Discrimination Against Black Students

Discrimination Against Black Students


Racial diversity has been used since time immemorial across different parts of the globe to discriminate against others in the society. During colonial period and the modern world, racism has been a major social issue. It can be traced back to scramble and petition period of the world by colonial masters. White settlers during the period were considered superior to natives and this generated a false perception that colonized civilians as domestics.

This kind of notion was utilized by the Europeans as an excuse to acquire land and make slaves by force. As a result, racial variability has become the base for structures and institutions to promote violation and discrimination of human natural basic rights. Discrimination is designed in a way that abuses individuals based on racial disparities thus preventing them accessing wealth, engaging in politics and many other human life spheres.

Recent research by Badat (1999) indicates that human discrimination is deeply rooted in different social institutions in the community. The minority groups in the society despite availability of legal protection have experienced discrimination based on systems with weak points that encourage it. Institutional discrimination during the 19th century was quite rampant more specifically against blacks.

African Americans were often abused and denied basic rights that other races were enjoying for instance economic and voting rights (Badat, 1999). Laws on discrimination were thus, paving way to create more suffering and discrimination amongst African Americans. Discrimination and racism were also during the period more profound in the country compared to any other time in its history.

This is the time that witnessed an increase in racial bias where whites were considered more superior. Violence against African Americans also became common with numerous riots being witnessed in many states across America. The 1920 industrial revolution also led to people’s migration mainly blacks to northern cities including New York and Chicago from southern states.

In the states, racial discrimination persisted with reports of lynching and violence (Badat, 1999). Racial bias fueled the vices. Additionally, passage of laws that prohibit discrimination has not efficiently achieved its objectives. It also managed to bring down racial and discrimination levels.

Black Americans, according to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights remained disadvantaged based on high literacy and poverty levels, which are key features for human growth.

Study Objectives

The main objectives of this research study include

  • To highlight prevailing discrimination status against black students in the US
  • To highlight educational policies and relevant laws affecting black student’s discrimination in the US
  • To evaluate how education policy and the law will in the future solve the issue

Discrimination against black students in the US    

Discrimination and racism are inherently rooted in societal institutions and the issue has grown across different social segments in the society including the education system. Discrimination of black American students across the US has become common with professionals associating it with poor school enrollment amongst them. Campus environment is harsh with university and college leadership being accused of neglecting the needs of the students.

Black student’s financial support has reduced a fact that leads to low admission even further because education is expensive (The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 2013). Many African American students come from poor backgrounds as a result; they are not able to access college or university education. Additionally, many students are denied an opportunity to join the institutions because they can’t afford them.

Statistical data reveal that 79 percent upper income quarter students earn bachelor degree while only 11 percent who get the same are from lower income quarter. Close to 55 percent of the degrees conferred in the US go to upper income quarter students while families with lower quartile only managing 9.4 percent of the papers (Badat, 1999).

Generally, some of the strategies employed by different learning institutions promote discrimination. For instance, renowned law schools including Yale and Harvard have newly admitted students making up 70 percent of the admissions while lower income class manage only ten percent.

Even though the scenario is not deliberately discriminative, it doesn’t favor black students. As a result, affirmative action should be employed to reduce the gap. The main objective of designing this evaluation is that college administration ignores the difficulties poor students undergo.

In the US, many colleges and universities do not pay more attention to socioeconomic disparities compared to racial discrimination. These factors are notably correlated and they should be addressed with logic and a lot of insight. Black student’s discrimination does not exist only in the US but also to African American students abroad have been discriminated against. Others say there are people who accept them while others openly discriminate them.

Racial discrimination more importantly takes place anywhere across the globe but the level of vice varies from one country to the other (Badat, 1999).

Relevant laws on Student Discrimination

Many discrimination laws can be traced back to industrial period. It is during this time that black Americans started pushing for Civil Rights leading to the American Civil Rights Movement, leading to an end of discrimination in learning institutions in 1954. The movement as very successful and it included the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The law was against discrimination against access of public services and in the workplace thus, replacing the Jim Crow laws that legalized discrimination of people from utilizing public utilities (Flake, 2013). The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988 is another significant law in the education industry. It focuses on issues relating to education support by the federal government. Education Amendment was passed in 1992 as a way of protecting students from any form of discrimination from fellow students or by teachers.

Case laws and discrimination of black students

In many cases, discrimination laws are very efficient. As mentioned above, black students faced many forms of discrimination and laws should be comprehensive to cover all the challenges. Discrimination was one of the issues that black students faced. Milliken V. Bradley case is one of the major scenarios on racial discrimination in the US. This case is based on Detroit school policies which the District court found racially imbalanced.

