Contemporary Racism in Higher Education

Kimberly Ndombasi
ENG 131.01
Professor Lucas
7 May 2014
Contemporary Racism in Higher Education
Many students every year find themselves preparing for that big decision regarding life after high school. Most parents, teachers, and counselors have instilled in our minds the idea that higher education is the only way to acquire society’s definition of success. Narrowing institutes of one’s choice is perhaps relatively easy when compared to figuring out ways to pay for college. Once you’ve figured out the means to secure your spot at your chosen institute, remaining in school, staying focused and getting to know your professors slowly joins the list of challenges a college student faces. As more students compete for spots at selective colleges and universities a large amount of speculation in regards to discrimination or contemporary racism in the selection process of admissions to these institutions leads people to wonder if the benefits of higher education outweigh the cons that accompany it.
Discussions about this topic are becoming apart of habitual conversation locally and in the media. These conversations can possibly suggest a realization of an on-growing problem amongst races in society. I believe that the problem is the inequality caused by a difference in race. Institutes that consider race as a factor argue that the use of race in these processes is only to benefit the applicant. These institutions tend to use race in the criterion for admission to promote diversity: this practice can be classified as affirmative action. Affirmative action is beneficial to minorities and can be seen as reverse discrimination to the majority. Without affirmative action various accredited universities in states such as Florida State, California State, and Michigan State have experienced a vast decline in the admission and enrollment of minorities (Liptak). In the case of Alan Bakke vs. the University of California, Bakke felt that the system of affirmative action served as a reverse discrimination because he had been refused admission twice to the medical school. Bakke, a white male argued that his qualifications had exceeded the ones of minorities who had been granted admission. Ultimately, Bakke was granted admission and the Supreme Court ruled the university’s strict quota as unconstitutional but ruled the use of race as constitutional. So does race really matter?
Higher education is not free, nor is it inexpensive. Minorities tend to receive the greatest amount of aid because of their financial situations. People are often forced to attend institutions of higher education to satisfy the needs of their parents: “for most Americans, educating their offspring will be the largest financial outlay, after their mortgage, they’ll ever make” (Hacker and Dreifus, 179). If a white male regardless of his credentials was to apply to Morehouse College, a historically black college for men, he would receive admission to increase the diversity at the school. Why is it such a problem? People try to dispute that diversity is needed but disprove of the methods of attaining it. Robert Khayat, the work of the former chancellor of Ole Miss University, can be viewed as exceptional success in increasing diversity: “ In his 14 years there, he raised academic standards , tripled African American enrollment, and banned confederate flags from athletic events” (Hacker and Dreifus, 183). Despite countless efforts of the faculty to create a diverse and hospitable environment by providing excessive aid to minorities, these actions are still being criticized.
Racism is not limited to students; it can spread to faculty. At many universities or colleges, Caucasians hold the greatest amount of power in relation to sports. About eighty percent of head coaches are white while less than ten percent are black (Uthman). The University of Texas was criticized for their choice of Charlie Strong, an African American man as the head football coach. Strong clearly exhibits the credentials for the position due to his impressive efforts as the former head coach for the University of Louisville’s football team. Despite the attributes that Strong holds, a colleague and a huge contributor to the athletic department was not satisfied with the decision: “I think it is a kick in the face” (“Hiring of Black”). This statement can be interpreted as offensive due to the diction used in the statement; a kick implies that McCombs was hurt by the decision. Once the issue of race came into play McCombs expressed his apologies to Strong to avoid further scrutiny by the press. Institutes of higher education can be perceived as businesses, they will do whatever it takes to promote a positive image of their business, even if it means keeping personal views outside of the work place.
Dreifus and Hacker extol that life after college is not as pleasurable as it seems: “Graduating with six figures’ worth of debt is becoming increasingly common” (Dreifus and Hacker, 179). Race plays a huge role everywhere, even after a college degree has been obtained, the credibility will always remain questionable. Why does racism exist? Where does racism derive from? Racism is a behavior that was developed by our agents of socialization. These agents consist of our families, schools, and workplaces, etc. The role they play in our lives allows us to be exposed to limited amounts of ideas that have been passed down from one person to another. It is often debated that racism is not as prevalent as it once was. People are continuing to castigate the use of affirmative action in schools and places of occupation. If it was not for this idea, many minorities would not have been able to possess the opportunities that they now have. Yes, racism is illegal but it can only be eliminated at the discretion of the individual. Racism is something that you will always have to deal with in the business world after college especially if you are a minority.
Higher education is a privilege that a plethora of people are not given nor can afford to fulfill. In high school parents, teachers, and counselors give advice in reference to life after public schooling for most. In public school everyone has the right to attend and cannot be discriminated against. When one decides to pursue higher education it comes with a vast amount of stressors. Am I going to be accepted? How will I pay for school? People indicate that race does not play any role in the process of admission, but it can be looked at as a plus or a deciding factor if it will be more propitious to the demographics of the school. Scholarships are granted to those who meet the academic and residency requirements, but why are there scholarships for minorities? Racial inequality is a controversial topic that is very visible in society that will continue to unravel itself whether it is in the workplace, public establishments, or even schools.

