New Study Shows Colleges Don’t Want Activist Students

By Free Radical

Research has shown that colleges prefer apolitical Black students.

Research has shown that colleges prefer apolitical Black students.

Despite a wave of uprisings on college campuses in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, predominantly White colleges continue to discriminate against Black students. Ted Thornhill, a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University has shown that college admissions officers shy away and discourage conscious Black students from attending their schools.

In a study that has been published in the journal Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Thornhill reported how he contacted 517 White admissions officers with fictitious emails of ostensibly Black students. The students were given names usually associated with African-Americans such as Jamal and Lakisha.

Thornhill made four profiles of these fictitious Black students: an apolitical student who expressed an interest in English and math; another applicant who was an advocate of environmental issues; a student who was recognizably Black through a love of Black history and participation in a Gospel choir; and a student who was very racially conscious as reflected in a commitment to joining organizations that examined “white privilege, affirmative action, colorblind racism, racial microaggressions and institutional racism.”

His study found that admissions officers were more likely to contact the first two groups of students, those that were less tied to Black culture and activism, by a margin of 65 to 55 percent. The latter two profiles, but most often the activist student, were less likely to receive responses.

The study also revealed a gender component, showing that White male counselors were more likely to reject the activist applicants while Black male activist students were less likely to receive responses than Black females fitting this designation.

The study comes on the hills of actual Black students who lamented the country’s celebration of White gun control activists in the wake of Florida’s Parkland school shooting. They pointed out how the largely White movement was celebrated while Black protestors have long been vilified in national media.

It also provides a context to the various student rebellions that have occurred on college campuses after Ferguson. Though some students may be accepted to predominantly White schools, there still can be a hostile anti-Black climate.

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