cover image The Agony of Education: Black Students at a White University

The Agony of Education: Black Students at a White University

Joe R. Feagin, Author, Joseph R. Feagin, Author, R. Feagin Joe, Author Routledge $140 (208p) ISBN 978-0-415-91511-3

Racial barriers and impediments remain commonplace on white campuses, the authors declare, in a rebuttal to the portraits of campus racial climate by Allan Bloom and Dinesh D'Souza that is only partly convincing. Their research method-focus-group interviews of black students and their parents at an unnamed but typical ""State University""-generates candid responses but sacrifices the nuance and analytical depth a journalist might offer. While critics see black student solidarity as separatism, the authors report that parents deem it necessary for support and survival. Similarly, black students effectively lament the absence of black faculty members, the casual racism of frat house ""slave auctions"" and the inescapable problem of police harassment. The authors' recommendations are all familiar: stronger enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, increased hiring of faculty of color and more multicultural programs. Interviewees ventilate their dilemmas about friendships with whites, and about how black friends don't always approve. However, the authors report that interviewees criticize white reaction to Nation of Islam speakers as ""intolerance for diversity""-an issue, like many here, that is surely more complex. Feagin and Vera, coauthors of White Racism, teach sociology at the University of Florida. Imani teaches sociology at James Madison University. (May)