Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Harmony and Discord

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Harmony and Discord

Article excerpt

In the struggle for access and opportunity, different racial and ethnic groups have often -- but not always -- joined forces in an attempt to exert influence over those who formulate national policy. Sometimes the association has been harmonious; sometimes it has been discordant. Sometimes it has been effective; other times it has been non-productive. Below are seven examples of Black/ Hispanic coalition efforts, some successful, some unsuccessful.

#1 Perhaps the most consistent and continuing example of effective cooperation between the two groups is exhibited by the National Association of African American Studies and the National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies. The associations annually hold joint meetings to discuss ways to promote the value and necessity of ethnic studies. In September, they circulated their first joint newsletter.

#2 From 1983 through 1993, Dr. Reginald Wilson and Sarah Melendez of the American Council on Education formed another productive example of Black/Brown teamwork. This dynamic duo shared responsibilities in ACE's Office for Minority Affairs and were instrumental in creating the council's annual report on minorities in higher education.

#3 When Proposition 209 was contested at the polls in California in 1996, the Black and Hispanic communities joined in a vigorous, albeit latent, attempt to defeat the voter initiative that ultimately ended the use of affirmative action by all state agencies, including colleges and universities.

#4 One year later, in Houston, Black and Hispanic unity was successful in preventing a similar initiative from prevailing at the polls in that Texas city. …

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