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2%
June 8, 2006 1:33 PM   Subscribe

2%. (bugmenot login fleeb@fleeble.com, password fleeble) That is the percentage of students in UCLA's incoming freshman class that self-identify as black. Only 96 students in an entering class of 4,852, and the lowest percentage since 1973. Many believe Proposition 209 is to blame, but some want to stop collecting this data altogether.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang (46 comments total)

 
I'm also seeing a 4.2% increase between the two analyzed years in "Other." Maybe that's where they've all gone? Or does UCLA operate on the "one drop of blood" principle?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:39 PM on June 8, 2006


Well, why go to school in a place so hostile to you?
posted by black8 at 1:48 PM on June 8, 2006


Very depressing. I guess I'll have to put an asterisk next to anything I say or type about the general health and astounding quality of American public universities in general.

USC is cooler anyways.
posted by bardic at 1:54 PM on June 8, 2006


I don't really think LA is particularly hostile to African Americans.
posted by delmoi at 1:54 PM on June 8, 2006


from the article. bolding is mine.

"There's a common misperception that this is a horrible problem but that black students just need to do better," he said. "But most of the black students who don't get in go to other top-notch schools — Harvard, Duke, Michigan. We're losing students who could be here."

Ward Connerly, the conservative former UC regent who was an architect of Proposition 209, countered that the issue was not the law he helped create.

"The problem — and this is an old song, I know — starts with the small number of black students who are academically competitive," he said...


So, UCLA rejects them but Harvard accepts them and yet, according to Connerly, its because they are not academically competitive?
posted by vacapinta at 1:56 PM on June 8, 2006


UCLA ain't LA, it's Beverly Hills.
posted by bardic at 1:56 PM on June 8, 2006


I don't really think LA is particularly hostile to African Americans.

Tell that to Rodney King...
posted by maxreax at 1:57 PM on June 8, 2006


A state constitutional amendment to abolish the collection of statistical data on race in most state programs went down to defeat in California by a margin of 64% to 36%.
posted by jonp72 at 1:57 PM on June 8, 2006


"Many students and professors also say the declining presence of blacks on campus discourages some prospective students from attending"

great... good reason not to attend
posted by cdcello at 1:58 PM on June 8, 2006


Tell that to Rodney King...

Yeah, because obviously conditions are still the same as they were 14 years ago..
posted by cdcello at 2:00 PM on June 8, 2006


"So, UCLA rejects them but Harvard accepts them and yet, according to Connerly, its because they are not academically competitive?"

UCLA is barred from using race as a factor in admissions but Harvard is not. The issue of campus increasing "diversity" (apparently a campus like UCLA with 66% minority freshman enrollment isn't "diverse" ) is a tough issue for public schools all over the country. Publicly funded universities are at the mercy of politicians and AA remains a hot-button issue in many places (damned if you do,damned if you don't .) The University of Wisconsin is tearing it's collective hair out about this as recruiters from Fortune 500 companies are threatening to stop visiting the too white Madison campus.
posted by MikeMc at 2:14 PM on June 8, 2006


Our education system is set up so that every institution can point fingers at another.
posted by danb at 2:15 PM on June 8, 2006


UCLA ain't LA, it's Beverly Hills.

Actually, it's in Westwood. Which is quite different than Beverly Hills. And if than was just snark, i'll add: USC is much more "Beverly Hills" than UCLA, despite it's neighborhood.
posted by Spurious Packets at 2:18 PM on June 8, 2006


Wow, only 33% white enrollment.

So it appears that white students are also being drastically underrepresented (only appearing at about 50% of what one would expect in truly egalitarian and equal system), although obviously not as underrepresented as blacks (about 17% of what one would expect in truly egalitarian and equal system).
posted by Jezztek at 2:24 PM on June 8, 2006


UC San Diego also has a pitiful record on this.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 2:27 PM on June 8, 2006


USC is much more "Beverly Hills" than UCLA

I strenuously disagree. I've never lived in LA, but have friends that went to both schools. They disagree with you too.
posted by bardic at 2:27 PM on June 8, 2006


(I happen to think they're both very good schools btw, but c'mon--USC is pretty much in the ghetto. Buffy and Trey are much more likely to end up Bruins than Trojans.)
posted by bardic at 2:31 PM on June 8, 2006


Maybe they have a Colbertian lack of color filter (tm) and they just don’t see color. Just not an issue for them. They’re just that cool. Yo. Word. They’re the def-ist. Mon.

So...whites are in the minority? Can we name sports teams after them now?
The Fightin’ Whitebreads? The Iowa Mayonnaise lovers? The Montana Middle Managers?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:35 PM on June 8, 2006


I strenuously disagree. I've never lived in LA, but have friends that went to both schools. They disagree with you too.

