Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Identifying the Racial ‘Unknowns’": They're white!

Inside Higher Education "Identifying the Racial ‘Unknowns’" begins:

"Over the past decade and a half, the number and proportion of college students opting not to reveal their race when asked have shot up, to 5.9 percent of all students in 2001 from 3.2 percent a decade earlier. The increases have raised two major questions: Who are these students, and why are they declining to identify themselves? The answers have implications for college officials and policy makers on a wide range of issues, including affirmative action and student life."


They discover that the students are white. I'm not sure why they are surprised.

"The report calls for better and more accurate data collection about the racial makeup of students, both to “eliminate our reliance on assumptions about unknown students and establish a way of collecting more accurate official enrollment data on all students. With this more accurate data, we will have not only a better sense of the true racial/ethnic composition of our colleges and universities, but also a better gauge of the access various students have to, and the success they have through, higher education.”(more)


Was their assumption that it was students of color (Asian-, African-, Latino, etc.) who were the bulk of the 'unknowns'? (I think people of color will make up some portion of those 'unknowns' but there is still the persistent and wilfull misreading of affirmative action (in relation to black people and Latino's if not Asian Americans) as giving preference to Blacks. So, it seems to me that it would be white students who would disassociate themselves from the "taint" of whiteness in the application process but not associate themselves with the "taint" of "coloredness" which would impact their lived world should they identify themselves as black, Asian, Latino, etc.

It would be interesting to look at all of the categories to see who identified as "what." But i'd really like to see how many people (across race, ethnicity, nationality) identified themselves as white.

Has anyone done a study like that?

6 Comments:

At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Kenneth Rufo said...

For reasons of etymology, whenever I'm asked to self identify my race (last name is Rufo, so not a particularly hard thing to at least guess at), I check white if available, and refuse to check any if white is listed as "Caucasian." Maybe a petty form of defiance, but it seems absurd for the white category to be the only one with the proper name, and given the history of that name (coming from the supposed beauty of those fair skinned folks near the Caucus mountains), I hardly feel it's one with which I can self-identify.

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger hysterical blackness said...

People need to stop using the word Caucasian. Do you check other and write in "white" NOT caucasian?

 
At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what's hysterical. The attempts by black activists to identify Asians within their group as somehow in solidarity and against "White Privelege". I've never met an Asian who identified with Blacks in any way, though I'm sure this rarity does exist. In any case, good luck with your POC nonsense.

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger hysterical blackness said...

And your limited experience with "Asians" ("I've never met an Asian who identified with Blacks in any way") should override work by Asian Americans in conjunction with other self-identified people of color?

 
At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Working in terms of your perceived interests and identifying with Black folks "struggles" are two different things. For that matter, there are many "anti-racist" White folks from the suburbs who pad their income by preaching this nonsense. I was speaking of the Asians I've known, which are many, and who identify more with White people than any other race. As I said in my initial post there are exceptions and the exceptions are due to perceived interests not real life standards. I've nothing against other races to be honest, it's just that your anti-White coalition is fragile and pretty unwise. I expect homosexuals and Feminists to leave en masse anytime soon also (see Pim Fortuyn). In fact, I'd argue that the tremendous hate Blacks activists themseleves show for Whites is misdirected. Take slavery, most nations/peoples have practiced it. White folks ENDED it not just in their countries but tried to end it world-wide.

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger hysterical blackness said...

I'm not sure what you mean by the (let alone "my") "anti-white" coalition.

 

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