Works Cited
Hacker, Andrew and Claudia Dreifus. “Are Colleges Worth the Price of Admissions?” “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russell Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 179-189. Print.
“Hiring of Black Football Coach Causes a Stir at the University of Texas.” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education RSS. N.p., 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.
Liptak, Adam. “Court Backs Michigan on Affirmative Action.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.
Uthman, Daniel. “College Sports Earns ‘B’ for Race and Gender Hiring.” USA Today. Gannett, 10 July 2013. Web. 29 Apr. 2014


Unit II- One Act Play : Fast Food in Kentucky

Character Guide                           

Michelle Obama: She is the first lady and the dean of student services at the University of Chicago. She is also the Vice President of community and external affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Susie Orbach: Chair of the Relational School in the United Kingdom, she has published many books on women’s health and emotional well-being. She has worked exclusively as an author and therapist on weight issues.

Charlie Rawlins: A young man living in Manchester, Kentucky. Charlie weighed two-hundred fifty-one pounds and had to undergo knee surgeries from his weight. He managed to drop his weight down to one-hundred eight-five pounds and works in a small physical therapy office in Clay County.

Carlin Robinson: She is the daughter of Scott Robinson and the younger sister of Britney Robinson. Although she is the youthful age of twelve and has a stellar academic record, she struggles with her physical body, weighing at least twenty pounds over the recommended nutritional guideline.

Scott Robinson: A coal miner raised in Manchester who is a single parent raising two daughters.


It is a fine Saturday afternoon in Manchester, Kentucky many people find themselves making their way to the local food court to encounter a plethora of motion by exuberant costumers. Scott Robinson and his daughter Carlin can be seen down, engulfing on their juicy grease filled Big Macs. Susie Orbach, Michelle Obama, and Charlie Rawlins are approaching them ready to join for lunch. They already notice how Scott and his daughter are devouring the unhealthy food.

Scott Robinson: “Are you enjoying your food Carlin?”

Carlin Robinson: “Yeah dad thanks for buying it, it’s delish.”

SR: “I invited some friends to join us for lunch, they should be on their way”

As they continue to eat their food, the guests arrive shortly after Carlin has finished her burger.

SR: “Michelle, Susie! Such as pleasure to have you guys here today. I would like you guys to meet my daughter Carlin… My apologies I didn’t seem to notice the young man behind you ladies. Nice to meet you my good man, I am Scott and you are?”

Charlie Rawlins: It is a pleasure to be here sir. My name is Charlie Rawlins and I am simply here to assist these ladies with the intervention.

