Race to college: The ‘reverse gap’

Citation

Mangino, W. (2010). Race to college: The 'reverse gap'. Race and Social Problems. vol. 2 pp. 164-178

Abstract

This article uses the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to establish that once socioeconomic status is considered, black Americans go to college at higher rates than whites. The outcome replicates numerous other studies that use different datasets and varying methods. Combining statistics and literature, I propose that blacks’ superior educational investment is an “empirical generalization.” This leads to discussions of the black-white “gap” in education and the “attitude-achievement paradox.” The latter claims that black people have high educational aspirations but fail to act on those attitudes. But when considering the choice to invest in education, the “attitude-achievement paradox” evaporates. Black Americans have high educational aspirations and, when there are enough resources, act on those aspirations by going to college at higher rates than whites. The paper concludes with a theoretical explanation of why black people, more than whites, efficiently translate resources into educational investment. I use literature to show that in the United States, the bearers of light skin are afforded numerous informal opportunities that allow them to get higher returns out of a given level of human capital. Non-whites, on the other hand, have fewer informal opportunities, and they therefore deploy “supra-normal efforts” of skill acquisition as a strategy to overcome their informal disadvantage.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12552-010-9037-8

Keyword(s)

Education

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Race and Social Problems

Author(s)

Mangino, W.

Year Published

2010

Volume Number

2

Pages

164-178

ISSN/ISBN

1867-1748

DOI

10.1007/s12552-010-9037-8

Reference ID

1253