January 14, 2013, 1:58 pm
Over the past four years, it had become increasingly difficult to mount a public discussion about how racial bias continues to permeate our society, North and South, in boardrooms and newsrooms. Despite glaring signs of racial segregation in our schools, prisons, and pews, many commentators—including some scholars—idealistically clung to President Obama’s 2008 election as evidence of a new, postracial era.
John H. McWhorter, a linguist and fellow at the Manhattan Institute, was among the first to proclaim that Obama’s 2008 election proved that we had moved beyond race as a major impediment for black people. His optimism was widely embraced by the media.
In academe, however, some scholars continued to deconstruct the subtle manifestations of racial bias. Three decades after publication of his The Declining Significance of Race (1978), the Harvard sociologist William Julius …
November 16, 2012, 1:34 pm
“Go forth unafraid.” That was the bold and buoyant motto of the Manhattan high school my daughters graduated from in 2009 and 2012. The maxim captured the spirit that I had long lived by and that had helped me brave the turbulent seas of journalism and later academe. It also complemented advice that for years I had liberally doled out to my children and students: “Do what you love and the money will follow.”
But as I witness a steady stream of students facing graduation as they would the guillotine, I realize that those sayings, like typewriters, denote another time. For a generation burdened by crippling debt, a bleak job market, and an ever-expanding internship industry, “Go forth unafraid” is as useful as “Have a nice day.” Today’s vexing realities now render reckless my past advice to students simply to do what they loved, for a succession of unpaid internships, …
October 5, 2012, 2:54 pm
On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will once again consider the merits of affirmative action and the plight of purportedly victimized whites, ripping the scab from a deep and scarcely healed American wound.
The ever-contentious debate sparked anew by Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin is likely to overshadow recent figures showing the widening household-income gap between non-Hispanic whites and African-Americans and the stubbornly low black and Latino high-school graduation rates that persistently keep higher education out of the reach of millions. A new study from the Schott Foundation for Public Education found that just 52 percent of black and 58 percent of Latino males graduate from high school in four years, compared with 78 percent of non-Latino whites.
In 2011 the median household income of African-Americans was $32,229, compared with $55,412 for non-Hispanic whites….