Archive for September 12th, 2014

September 12, 2014

Are African immigrants taking up college spots intended for African-Americans?

by Grace

African immigrants are over-represented at elite colleges compared to non-immigrant African-Americans.  Colleges probably don’t care as long as they can use immigrants to show how diverse their student body is.

… A 2007 study covered by the Washington Post found that a quarter of black students admitted to elite colleges were African immigrants, though they only represented 13 percent of America’s college-age black population. The study’s authors several theories on why black immigrants do better, including “to white observers black immigrants seem more polite, less hostile, more solicitous and ‘easier to get along with.’ Native blacks are perceived in precisely the opposite fashion.”

Immigrants did not experience the “stigma” felt by African-American black children.

Lani Guinier, a Harvard professor, argued instead that schools were attempting to “resolve historic wrongs against native black Americans by enrolling immigrants who look like them” but had different experiences. “In part, it has to do with coming from a country … where blacks were in the majority and did not experience the stigma that black children did in the United States,” Guinier said. Either explanation creates a divide — as if Africans can only succeed at the expense of black Americans, or vice versa.

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Arit John, “Why the All-Ivy League Story Stirs Up Tensions Between African Immigrants and Black Americans”, The Wire, April 1, 2014.

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