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A recent paper at Duke University in North Carolina has African-American students at colleges nationwide in an uproar. It claims that black undergraduates disproportionately switch majors from science and math to “easier” majors, like psychology and sociology.
Duke University's Chapel Photo via Flickr user the-specious
The paper studied many African-American and Caucasian students at Duke University during their four years as undergraduates. It states that both racial groups choose “harder” fields of study upon entering equally, but that after the first year of study 68 percent of black students preferred to switch to easier majors as compared to 55 percent of white students; it went a step further to also say that this may be the main reason that African-American students’ GPAs mirror Caucasian GPAs.
Many of the black students and alumni at Duke (not to mention UNC, State, and NCCU) are outraged over these findings and say that this study cannot possibly account for all the other interacting factors, and have said that the humanities may help black students to understand the racial and economic disparities that exist.
The paper, initially made public by Durham’s Herald Sun, was meant to be used as findings to oppose affirmative action. However, the researchers claim to be surprised at the amount of backlash their conclusions have garnered and surprisingly say that they would like to see more diversity in the fields and in no way intend racism.
Duke students gathered and held a silent protest over the weekend to protest what they feel is an attack on their intelligence. Duke’s Black Student Alliance is also planning more events to protest the paper and its questionable conclusions.
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