Cornell Black Students Group Protests The Admission of African and Caribbean Students

Cornell_University_seal.svgCornell University’s Black Students United presented the University president with a list of  demands with one particularly surprising addition: a call to reduce the admission of African and Caribbean students in favor of African Americans.  The demand would define true African American students as those who are at least second generation Americans.

Black Students United declared:

“We demand that Cornell Admissions to come up with a plan to actively increase the presence of underrepresented Black students on this campus. We define underrepresented Black students as Black Americans who have several generations (more than two) in this country.”

Black Students United does not want to block admitting these students but want the university to refocus its efforts on those applicants who come from black families that have lived in America for two or more generations;

“The Black student population at Cornell disproportionately represents international or first-generation African or Caribbean students. While these students have a right to flourish at Cornell, there is a lack of investment in Black students whose families were affected directly by the African Holocaust in America. Cornell must work to actively support students whose families have been impacted for generations by white supremacy and American fascism.”

The demand magnifies the still simmering debate over the use of race in college admissions, as we have previously discussed.  Many have argued that race alone is not just a constitutionally problematic criteria but less valuable rather economic background in bringing diversity to a class.

While many defend race-conscious admissions in terms of the need for affirmative action to correct historic discrimination, the Supreme Court barred such affirmative action in 1978 in Bakke. Justice Lewis Powell allowed for only a limited use of race for the purpose of achieving “diversity” in classes. Notably, in Bakke, the Medical School at the University of California at Davis had a more modest program over all by setting aside 16 of the 100 seats for “Blacks,” “Chicanos,” “Asians,” and “American Indians.” Those slots were justified as a matter of diversity, but found unconstitutional by the Court. However, the Court was deeply fractured. Five justices Powell and the plurality found that Bakke had to be admitted and that the weight given race was unconstitutional.

The exception however soon swallowed the rule as schools fought to maintain levels of minority students as a diversity rather than an affirmative action program. Many academics privately admit that the real purpose of these programs remains the original affirmative action rationale to ensure greater numbers of minorities in higher education.

The fact that the case continues to be referred to as the “affirmative action case” shows how little has changed since Bakke when the Court supposedly closed the door on affirmative action in admissions. By allowing race to still be used for diversity, educators sought to achieve the same numerical goals as a matter of diversity and achieving a racial “critical mass.”

One argument that the students could make is that the selection of African students over African Americans does not sufficiently diversify the class. However, each of those students also bring diversifying elements to a class.  The question is again whether diversity is a matter or race or background. If it is background, the race factor itself could be challenged in favor economic and social criteria.


56 thoughts on “Cornell Black Students Group Protests The Admission of African and Caribbean Students

  1. just to keep things up to date the new PEW projections on the question of muslims etc. for your appropos of whatever general information

    | URL:

    Recent political debates over Muslim immigration and related issues have prompted many people to ask how many Muslims actually live in the United States. But coming up with an answer is not easy, in part because the U.S. Census Bureau does not ask questions about religion, meaning there is no official government count of the U.S. Muslim population.

    pew muslim graph

    Still, based on our own survey and demographic research, as well as outside sources, Pew Research Center estimates that there were about 3.45 million Muslims of all ages living in the U.S. in 2017, and that Muslims made up about 1.1% of the total U.S. population.

    Muslims in the U.S. are not as numerous as the number of Americans who identify as Jewish by religion, according to our estimate. At the same time, our projections suggest that the U.S. Muslim population will grow much faster than the country’s Jewish population. By 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the nation’s second-largest religious group after Christians. And by 2050, the U.S. Muslim population is projected to reach 8.1 million, or 2.1% of the nation’s total population — nearly twice the share of today.


    pew muslim graph

  2. Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    This post highlights the oppression practiced by many of those so quick to play the race, diversity, victim card. Some of the comments on the original post deserve a look.