I have friends and family that went to both schools. They disagree with your friends. I guess we'll all agree to disagree.

I'm actually on the UCLA campus a fair amount, and I do notice the lack of black students (I cant just say African-American, due to the number of foreign students at UCLA-- its hard to say if they are American). But there is a large percentage of Persian / middle eastern students, which matches exactly with the neighborhood. And if you look at USC (for example), there is a higher percentagle of african-american and latinos in its nearby neighborhoods. So perhaps thats more of a cause than anything too nefarious.
posted by Spurious Packets at 2:36 PM on June 8, 2006


The state laws and limits on public schools don't really explain the disparity between UCLA and UC Berkeley do they? The article itself suggests a solution:


The report found that UC San Diego's admissions process relied most heavily on numbers, while UC Berkeley's was most "holistic," allowing a single reader to review all parts of an applicant's file, including academic and personal achievements or challenges.

At UCLA, in what admissions officials have described as an attempt to increase fairness and objectivity, applicants' files are divided by academic and personal areas, and read by separate reviewers. The researchers asserted that UC Berkeley's process may be the fairest, because it allows students' achievements to be seen in the context of their personal challenges.

posted by vacapinta at 2:36 PM on June 8, 2006


I'd be interested to know admittance data based on economic class.
posted by docgonzo at 2:37 PM on June 8, 2006


I'd be interested to know admittance data based on economic class.

How would that be defined? In the U.S. we track if a family is in poverty, but not much else. Would you track it by what tax bracket the kid's family is in?
posted by illovich at 2:45 PM on June 8, 2006


How would that be defined? In the U.S. we track if a family is in poverty, but not much else. Would you track it by what tax bracket the kid's family is in?

A lot of college applications ask for your (or, in most cases, your parents') income bracket to calculate financial aid.
posted by maxreax at 2:48 PM on June 8, 2006


What maxreax said. Actually, IIRC, almost all of them ask for specifics as to how much your parents make and/or are worth, even if you're not going to be applying for financial aid.
posted by bardic at 2:51 PM on June 8, 2006


"The state laws and limits on public schools don't really explain the disparity between UCLA and UC Berkeley do they?"



"The researchers asserted that UC Berkeley's process may be the fairest, because it allows students' achievements to be seen in the context of their personal challenges."

The Berkeley "holistic" approach is a very thinly veiled method of getting around the Prop 209 restrictions. I guess it's a matter of following the rules to the letter of finding creative ways to get around them.

This issue gets real thorny as the problem isn't a lack of minorities on campus but a lack of the "right" minorities.

"...it allows students' achievements to be seen in the context of their personal challenges."

Translation: "..it allows black,Native American and Latino students, preferably poor, to be admitted while denying admission to white and Asian students of similar backrounds .

posted by MikeMc at 2:59 PM on June 8, 2006


The Berkeley "holistic" approach is a very thinly veiled method of getting around the Prop 209 restrictions. I guess it's a matter of following the rules to the letter of finding creative ways to get around them.

Actually, a report commissioned by Berkeley's Academic Senate concluded the following:

My analysis shows that the centerpiece of comprehensive review–the process of assigning read scores–was mainly free of ethnic disparity. The largest difference (between Asian American and Latino/Native applicants) was statistically but not substantively significant–the statistical equivalent of the difference between the being in the 74th and 79th percentile of the GPA distribution. No disparity at all was found in the highly competitive College of Engineering. The vast majority of admissions decisions–89%–were determined exactly by the average of two read scores. Augmented review increased the consideration of factors that limit opportunity and increased the representation of under-represented minorities in the process. AR referrals included a number of unarticulated factors correlated with ethnic identity, but the AR decisions themselves did not show any evidence of ethnic differences. The tie-breaking decisions among applicants with identical scores that determined the last 6% of admissions decisions resulted in disparities that were statistically significant but may not be large enough to affect the overall admissions process; reversing a mere six decisions would be enough to wipe out the difference between African American and white applicants, for example. [Emphasis added.]

Frankly, I find this suspicion of getting around Prop. 209 indicative of a racist belief (not necessarily intentional) that if African-American admissions don't plummet consistently after the abolition of affirmative action that there must have been some "cheating" going on. The real problem is the persistence of sundown suburbs in California where white and Asian kids get easy access to Advanced Placement courses from their local school district, which get weighted higher than non-AP courses, but black kids are still stuck in ghetto schools where AP courses are unavailable. Until all kids of all economic classes and races get equal access to Advanced Placement classes, which is still a major factor in determining admissions decisions at UC Berkeley, then there will still be an institutional bias in UC admissions that favors some races more than others.
posted by jonp72 at 3:19 PM on June 8, 2006


(a) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
im going to go out on a limb here and say - thats a good thing.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:19 PM on June 8, 2006


> So...whites are in the minority? Can we name sports teams after them now?
> The Fightin’ Whitebreads? The Iowa Mayonnaise lovers? The Montana Middle Managers?