C. Robinson: “Intervention? Dad, what exactly are they here for?”

C. Rawlins: I’ve been in your shoes before while living in Manchester. The inadequate amount of resources we have here promotes obesity and lack of exercise. “I realized that no one was going to listen to me (regarding how fast-food negatively can affect health). I started going in for the fruits, the asparagus, making my own salads. The kids around here, they’ll eat cornbread and taters for lunch. They’ll get a 20-piece chicken meal. It’s killing them” (410).

C. Robinson: “Sometimes, I think they give us too much food” (414).

C. Rawlins: “So when is the last time you all weighed yourselves?”

C. Robinson: “I don’t want to weigh myself” (414).

SR: “Lord, I couldn’t tell you, Two-seventy, two-ninety. I don’t remember the last time I weighed myself” (415).

C. Robinson: “Sometimes you get picked on for your size” (414).

Susie Orbach: Carlin, you are absolutely correct society has a large influence on one’s appearance. “The message is loud and clear— the woman’s body is not her own” (451).” Fat is a social disease” (449).

Michelle Obama: “But it’s important to be clear that this issue isn’t about how our kids look. It’s not about that. It’s about how our kids feel. It’s about their health and the health of our nation and the health of our economy” (420).

SO: “While this preoccupation with fat and food has become so common that we tend to take it for granted, being fat, and feeling fat and the compulsion to overheat are in fact, serious , and painful experiences for women involved”(448).

MO: “ It’s about making those little changes that can really add-up simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking instead of riding in a car or a bus, even something as simple as turning on the radio and dancing with your children in the middle of your living room for hours”(428).

SR: “I mean I don’t have any time to really exercise with the girls.” “There’s a basketball court out back of the house’ (409). I honestly feel ashamed “There are no full length mirrors in the front rooms of their home that might reveal an image of anyone” (415).

MO: You are just living by your means… “For many folks, those nutritious family meals are a thing of the past, because a lot of people today are living in communities without a single grocery store, so they have to take two, three buses, a taxi, walk for miles just to buy a head of lettuce for a salad or to get some fresh fruit for their kids” (423).

SR: Truthfully, our family has been struggling; I hardly get hours at my main job which forced me to get another job. I hate this job more than anything. “Just started this last December.” “Trying to make an extra dollar” (415).

C. Robinson: It is a matter of motivation, neither I nor my sister feel comfortable discussing our weight or overeating. No woman is every going to be completely satisfied with her size or shape. We always find ways to distinguish our imperfections.

SO: “A feminist perspective to the problem of women’s compulsive eating is essential if we are to move on from ineffective blame the victim approach… feminism insists that those personal experiences derive from the social context into which female babies are born and within which they become adult women”(449).

C. Rawlins: I have pretty much spent the entire conversation silent and analyzing each and everyone’s opinions. I hate to be critical but Scott you have to stop being an enabler. There are a plethora of inexpensive meals that can be made at home. I also believe that everyone needs to take responsibility for their actions. Let’s have a fresh start; I’m not saying immediate change will happen overnight but it takes time and patience.

MO: “So if anybody here, after all this talking that I’ve done, who feels a little overwhelmed by this challenge— because it can be overwhelming—if there is anyone here who might even be already losing hope thinking about how hard it will be to even get going , or giving up, I just want you to take a look at all the things that are already being accomplished, because I want folks to learn from each other and to be inspired by each other , because that’s what we’ve always done”(431).



Works Cited

Haygood, Will. “Kentucky Town of Manchester Illustrates National Obesity Crisis” “They Say/I Say”: The Moves Matter in Academic Writing: With Reading. 2nd ed. Ed. Gerald Graf, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russell Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 406-416. Print.

Obama, Michelle. “Remarks to the NAACP National Convention” “They Say/I Say”: The Moves Matter in Academic Writing: With Reading. 2nd ed. Ed. Gerald Graf, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russell Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 417-433. Print.

Orbach, Susie. “Fat Is a Feminist Issue” “They Say/I Say”: The Moves Matter in Academic Writing: With Reading. 2nd ed. Ed. Gerald Graf, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russell Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 448-453. Print.








