent of immigrant blacks (and 7.3 percent of whites).
Think about this. I’ll have more to say about it later today.
To Be Continued…
Continued… O.K., I’m back. Playing tennis, this morning, was fun. Going to the dentist, this afternoon, wasn’t. But now that I’m back and have thought about this during the day, it turns out that I really don’t have anything to say about the “overrepresentation” of immigrant (or offspring of immigrant) blacks among the “underrepresented” blacks on American campuses. Or rather, I don’t have anything new to say, because I’ve already said a bunch in response to similar studies and earlier news here, here, and here.
From the first here, nearly five years ago:
According to a fascinating front page article in today’s New York Times, it has begun to dawn on Lani Guinier, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and other preferentialists at Harvard and elsewhere that you’d better be very careful what you subsidize, for you’ll certainly get more of it … and it may not be exactly what you had in mind.
One of the dirty little secrets of racial preferences, now beginning to leak out, is not only that most of the beneficiaries are middle class or actually rich — that has been known if not advertised for a good while — but that most are not even American, or if they are American they are of very recent origin. 8 percent of the undergraduates at Harvard are black (still “underrepresented,” says Guinier), but “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.” Moreover,
Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania who have been studying the achievement of minority students at 28 selective colleges and universities (including theirs, as well as Yale, Columbia, Duke and the University of California at Berkeley), found that 41 percent of the black students identified themselves as immigrants, as children of immigrants or as mixed race. [Editorial Aside: Has the NYT lost its copy editors? The comma after “… Berkeley)” should not be there. If the Times were not as foolishly opposed to the serial comma as it is to President Bush, it should be after “Duke.”]
For many preferentialists, subsidizing dark foreigners is not at all what they had in mind….
Mary C. Waters, the chairman of the sociology department at Harvard, who has studied West Indian immigrants, says they are initially more successful than many African-Americans for a number of reasons. Since they come from majority-black countries, they are less psychologically handicapped by the stigma of race. In addition, many arrive with higher levels of education and professional experience. And at first, they encounter less discrimination.
So, there we have it. American blacks are so “psychologically handicapped” by the presumably internalized stigma of being black that they must be benevolently handed the crutch of racial preferences. I would like to think that if I had friends like this I would begin to rethink my friendship patterns.
“You need a philosophical discussion about what are the aims of affirmative action,’’ Professor Waters continued. I would be tempted to ask where she has been, but then she’s been at Harvard. Has Harvard really not had such a discussion, or has she simply been unaware of it? In any event, here’s her dramatic philosophical contribution:
If it’s about getting black faces at Harvard, then you’re doing fine. If it’s about making up for 200 to 500 years of slavery in this country and its aftermath, then you’re not doing well. And if it’s about having diversity that includes African-Americans from the South or from inner-city high schools, then you’re not doing well, either.
Well of course. If you give preferences to “black faces,” what you get is “black faces.” Why should anyone be surprised? I would say that’s Harvard for you, but that same surprising surprise seems to be prevalent across preferentialdom.
The nation’s most elite colleges and universities are bolstering their black student populations by enrolling large numbers of immigrants from Africa, the West Indies and Latin America, according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Education.
Immigrants, who make up 13 percent of the nation’s college-age black population, account for more than a quarter of black students at Ivy League and other selective universities, according to the study, produced by Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania.
…. The more elite the school, the more black immigrants are enrolled.
Black American scholars such as Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier, two Harvard University professors, have said that white educators are skirting long-held missions to resolve historic wrongs against native black Americans by enrolling immigrants who look like them.
“Wait a minute,” I then continued.
Now I’m confused. Have Gates and Guinier finally rejected the “look like” test for preferential treatment? Have they, finally realizing that those “historic wrongs” consisted precisely of distributing burdens and benefits based on color, renounced racial preference and embraced the old civil rights standard of colorblind equal treatment?
If they reject color — the “look like” test — as a basis for preferential treatment, what test do they propose? If color is no longer an acceptable proxy for having suffered “historic wrongs” that preferential admissions are somehow supposed to redress, what is? Should actual harm have to be proven, and if so, how much, how recent? Should Southern blacks receive preferences over Northern blacks on the theory that they’ve suffered more discrimination?
It seems to me that it’s very difficult to defend a regime of racial preference while rejecting color as the basis of determining whom to prefer.
The widespread discomfort, sometimes hostility, expressed by the supporters of affirmative action for home-grown blacks to the large numbers of immigrant blacks who benefit from it confirms, I think, that they really don’t base their pro-preference views on a noble belief in “diversity,” no matter how often they mouth the word.
It could be argued, I suppose, that the advantage immigrant blacks have over both native blacks and native whites reflects the fact that college admissions officers really do believe the “diversity” mantra they all now repeat. But that argument would be persuasive only if, say, Asian immigrants were also given such favorable treatment, and, as numerous studies have shown, they aren’t. In fact, they are disproportionately victimized by the preferences given to other minorities.