  3. When you read the “List of Demands” letter, it becomes clear how threatening the African and Caribbean students are to the “we’re an oppressed people” (because of skin color) adherents. The African and Caribbean students presence on campus, with their resilient, gung-ho attitudes and lack of any persecutorial complex, undermines the victimology at the core of the BSU orthodoxy.

  4. Heaven forbid you judge anyone on the content of their character or their actions. Or if you gain admissions or a job on merit.

    That would be so…responsible and fair.

    • Since Progressives and Liberals judge everyone on a victimhood scale, where does someone who is a 2nd generation African American, born in the land of opportunity, with billions of dollars spent on programs designed to help, compare with someone born in the middle of the Hutu genocide against Tutsi’s in Rwanda? Or what about someone born into drought or poverty? My friend posted photos of her volunteer work in Zambia. I suggest those who feel they are more oppressed in America to take a good, long look at what it’s like to grow up in Zambia. The photos of the open air market would make our poor residents look pampered.

      There is no knowledge or appreciation of the opportunities so many take for granted here in the US, or what oppression really looks like.

      I would say that the most terrorized and oppressed people on Earth would be an albino person, from infant to adult, who lives in any African nation. They believe that the parts of albinos bring luck and magic. But according to these ignorant petitioners, an albino from Africa would be barred from being included.

      These are the wages of identity politics. Can you imagine the dystopia if these people go on to run the all powerful Big Government that Progressives seek? What kind of government fiat would they hand down?

      • I suspect, Karen, one of the reasons for the lack of outrage at living conditions in foreign countries and the abundance of outrage at those who would be considered victims in the USA by many on the left is because there is no political advantage in advocating for Africans or Middle-easterners. Those in Africa that you mention do not get liberals elected, so Democrats mostly spend their time and money on US based “victims”. In actuality they really care mostly about themselves and maintaining power more than they actually benefit those they claim to help. It is easier however to throw money at causes since it does not come out of their own pockets and to take credit rather than to spend time actually working hard to alleviate some of the inequity here and elsewhere.

  5. Their “Affirmative Action Privilege” is being threatened. Whatever will they be without bias, favor, generational welfare and “Affirmative Action Privilege.” Imagine this group having to succeed based solely on merit.

  6. Here is a good article on the underlying tensions between African Blacks and American colored folks:

    The rift between African-Americans and recent African immigrants to the United States.
    By Jacob Conteh, November 16, 2013

    As an immigrant to the United States from Sierra Leone, I perceive a huge chasm between African-Americans and African immigrants in the United States. That chasm has widened over the years. It has caused deep animosity between many African-Americans and their African immigrant cousins.

    The chasm has prevented African-Americans from participating in the current economic boom in Africa and it has shut many African immigrants out of opportunities for economic advancement here in the United States.

    The problem stems from deep misconceptions, sometimes fueled by the U.S. media. Astonishingly, many African-Americans believe that Africans are backward and primitive. Some make crude jokes about Africans or do not acknowledge the great contribution Africa has made to the world.

    For their part, many African immigrants buy into the erroneous notion that African-Americans are lazy and violent.

    They do not appreciate the great sacrifice African-Americans made, through advocating for their civil rights, to lay the foundation for Africans to be able to come to the United States and live in a country where both blacks and whites have equal rights, at least in theory if not always in practice.
    The different experiences of the two groups

    To understand the deep division that exists between African Americans and Africans, one first has to examine the background of the two groups.

    Before migrating to the United States, most Africans have typically dealt with white Americans who went to Africa as Peace Corps volunteers, missionaries, doctors or teachers. These Americans acted as mentors and guardians to the Africans and developed positive relationships with them.

    When they come to the United States, it has been my experience that Africans can easily identify with white Americans because they understand each other. Before migrating to the United States, the majority of Africans have had little to no direct negative experiences with whites. They simply do not hate them.

    On the other hand, most African-Americans grew up in black neighborhoods where they learned from older generations the history of slavery and the cruelty it inflicted on the black race. Furthermore, they have usually experienced firsthand and in their communities the legacies of racism that still exist in the United States.