*** This is a collaborative play created by Vince Njoku, Taylor Johnson, Jordan White, Brandi Thomas and me.


Kimberly Ndombasi
ENG 131.01
Professor Lucas
26 February 2014

Higher Education: An Annotated Bibliography


Many students every year find themselves preparing for that big decision in regards to life after high school. Most parents, teachers, and counselors have instilled in our minds the idea that higher education is the only way to acquire society’s definition of success. Narrowing down institutes of ones choice is perhaps relatively easy when compared to figuring out ways to pay for college. Once you’ve figured out the means to secure your spot at your chosen institute, remaining in school, staying focused and getting to know your professors slowly joins the list of challenges a college student faces.
I shall use two articles by professors who teach political science and international affairs. Another secondary source is a comic by an award winning cartoonist Matt Groening. Together, sources extol the inside obstacles people endure once their decision to pursue higher education is finalized.
“Are Colleges worth the Price of Admission?” displays the pros and cons of higher education. The cartoon by Groening gives insight to professors the image they exhibit to students.” Two Years are Better than Four” allows readers to see community colleges as a better fit for those who are trying to the costly expenses of a public university or college. The main idea of each of these sources connects the key points that accompany higher education financially and emotionally.
Annotated Bibliography

Addison, Liz. “Two Years Are Better Than Four.” “They Say/ I Say.” 2nd Ed. New York: W.W Norton &, 2012. 211-14. Print.

Liz Addison’s “Two Years are Better than Four” discusses life at a community college in response to Rick Perlstein’s “What’s The Matter with College?”. Addison believes that community colleges give students more adequate preparation as a viable option that can be seen as overlooked by Perlstein. The community college system is often seen as America’s public good because it is non excludable to everyone who meets the set requirements. Her article supports higher education but in a much more affordable and accessible way. Addison also argues that the experience one receives at a community college is often criticized by society in comparison to ones ideal definition of a “higher education”. Due to Addison’s role as a student her opinion can be understood better by the targeted audience of college students.
Liz Addison, a student at the Royal Veterinary College, majored in Biology at Southern Maine Community College (2008).

Dreifus, Claudia. “Are Colleges Worth The Price Of Admission?” They Say I Say. By Andrew Hacker. Second ed. New York: W.W Norton &, 2012. 179-89. Print.

In “Are Colleges Worth The Price of Admission” Dreifus and Hacker express the day-to-day thoughts that students and parents contemplate about the value of higher education. Their essay shows the issues that people experience whether it is with a public or a private college. Dreifus and Hacker make statements that indicate that many tenured professors’ have no further desire to further their own education or improve their methods of teaching. Students often question the purpose of spending this enormous amount of money on undergraduate and graduate schooling when they can’t receive the help they need from professors. In this essay it hints at an underlying message that higher education is simply a business and this can be supported because tuition continues to increase drastically every year. Dreifus and Hacker argue that college has lost its original purpose of teaching. This essay derives from their book Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting Our Money and Failing our Kids and What We Can Do About it.
Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus, authors of Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting Our Money and Failing our Kids and What We Can Do About it (2010), Hacker is an emeritus professor of political science at Queens College. Dreifus teaches international affairs at Colombia University.

Groening, Matt. “The 9 Types of College Teachers.” Plashing Vole., 25 Oct. 2012, Web. 12 Feb 2014

Matt Groening constructed a vivid image of professors across the United States in nine small blocks with minimal writing. His cartoon can be viewed as clever in the complexity of its purpose when discussing a professor or someone of a high stature. Students are subjected to place their professors on a pedestal that causes them to feel threatened and evoke the inability to ask questions when in need. Groening focuses on the new found method of teaching; which does not exist. Many professors allow graduate students or TA’s to conduct lectures, etc, which prevents students from getting to know their professor on a personal level. The purpose of this comic is to show how a students’ perception of their professors can ultimately influence their ability to learn and be the downfall of their GPA.
Matt Groening is a cartoonist, screenwriter, actor and creator of The Simpsons.