Commentary: In a Changing America, Blacks Should Get Serious About School

Commentary: In a Changing America, Blacks Should Get Serious About School

A new study says Latinos now outnumber Blacks in America’s colleges. Here’s why that should be a wake up call for African-Americans.

Published August 26, 2011

We all know by now that whites will eventually be a minority in this country. Some estimates have it happening as quickly as 2050, but regardless of when the population shift comes about, it will be a significant development in a nation that has been under white control since its inception. Despite what you may think, Black Americans won’t be the ones taking over; it will be Latinos. Eighty-two percent of the new economic growth in America in the coming years will come from immigrants and their children.


The impact of Latino immigration is already being seen, and not just in terms of employment. Today brings the surprising news that there are now more Latinos in American colleges than African-Americans. According to a new Pew Research study, while Blacks outnumber Latinos at four-year institutions, when you include community colleges, the Latinos are outpacing them. Whites still make up about 7.7 million of the nation’s more than 12 million college students.


Researchers say that this growth is just the beginning for Latinos. As their relatively young population ages, more and more of them will attend college, meaning that Blacks will become even more of a minority in higher education. Far be it for me to pooh-pooh the educational pursuits of any American. But one would hope that this change in the educational landscape will serve as a wake-up call to a great many African-Americans.


As America matures and truly becomes the melting pot many have wanted it to be, Blacks are going to have to work harder than ever to bring their needs to the table, and to have their problems addressed.  We know quite well that nobody will hold the African-American community’s hand and guide them to safety—that’s been made quite clear to us. What we need to do is prepare to be successful and unavoidable in the halls of power, and one way to do that is via education.


Going to college and becoming knowledgeable about the world around you is a valuable tool for combating racism, oppression, and, of course, ignorance. You can indeed become knowledgeable outside of college, but college can help, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. The world is changing, and we need to change with it—for the better.

(Photo: Commercial Appeal/Landov)

Written by Cord Jefferson


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