"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?