Blogs > Liberty and Power > Hunter is Hunting Black Males

Jun 25, 2006 6:39 pm

Hunter is Hunting Black Males

From NY Amsterdam News (on declining graduation rate of black males, rising rate of black females).

"One professor from CUNY’s Hunter College tells AmNews that he can attest to the diminishing Black male presence, specifically in his school, and begs to have at least one Black male in his classes each semester.

“In my classes alone, if I have a Black male - one a whole year, I’m happy - I am serious,” declares Henry L. Evans, who teaches Diversity Theory and Philosophy of Education at Hunter College.


One black male a year and "I'm happy." Whoo. Throw a party. I suppose teaching "diversity theory" is not possible if the human objects in the room don't match the rainbow plot in the professor's mind?

Ironically, the article goes on to praise all-black schools for benefiting black males. But, wouldn't the racial homogeneity hurt "diversity?" Are they happy if they get one white male each year in a "Diversity Theory" class at Morehead? Do they even have such ridiculous courses at HBCs? Perhaps that is the key to their success.

Multiculturally yours,

Jonathan Bean

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Jonathan J. Bean - 6/28/2006

Dear Ralph,

Your comment was apt and I didn't mean to write off black males -- indeed, there IS a crisis and I emphathize. The NUL has listed the black male shortage in college (2:1 gap between women and men) as one of black America's top problems.

I am not one of those who thinks we can gloss over this terrible educational gap between young black students and others. I have long criticized racial preferences, for example, not simply because of moral or constitutional reasons, but because they take our focus off the K-12 disaster. (I know because many of my former History-Ed students have gone off to teach in the "war zones" of Chicago school district). With reservations, I'm an advocate of school choice and radical educational reform.

I also see a place for HBCs--note that I termed them a success. On this point, I think Clarence Thomas may be right: You can get a good education in an all-black HBC. That is why Thomas criticized the Brown decision -- because of this condescending attitude that black success in education necessarily requires interaction with whites in all cases. Thomas believed the Court should have struck down the principle underlying segregation, declare our constitution color blind, and leave neighborhood schools alone. If they are mixed, fine. If they are predominantly black, that's OK too. Zora Neale Hurston had the same reaction to Brown when it was announced, and she was no apologist for Jim Crow.

My point, which was a bit flippant, is that we have Afrocentric professors teaching diversity theory when we ought to be doing the basics. (I had a student, and now good friend, who came from a HBC in North Carolina, and he said that there was more openness, and less nonsense (e.g., "diversity theory") at his HBC than at SIU and UNC (where his wife attended).

Morehead was a slip -- my sister-in-law went there. Of course, Morehouse. Did you find that there were advantages to HBCs? Are they less prone to some of the fads that afflict the rest of higher education?

So, if I came off flip, it's because of the silliness that attracts attention, while a Bill Cosby, the Thernstroms (_Closing the Gap_), and others are demonized by the academic "deep thinkers" for trying to address the problem you and I care about.


Jonathan Bean
Visiting Scholar (Summer 2006)
Social Philosophy and Policy Center
Bowling Green, OH

Ralph E. Luker - 6/27/2006

I have a problem with this, Jonathan. Where you write "Morehead," I think that you mean to say "Morehouse." I taught there. It's student body is largely made up of men of color. I don't recall having a student who was not a man of color in my classes, but Morehouse men were sufficiently emancipated while I was there to elect a white man vice president of the student body. Your post bothers me because it seems to reflect a certain indifference to the fact that there's a kind of crisis among young men of color. There are more of them caught up in the legal system in this country than there are caught up in its educational system. That's not just a problem for them. It's a problem for all of us because they aren't just some other toward whom we can rightly be indifferent.