    With this background, many African-AmericWith this background, many African-Americans are not generally predisposed to trust white Americans, and they look down on those African immigrants who express respect or admiration for white Americans.

    A fundamental difference between African Americans and African immigrants is the way they react to racism and discrimination.

    African Americans usually see racism as the main cause of poverty among their people. They are also quick to point out instances of perceived racism, even in circumstances where it is ambiguous, unclear or more complex than simple racial bigotry or discrimination.

    A classic example is the currently large African-American population in prison. Most African-Americans feel that the only reason there are so many African Americans incarcerated is their race. They blame police discrimination and lawmakers who make laws weighted to punish blacks.

    For Africans, after suffering many years in civil wars, military coups and other problems, they are happy to be in a country that offers them freedom. They are ready to integrate into the American culture without getting involved in the lingering racial conflicts. They do not typically get involved in the ongoing civil rights struggle – and that has angered many African-Americans.

    Perhaps the greatest difference I have seen between African immigrants and African-Americans is how they react to adversity.

    Most African immigrants to the United States came here for economic advancement. They do not have any political agenda. They are willing to take any job and do not blame the “system” when they fail in their endeavors.

    Most African immigrants to the United States often live in mixed neighborhoods instead of black neighborhoods and they easily integrate. African immigrants know who they are. They are not easily offended when someone tries to put them down. They know where they come from and why they are here.

    For African-Americans, there is often a tendency to blame slavery for most of the problems they face today. For instance, when African American students fail in school, some educators blame slavery and do not look for other factors.

    However, the time has come for African Americans to realize that while racism still persists, the best thing they can do for their children is to teach them to take full responsibility for their actions. Fathers need to take care of their children and young women need to stay in school instead of having children.

    It is only when black people, be they from Africa or America, unite to instill discipline and respect for each other that the chasm that has divided us will narrow. Then we can finally work together to remove poverty from our people both here in the United States and Africa.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  7. The complaint doesn’t seem to be that Cornell isn’t admitting enough Black students, they are just the wrong Blacks. So strip Black out of the equation and what remains on admission criteria? What are African Blacks bringing to Cornell that makes their admission more favorable to the American Blacks?

    • African Blacks are bringing ‘big bucks’, political connections, networking potential, endowments, lots and lots of brownie points of some sort or another, etc. It’s sort of a perverse version of the programs that made it possible for American Blacks and other minorities to gain entrance with less than the highest scores. In short, it’s life.

  8. This isn’t about diversity; it’s about foreign students who pay cash. The university is looking at the bottom line and claiming “diversity” when it suits that.

    I’m 100% for the black American students viewpoint but they have to excel as they did back in the 1950s when they faced adversity, not diversity.

  9. Those concerned should be demanding more African American students in the teaching and social work programs; in order to tackle the problem at the root(s). Can I say that? It’s the same with the taking a knee routine. Spend a little of the multi million dollar salaries to make the point. Add some fixes to the situation without targeting others.

  10. Why not admit people by including a diversity of talent, with skin shade or country of birth being totally irrelevant. In addition to reading, writing, and math skills, exceptional talents could include artistic talent, athletic talent, musical talent, the talent of kindness and generosity, stamina, etc. It could disfavor psychopathic tendencies, proclivity to violence, affinity for alcohol, gambling, inherited wealth dependence,etc.

  11. Around here, such admissions are based on so-called diversity. So there is an attempt to have some Amerindian students; usually doesn’t lead to graduation, irrespective of major.

    More successful are the students from the Pacific Islands such as American Samoa. There are a few international students; usually those do well.

    The main missing minority are the Hispanics. There are many in Washington state but few here at WSU. Also not so many African Americans.

  12. Since they base this on their allegation of an “African Holocaust in America”, then we must look at that allegation. What is a “holocaust”?
    There is a song out from the 60’s or 70’s with some of the following lyrics:

    We don’t need no edu ca tion!
    We don’t need no thought control!
    All in all, its just …
    Another blip in the road!

