One of the principal reasons that I chose to teach in CUNY (City University of NY) was to increase the numbers of African Americans winning college degrees. The university actually opened its doors the year I began teaching philosophy at Brooklyn College — 1970.

But one of the obvious problems was that noted below in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. A gender gap was obvious among my students. I tried to figure what the problem was. My male students had reasons to be angry — they were frequently stopped and searched by police when returning home from evening classes. Jobs were harder to get for them than for women. Some found it necessary to drop out to help support their families. Feelings to facts — it was nevertheless hard to figure the growing gap which could make such a difference in lives lived.

How to fix this problem lies with early education and strong support for boys. Many need male figures to guide their lives. Too many are arrested and jailed — not infrequently wrongly. I recall a guy (claiming he had a gun in his pocket) demanding my money on a subway trip home from Brooklyn. I got the police there in a hurry and they asked whether I wanted to cruise the streets looking for the guy (who had gotten only a $20.00 bill). I told them it would be pointless as I could not distinguish him from others. With the trauma of being held up I had not seen a face not distorted (his) or what he was wearing. I suspect many a false identification occurs with grave injustices resulting.

I am glad that we have many African Americans getting first rate educations now, but we still have a way to go to overcome endemic racism in this country.


(from) The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

The Outlook for the Future: Black Women’s Lead Is Likely to Widen

“Today black women hold a large lead over black men in enrollments in almost all undergraduate and graduate programs. And this gender gap has grown over the past 30 years. Most important, black women have a college graduation rate that is significantly higher than the rate for black men. This current and growing enrollment gender gap among African Americans, coupled with a far higher college graduation rate for black women compared to black men, means that in future years, the gender gap in African-American degree attainments is certain to grow even wider. The most serious news is that if present trends continue, a generation from now black women with a four-year college degree will outnumber black men with a bachelor’s degree by a ratio of 2 to 1.”

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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