All posts by Noliwe M. Rooks

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This Is What Racial Inequality Looks Like

Recently two black male high-school students made news when they each earned impressive numbers of acceptances to Ivy League Universities. Kwasi Enin is a first-generation American from Long Island, whose parents, who are nurses, emigrated from Ghana. He was accepted into all eight Ivy League colleges: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Penn.

The other student, Avery Coffey, from Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, grew up in the impoverished 8th Ward of Washi…

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For Black Students, College Degrees Are Separate and Unequal

Amid the loudly conflicting and competing claims of victory last month when the U.S. Supreme Court punted its affirmative-action decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin back to the lower courts, I heard at least three main positions: applause because affirmative action remains unchanged for now; calls to replace race-based affirmative action with a class-based version; and, finally, a soothing message about how black students are already succeeding in higher education, followed by a …

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When Too Few Minorities Are Too Many

As a nation, we have no shortage of opinions about race-based affirmative action. This spring The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by a high-school student wondering if she had been rejected by the Ivy League because “I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker.” More than 1,200 readers commented. By the end of the week, she had been invited to appear on the Today show.

As I write, we await the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which could l…