The purpose of the Court was to ensure public district schools are desegregated. The Court also redefined the boundary under which the law should apply. In this relevance, the Court ruled that Detroit and Michigan school structures should design an efficient financial system to take care of issues faced by African American students. These issues often occurred as a result of discrimination and could not be solved by significant incorporation.

Admission systems have also created the foundation of discrimination in the education system. The issue is quite rampant as evident in the case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. The case was a landmark decision that the US Supreme Court handled. Allan Blake accused the Regents of University of California for disregarding his application despite making the submission twice.

He also claimed that the institution did it because of his racial background. The defendant forwarded the case to California Courts but was not satisfied hence, advanced it to the Supreme Court. It was ruled by the Supreme Court that it was not in line with the law for a medical institution to determine the number of minority students to be enrolled. The Court further determined that such laws violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

On the name, Justice Powerll put forward an expression ruling that racial considerations can be taken into account legally as determinants used in school admissions. Justice Powerll in his advice pointed out that legal affirmative measures may deal with different situations contrary to the belief that it addresses past discrimination cases. He also noted that ideal affirmative action could apply in an institution of higher learning that aims at achieving a diverse student body (Badat, 1999).

One of the forms of discrimination that African American students face is quite clear in the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. The case was seen as a significant case that the Supreme Court of the US handled. Swann in this case argued that the institution had not employed significant effective incorporation strategy as a way of putting an end to racial discrimination in learning institutions.

The issue that emerged in the court was also based on the powers and roles of school authorities. The Supreme Court also ruled in Swann’s favor on grounds that it was not effective to try separate public institutions.

Evaluation of Law and Education Policy in solving Discrimination in future

Many laws addressing discrimination have been passed in the US. Even so, it is very clear that many of the laws cannot solve the issue efficiently as it calls for amendments to ensure it is ideal. Basically, the constitution is the base of many laws applicable to different societal structures and this paper can be considered as exclusive.

Laws available in the constitution were written by many white groups. As a result, segregation mentality has continued to grow thus, facilitating creation of negative relationships between whites and blacks across America. In such situations, learners should be encouraged to see perceive the other based on color. In the future, laws should be changed regularly to create more integration space between students. This will help them to understand changes in the society that can be realized by working as a team in the fight against discrimination.

Desegregation will also help students from all races to learn about the history of discrimination. They will be in a position to understand that people across different races fought for Civil Rights in the past. It is only via such understanding of the history of the problem that one can find an ideal solution. Additionally, students should learn more of the conditions that lead to bravery acts for both white and black students at that time.

Prevailing justice systems in the past has been quite objective in its construal, favoring majority groups in many cases. This is vivid in Plessy case where the Supreme Court’s justice overturned the ruling made the lower court despite the fact that it was supported by majority group. Since the constitution was not efficient in protecting people’s rights, different amendments were recommended. The Fourth Amendment for instance guaranteeing equal protection for all was passed.

The amendment also states that it is illegal to discriminate groups of people or individuals. The change is expected to offer protection to students who cannot get admission to some institutions in the US because of their race. Homan Sweat situation is one of the examples as he was denied an opportunity to enroll at University of Texas Law School because he was black American.

The purpose of the case was to force the administration of the school to help him get admission. The court on the contrary did not force for his enrollment and recommended building of a different black students Law School by the institution. Despite seeking an appeal over the ruling, the complainant took the case to the Supreme Court. The ruling by the Supreme Court was overturned claimed that the institution violated the Fourth Amendment protection rights (Flake, 2013).

The Supreme Court following thorough evaluation of the case found out there were huge differences in The University of Texas Law School and black law school. There were more professors in the university specialized in the field and were renowned. The students at the university also accessed financial support and their library was fully equipped. The law school for black students on the other hand did not have human resource capital as well as facilities.

In such a scenario, the Justice argued that Mr. Sweatt had the right to utilize the white law school and the institution should keep in mind that a good profile for the school included minority protection (Flake, 2013). Flake (2013) further noted that by doing so, the law school for whites was denying Mr. Sweat an opportunity to mingle with a part that will create the largest part of its future clients. The Supreme Court as a result, invalidated the lower court’s ruling stating that it violated the Rights under the equal protection Fourth Amendment clause.

It is clear from the case that the courts in some cases may support discrimination acts by ruling in favor of such an action. To prevent similar cases in the future, Courts should consider basic laws protecting people’s freedom prior to making a ruling. Essential laws in the constitution should also be the main guidelines when making court decisions. By doing so, the ruling will observe basic human rights and to reduce the chances of making unjust rulings.

