Losing the Potential of America's Young Black Elite
“This study is field-advancing. The analysis is balanced, powerfully coherent, and original. It brings into public view a poignant dilemma. Partly because of the reality of racism, but also partly because many universities now reinforce the anticipation of racism, young black women and men are making self-limiting occupational choices. The result: deep inequality for better-off as well as worse-off African Americans.”
“Opting Out makes a compelling argument that the continuing presence of racism in US society decisively and negatively affects the careers of some of our most talented black college students. These students form a distinctive pool, facing challenges quite different from both white students and black students who have not reached the same level of academic performance. Through the experiences of these students, Beasley shows that the racism faced by talented blacks of this generation is qualitatively different from previous ones as she weaves together a history of black social mobility that is often misinterpreted and not well known among educators and policymakers.”
“Opting Out takes on one of America’s biggest failures, the disaffection from the American dream of a large portion of its best-educated Black young people. Beasley’s analysis of the problem is compelling. She goes well beyond trend analysis and examines the interior life of this population to understand why, with seemingly endless opportunity, talented and highly educated young black people are opting out of the mainstream of our economic life. With Opting Out, Beasley has made the most important contribution to the sociology of race relations in the last decade. This is a must read for parents as well as policymakers, for school superintendents and college presidents. With America’s competitiveness at risk, we can hardly afford to squander this human capital.”
“This cogent and persuasively argued book should set off a national discussion about the urgent need to diversify the American occupational structure. Writing with force and clarity, Beasley exhibits a breadth of multidisciplinary knowledge in sociology, political science, economics, psychology, and educational research. By the end, I was convinced that the problem Opting Out highlights is a deep and critical one that mandates strong policy and practice innovations. Beasley’s analysis offers insight into how higher education and business officials could act to reduce the growing black-white wealth gap.”
2 The Significance of History
3 Family Effects: Is It Really Just a Matter of Money?
4 The Role of the University
5 Majority Rules: Apprehension, Racism, and Racial Representation in Occupations
6 Stereotype Threat: Where Have All Our Scientists Gone?
7 The Value of Work: Careers That Matter
8 It’s All about Connections
Notes References Index