Speaking as Mister Whitebread himself, I seem to recall any number of teams named Vikings. Don't ever recall having a problem with that, either.
posted by jfuller at 3:26 PM on June 8, 2006


"...but black kids are still stuck in ghetto schools where AP courses are unavailable."

This I question, does LAUSD not offer AP classes? I don't think it's as much a matter of not having access to AP classes as not being prepared for them (which brings up a plethora of other issues).

Why not just follow the Florida/Texas model and guarantee admission to the top 10/20% of all high schools? Admissions to the most competitive schools could be decided randomly or "first come,first serve" that would spread your potential enrollment across every ethnic and economic group.

No matter what somebody is going to be pissed off but if you take a top 10% approach you (somewhat) take the hot,hot,hot race & AA issues off the table.
posted by MikeMc at 4:18 PM on June 8, 2006


jfuller, you're right. Back in the 19th century when freed slaves started a theatrical tradition of lambasting vikings in "whiteface" makeup to further marginalize caucasian western Europeans and play upon racist stereotypes regarding "white Sambos," that was wrong, and shameful to boot.
posted by bardic at 4:32 PM on June 8, 2006


I do (and have been doing for 3 years) educational outreach for the LA County Museum of Art. I'm at schools all over LAUSD. These schools are NOT equal in the way that they offer classes, possess competent faculty and receive resourses. This disparity is directly related to the ethnic/socio-economic background of the student body. Poor latino and black neighborhoods have shitty schools. Students don't have textbooks, gangs rule the neighborhoods, teachers and administrators are burnt out/inexperienced/incompetent (many of the teachers have less than 1 year of experience, I have been to poorly performing schools that have teacher turnover rates of over 70%). Conversely, the school that I am at currently, (a charter school that has a high percentage of asians and whites) looks into the economic background of parents before students are admitted. These students have various levels of gifted/honors track classes. there are new e-macs (about 15-20) in every classroom. Each teacher has a macbook. They have various special events, cultural fairs, a jazz band. . . you name it. The students at these affluent public schools are afforded luxuries and experiences that are way beyond those of schools in poor neighborhoods. These discrepencies are very real and very depressing. This is a huge factor why few latinos and blacks are admitted to UCLA.
posted by anansi at 5:11 PM on June 8, 2006


The students at these affluent public schools are afforded luxuries and experiences that are way beyond those of schools in poor neighborhoods.

This is what I was, clumsily, getting at.
posted by docgonzo at 5:22 PM on June 8, 2006


it's in Westwood. Which is quite different than Beverly Hills

having gone to UCLA 1985-1992 let ME disagree. The campus itself is nestled between Holmby Hills (Playboy Mansion) and Bel Aire. Westwood proper is a college town, and has been for ~80 years, so the general millieu is not-quite-Beverly Hills. But there's so much wealth circulating around that campus that is MUCH closer to BH than to eg. Palms. After some gang activity in the late 80s, the LAPD started to pushback on minorities, creating an invisible safety barrier some distance south of the campus. On the tony side of this barrier being a gangster-type or otherwise criminal-esque would cause the LAPD to flock on you like antibodies in the bloodstream. The Rodney King incident is somewhat related to this mindset and public safety approach.

As for the fpp, it's a fucking sad commentary on California's high school system. We can't expect Affirmative Action to fix things at the college level, we need Affirmative Action in K-12.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:50 PM on June 8, 2006


Socio-economic cruft aside, why aren't the black community leaders trying to instill the value of a proper education in the black youth of Los Angeles?

What's going on down there? Will they continue to blame it on being poor? I've met quite a few people that were dirt poor as children but realized that educating themselves was a way out of it.
posted by drstein at 7:10 PM on June 8, 2006


Must be character flaws with their race then.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:39 PM on June 8, 2006


"So, UCLA rejects them but Harvard accepts them and yet, according to Connerly, its because they are not academically competitive?"

How do we know that UCLA rejected them? UCLA may very well have accepted them, but they chose to go elsewhere.
posted by mischief at 8:29 PM on June 8, 2006


I've met quite a few people that were dirt poor as children but realized that educating themselves was a way out of it.