Similarly, it is evident that American school policies offer an ideal environment for continued discrimination. It is imperative to note that student segregation will lead to inequalities and feelings of inferiority and superiority. When combined, the factors lead to discrimination. Therefore, the most ideal way to address the issue is by introducing affirmative actions in school policies to ensure they handle the above raised issues (The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 2013).

Different and equal education doctrine enhanced black student’s discrimination even further. The proponents of the idea ignored the ideas of the Fourth Amendment provision which protects individuals from discrimination on race or color. The policy of separate and equal had many negative impacts on African American students as it led to rise of emotional issues and generated feelings of incapacitation and inferiority amongst them.

The feelings made black kids have low self-esteem and as a result, poor performance in class as well as stress related issues. Therefore, championing for more Civil Rights Acts is the only way of reducing the effects of the policy. The US quota system played a crucial role in reducing isolation of blacks from many parts of the society. It pointed out that everyone should access opportunities based on their numbers in the societies.

Different authorities carried out research to find the right ratio and finally made a decision on the number that will receive the services. According to Flake (2013), quota system introduction in the education system will instantly reduce discrimination levels enabling African American students to interact with other students freely thus creating a more cohesive society. On the same note, more laws must be put in place to enhance existing ones.

Quota system as a matter of concern should be expanded to cover projects that source funds from private entities. This is based on the fact that discrimination not only occurs in government establishments but also in private settings. An equalizing policy in schools should additionally be implemented to correct past injustices on black students. The quota ratio for instance can be increased to cover past discrimination. This will help to increase the number of black students getting good education and to reduce disparities between whites and African American students.

Even though the quota system has managed minority discrimination efficiently, it should be carefully applied to prevent majority discrimination. Students in some cases qualify for university admission but are denied enrollment because the system favored minorities and it institutes another type of racial bias in favor of the minority. Therefore, a balanced strategy is essential in rolling out the policy so that black and white interests are well taken care of ((The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 2013).


Institutional racism can be hard to get rid of in many cases. This is based on the fact that the nature of employed policies often seems inherently rooted in the schools. For example, law schools use Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as the major qualification for joining their schools. This admission strategy enables students to join the university faculty thus promoting minority discrimination even further.

LSAT cuts as a form of admission denies 50 percent black students who would otherwise qualify for admission based on the scores attained in college. Flake (2013) research reveals that black student’s admission to law schools has reduced in the past years because of policies such as LSAT as they are unfavorable to minority groups. LSAT proponents should design affirmative action to ensure the policy is implemented in a responsible way and to ensure it addresses black student’s deficit as well as that of other minority groups (Flake, 2013).

Safe School Act and regulations have also proved to be very efficient in addressing racial discrimination in other countries. The main purpose of this policy is zero tolerance to discrimination. Founders of the policy according to Flake (2013) are of the idea that it does not favor people based on their color or race thus students committing the offense will have uniform punishment.

Even so, research data on the policy has proved otherwise. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (2013) report shows that the law affected black students unjustly. The policy in this case is blamed for poor health developed in kids and is known to create mental stress.

Additionally, the policy did not make schools secure or reduce violence in any way as purposed. Different factors should also be introduced to ensure a zero tolerance system that is efficient. Mitigating structures should be enhanced to make the policy consistent with the act prohibiting discrimination.

School leaders should face the reality and wake up from the dream that discipline policy in schools does not affect minority racial students, more specifically black students. Discipline policy integration with human rights laws can also make the policy quite accommodative thus ensuring safety in schools while protecting basic Civil Rights of students at the same time (Flake, 2013).


Discrimination in summary has a long history that can be traced back to different segments in the society. The issue can be easily eliminated and it needs the support of all Americans to ensure their country is great. Similarly, it calls for implementation of proper laws to complement the existing ones and to ensure no student is discriminated against based on color or race.

School management should additionally ensure that new laws are tandem with protection laws for smooth operations. It is imperative to note that the American society is multi ethnic and multi-racial thus, quite difficult to reach zero discrimination levels even in the event of availability of protective laws.

Racial differences will often provoke different attitudes from humans. To reduce the vice, a lot of enlightenment on background stereotyping and cultural diversity should be carried out in all spheres of the society.



Badat, S. (1999). Black Student Politics, Higher Education and Apartheid: From SASO to SANSCO, 1968-1990. HSCR.

Flake, M. (2013). Racism, Discrimination, and the Law. Retrieved November 25, 2013 from http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1994/1/94.01.02.x.html

Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974)

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978)

Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1 (1970)

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (2013). Key Supreme Court Cases for Civil Rights. Retrieved November 25, 2013 from http://www.civilrights.org/judiciary/supreme-court/key-cases.html




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