October 20, 2017

NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY: Cornell’s Black Student Disunion: A radical group calls on the university to disfavor immigrants.

The BSU argued that “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.”

There’s a contradiction here. For years liberal writers have blamed black poverty and undereducation on racism—the experience of being more likely to be pulled over by police, to be looked at suspiciously in department stores, to be discriminated against in schools and the workplace.

But it doesn’t seem to be the case, at least not to the same degree, among immigrants. “The more strongly black immigrant students identify with their specific ethnic origins, the better they perform [academically],” Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld observed in their 2014 book, “The Triple Package.” . . .

Why does racism not seem to keep black immigrants down? The answer is obvious: Black immigrant culture tends to value academic achievement and believe it is possible no matter what happened to your ancestors. As one business school graduate born to Nigerian parents tells Ms. Chua and Mr. Rubenfeld: “If you start thinking about or becoming absorbed in the mentality that the whole system is against us then you cannot succeed.”

Groups like the Cornell BSU insist that the system is out to get them and they cannot succeed. This makes the presence of high-achieving immigrant black students inconvenient. Between diversity and victimhood as the highest good in today’s academia, it’s hard to know where to place your money.

None of this is doing anything to shore up higher educations diminishing reputation.

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