Thoughts on Race, The Gender Gap, Higher Education, and Obama
(Source: Hero UK University Guide)
In 2007, nearly three quarters of all the Black students enrolled in graduate school (73%) were women. This face raises some issues and questions that are as interesting as they are disturbing.
Some Black kids may very well believe that good grades and an interest in education constitutes “acting white,” but this wrong-headed notion has failed to dissuade African Americans from pursuing post-secondary education. Black people make up only 12-13% of the population, and are currently enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities at a rate that is roughly proportional.
Such is not the case when it comes to gender. African American men and boys are graduating from high school, entering college, graduating from college, and completing graduate degrees at a numbers that fall well below their proportion of the larger U.S. Black population. I cannot say whether or not Black boys taunt those who get good grades with the accusation that they are “acting like girls,” but I fear that somehow the message is being communicated to Black boys and young men that education (especially graduating from high school and entering and completing college) somehow constitutes acting like man.
Black boys and young men are receicing the message that education is for girls and women; and the Black male college experience, during which he may well be outnumbered by women on his campus at a ration of 2-1, reinforces that idea.
I can’t imagine any of the startistics that I have cited for 2007 changing very much during 2008. They question is, however, whether or not Barack Obama’s high visibility as President of the U.S. will have any impact on African American educational attainment. Obama is, in a sense, the “biggest baller” on the planet, with the closest any Black man has ever come to infinite power; and a key stepping stone on the way to achieving to all that he has become was his education.
Might Obama model a new vision of Black manhood, one in which masculinity and power would not be a cross purposes with intellectual engagement and a passion for learning?
I’ll be waiting and watching.
Posted by Ajuan Mance
Posted in Uncategorized