    • Liberty2nd – I thought Jews had copyrighted the word Holocaust. 🙂 What the hell are they teaching in those black studies classes? What Black Holocaust?

        • Squeeky – last I heard the UN Peace Keepers going into Chicago will only protect the center of Chicago. Everybody else is at risk. They are still in negotiations so who knows.

  13. In my experience, those from southern India and Sri Lanka are as deeply colored as all but the deepest skin toned of the Africans.

  14. The suggestion that Cornell should apply its affirmative actions policies by defining Black students as “Black Americans who have several generations (more than two) in this country” is ludicrous.

    Clearly, scientific methods should be deployed in making admissions decisions. And the only scientific and fair means of selection would be to make use of a spectrometer to measure the degree of blackness of each candidate’s skin color. Thus, only those candidates meeting Cornell’s rigorous and stringent black color threshold would be suitable for admission.

    Although the use of such spectrometer analysis could lead to some candidates artificially darkening their skin color to comport with such mandatory color testing requirements, I believe that periodically performing skin biopsies to test for coloring agents could help to keep candidates honest.

    I truly believe that these procedures will greatly strengthen our educational system and make for a better America.

  15. They aren’t arguing against the admission of African and Caribbean students, they seem to be feeling that counting them as contributing toward “diversity” is a rationale for including fewer American black students in their admissions. I don’t know what Cornell’s admission standards are or how solid the claim is.
    I have more familiarity with standards and minimums for minority and women-owned business (MWBE) contracts from state and local governments. To qualify as an MWBE the entity had to be 51% minority/women-owned and as time went by, the majority of awardees were white women. Many of the entities were formed for the sole purpose of bidding on the contracts. There were some fraudulent entities formed, many of those the ones claimed to be women-owned where the real owners were their husbands. Despite lofty goals, the purpose was at least partially defeated.

    • Hogwash! The Resident Negros don’t like Africans and Jamaicans because the un-spoiled blacks work circles around the American Negros. Plus, when the foreign blacks succeed, it makes the native blacks look like a bunch of liars and shirkers. Which, they are.

      I personally witnessed this when I was stuck in rehab when I hurt my back in a bar accident. The Nigerian CNA and the one from somewhere else in Africa, I forget where, worked circles around most of the lazy shiftless American blacks.

      Now, the actual black guys who did the rehab work, were decent normal people and very caring and good at their job. But, they were better educated and motivated, and not your typical bad attitude lower income black.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      • You appear to be letting your preconceived notions influence every story you read. I say they aren’t arguing against foreign admissions because the article specifically states that.
        You state that “native blacks look like a bunch of liars and shirkers. Which they are.” is all about your prejudices and cannot be found anywhere in the text.
        You may have run across some lazy black people, they exist in every race. I work with some of the sorriest white people imaginable but don’t attribute that to the entire race.

        • Sure I have preconceptions, but I also have current perceptions. And my perception is, if we could ship American blacks back to Africa, and exchange them for African blacks, our country would be tremendously better off.

          The real problem is, that Africans who come here appreciate the country, and the opportunities it offers, whereas the resident blacks have a massive chip on their shoulder. Attitude plays a big part in how successful people are, and frankly, most blacks have crappy attitudes. Not all by any stretch, but a real good huge chunk.

          I once met a lawyer from Nigeria, who had been here for a few years and was very fluent using the n-word around us white folks. She couldn’t stand most of the local blacks, particularly the criminal class, which is about 25%+ of American blacks. I once broke out laughing when she said, “In our country, we cut their heads off when they do that.” I forget the particular crime. But she was serious,

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

    • enigma – it sounds like the students want a hard and fast rule as to how many American blacks will be accepted each year at Cornell. That sounds unconstitutional. How Cornell counts its diversity should be up to it, not the student body.