And now you've met another. And let me tell you it wasnt easy. You're swimming upstream. Parents who dont care much what grades you get (I'd take my incidental A's and throw them in the wastebasket. why bother?), lack of resources (My parents owned no books. I would bike miles to a public library then had to borrow money to help pay overdue fines...) and on and on. When you're in the midst of a culture of low expectation and scarce resources to boot, you sometimes wonder if what you are doing is a form of madness- if you're just a freak who should give up.

Sure, some still make it out of bad systems. Some strong swimmers are able to survive a sinking ship and make it to land. But there'd be even more survivors if the ship hadn't been a leaky dinghy in the first place.
posted by vacapinta at 9:13 PM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Heh, I'm 47 and living on disability insurance for life at 70% of previous income, and my father STILL thinks all my education was a waste of time and money. He just doesn't see that although I may never use my degrees again, that without those degrees I would now be in much worse shape.
posted by mischief at 9:20 PM on June 8, 2006


freed slaves started a theatrical tradition of lambasting vikings in "whiteface" ... Sweet! is this stuff on YouTube?

First we don't want discrimination, then we want "good" discrimination", now we want "the right discrimination".

Can't we all just get along? I want to be a rich person too. Did I miss out because I went to elementary school in bum&#%@?
posted by ewkpates at 4:19 AM on June 9, 2006


Socio-economic cruft aside, why aren't the black community leaders trying to instill the value of a proper education in the black youth of Los Angeles?

What's going on down there? Will they continue to blame it on being poor? I've met quite a few people that were dirt poor as children but realized that educating themselves was a way out of it.


Socio-economic backgrounds cannot be put aside when considering this situation. This is what shapes these students environments. Which in turn is what helps to shape these students. As has been mentioned earlier, students with apathetic parents (who themselves are undereducated) and crime-ridden neighborhoods are submerged in a culture of low expectations. These students are dealing with issues that, to them, seem to be of much more immediate concern than education. If you're basic needs of food, shelter and safety are not being met, then it is really diificult to focus on being valedictorian. . .

What you are asking of people is like asking, "will quadriplegics continue to to blame their condition on nerve damage?" We are well into the process of creating a permanent, self-propagating underclass.
posted by anansi at 6:52 AM on June 9, 2006


"We are well into the process of creating a permanent, self-propagating underclass"

... and have been for millenia, across all national borders as well as racial and ethnic lines. Painting a black face on this issue is not a practicable solution.
posted by mischief at 10:33 AM on June 9, 2006


Self determination is dead.

Put a fork in it.

It's good to know that social engineering will resolve all ills, eliminate crime, and make us all smart and happy. Now I understand why socialism so is popular. It's a no brainer. Since circumstance is the most significant factor in human achievement, then socialism is our only option...
posted by ewkpates at 10:41 AM on June 9, 2006


The campus itself is nestled between Holmby Hills (Playboy Mansion) and Bel Aire. Westwood proper is a college town, and has been for ~80 years, so the general millieu is not-quite-Beverly Hills. But there's so much wealth circulating around that campus that is MUCH closer to BH than to eg. Palms.

Being near Beverly Hills/ Bel Air, and its tremendous wealth (which it is) doesnt make UCLA Beverly Hills-like, other than the nice architecture. A large percentage of students there (undergrads at least) are typical poor college students, looking for the cheapest food and beer. A lot with out cars. Certainly better off than students at CSUN or CSLA on average, though. Most of Beverly Hills lives up to its stereotype more than any other place I've ever been, and I cant really compare that feel to the people occupying the UCLA campus on a daily basis. (Full disclosure:I'm not nor ever have been a student there, just spent a lot of time there).
posted by Spurious Packets at 10:52 AM on June 9, 2006


As for the "UCLA is Beverly Hills" upscale shit, that's nonsense. I went to UCLA from 2000 to 2004 and I can tell you that's not the case. As others have said, it's a college town, nestled between rich neighborhoods and making concessions to them in the form of places like Eurochow and some expensive boutique stores.

As for the black population declining, there are a million explanations why this could happen, but the most obvious and probably the most correct one is that black kids are receiving disproportionately weak educations in the public school systems, and don't get in - or if they do get in, they get in other places too, and because high-scoring black students are in demand, they get good deals elsewhere, like maybe a scholarship at Stanford or Princeton.

So let's quit the sneering generalization and look at how to address the problem, yes?
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:03 PM on June 9, 2006


“Speaking as Mister Whitebread himself, I seem to recall any number of teams named Vikings. Don't ever recall having a problem with that, either.” - posted by jfuller

Just a joke baby.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:59 PM on June 9, 2006


Since circumstance is the most significant factor in human achievement, then socialism is our only option...

great to see you coming around.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:11 PM on June 9, 2006


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