African American Culture and Heritage in Higher Education Research and Practice

By Kassie Freeman | Go to book overview

characteristics to seek others with the same attributes. African American students are often ridiculed for what has been empirically proven to be normal. They are persecuted for seeking the companionship of those who are most like them on campus. Some White students express fear when they see groups of African American students congregating on campus. They accuse African American students of self-segregating--a charge that African American students vehemently denounce. This accusatory position is contradictory. African American students who attend predominantly White campuses integrate by enrolling at the institution.

African American students are not segregating themselves by choosing to associate with other African American students. They choose to associate with people who make them feel the most comfortable. As Duster ( 1991) writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Black students are not different from any other ethnic group: "Just as the Jewish students have found Hillel and a common ethnic/cultural identity [to be] the basis for self-affirmation, so too do today's ethnic and racial 'minorities' often need to draw upon the social, cultural, and moral resources of their respective communities" (p. B2). Furthermore, he states that White, Jewish, and Catholic students segregated themselves earlier in this century. When White students choose to have relations with one another every day, they are not accused of segregating. As members of the dominant race, White privilege protects White students from such accusations.

Blacks and Whites obviously view the issue of self-segregation from culturally influenced perspectives. But it is imperative that both groups learn how to compromise. As Kochman ( 1981) asserts, "A culturally pluralistic society must find ways to incorporate these differences into the system, so that they can also influence the formation of social policy, social intervention, and the social interpretation of behavior and events" (p. 62).


REFERENCES

Allen W. R. ( 1992). The color of success: African American college student outcomes at predominantly White and historically Black public colleges and universities. Harvard Educational Review, 62( 1), 26-44.

Allen W. R., & Haniff N. Z. ( 1991). "Race, gender, and academic performance in U.S. higher education". In W. R. Allen, E. G. Epps, & N. Z. Haniff (Eds.), "College in Black and White: African American students in predominantly White and in historically Black public universities" (pp. 95-109). Albany: State University of New York Press.

Barnett M. C. ( 1995). We are family: Social supports and family interaction among Black college students. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.

Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S.483, 74 S.Ct. 686, 98 1.Ed. 873 ( 1954).

Campbell H. C. ( 1990). Black's law dictionary: Definitions of the terms and phrases of American and English jurisprudence, ancient and modern. St. Paul, MN: West.

Carmichael S., & Hamilton C. V. ( 1967). Black power: The politics of liberation in America. New York: Vintage Books.

Duster T. ( 1991, September 25). Understanding self-segregation on the campus. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 38( 5), B1-B2.

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