      As for the minority-owned program, it was a disaster in the making. Anyone with a brain could see the holes in the program. I think my wife was asked to front for one of these, it was a long time ago.

      • There isn’t enough information here to know. Imagine that Cornell lists its “black” students as 12% of the population yet the American black population is only 6%. If they have a goal for minority admissions, it often also serves as a cap where each foreign black accepted reduces the slots available for American blacks by one.

        • enigma – we all are not entitled to entrance to the college of our choice. So they don’t get into Cornell, they get into someplace else. You always apply to at least 3 colleges for a fall back position and some students apply to up to 20, and get accepted at all of them, or some of them. It is not the end of the world. Whoever didn’t get that slot did not commit suicide (usually), they just went to another school. You know if you have the grades and the SAT scores, etc. much of it rests on the personal essay. There are people whose profession it is to teach students how to write that essay for the university of their choice and they get paid well. 😉 There are classes on how to up you SAT scores. Everyone is trying to game the system. I am sure these students took advantage of that and now they are feeling cheated? It is nice of them to stand up for the supposed oppressed, but it is the middle of the school year. Are they expecting a lot of black American students to drop out? This is the first wave.

          • No people are not “entitled” to get into the school of their choice. Unless of course, they are legacies or have wealthy parents giving endowments. The downside of minimums based on race is that they mostly serve as maximums as well. I heard yesterday that within a short time, Hispanics will make up 25% of the population. If we have a school that requires a 10% minimum/maximum requirement for Hispanic enrollment. The reality is a permanent underrepresentation of Hispanic students. If within that 10%, 3% come from Spain, 2% from Brazil, 1% from Central America and 1% from Mexico, the 25% of American Hispanics are now limited to 3% of the available slots. I think this is generally what they are saying.
            Also, I moonlighted for a time with the Princeton Review, teaching students to do better on standardized tests. I was a National Merit Semifinalist myself when I was in high school but never understood until teaching that stuff how much bias those things contain. The vocabulary used is often more friendly to a socialite than a struggler. I don’t think they were expecting a change during the middle of the school year. That, of course, would be crazy. 🙂

            • enigma – growing up in the West, we took the ACT if we were going to a Western school and SAT if we were looking at an Eastern school. My funds were limited so I just took the ACT and spent one night studying for it. 🙂 Of course, I then forgot that I had to apply for schools. So the end of the school year came and I had not applied for a school, so I choose only one and took a shot. I got in. 🙂 I accidentally applied to the same school my gf was going to, but I did not know that.
              Congrats on being a semi-finalist. That is a great achievement. And you are right, the tests are somewhat skewed in the language areas. It is hard for a “banger from the hood” to score much better than putting down their name. However, they could do well on the math section.

                • enigma – the point I was trying to make was that there are students with weak English skills but strong math skills. I have seen it, I have taught them.

                  BTW, as a lover of The Wire and listener to the commenting, they claimed they came as close to reality as they could without being sued. Considering they hired one or more gang members to help in the cast, I think they were right. 🙂

        • Like a track race, until black U.S. students take education as seriously as Asian students do, they will be well back in the pack. Just like track.

          Even as a little brown boy, I had the good fortune to attend school early with Asian students who got me to work harder.

  16. What these students don’t realize is the diversity the African students bring to their college experience. When I went to college there were students of all colors from all over the world so we would have the best education.

    • PCS, that is the obvious flaw in the argument. This group wants diversity, but only diversity on their terms. Unintended consequences of one’s poorly thought out ideology are a b*tch sometimes.

    • Not necessarily. Who are the children of the global rich who can send their sons and daughters to universities in the United States?

      Certainly not representative of the people of those countries.

      • So valuable lessons can only be learned from the poor people of foreign countries, RobietheCat? How likely are those individuals to be able to handle classes in US colleges/universities?

        • Given the level of academia standards these days they would probably do just fine. I would suggest that sentiment is more appropriate to your suggested and expected response to the social promotion in the USA. If the latest examples of the Professors are any indication .

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