Blackballed The black and white politics of race on America's campuses

Lawrence C. Ross

Book - 2016

""College" is a word that means many things to many people: a space for knowledge, a place to gain lifelong friends, and an opportunity to transcend one's socioeconomic station. Today, though, this word also recalls a slew of headlines that have revealed a dark and persistent world of racial politics on campus. Does this association disturb our idealized visions of what happens behind the ivied walls of higher learning? It should - because campus racism on college campuses is... as American as college football on Fall Saturdays. From Lawrence Ross, author of The Divine Nine and the leading expert on sororities and fraternities, Blackballed is an explosive and controversial book that rips the veil off America's hidden secret: America's colleges have fostered a racist environment that makes them a hostile space for African American students. Blackballed exposes the white fraternity and sorority system, with traditions of racist parties, songs, and assaults on black students; and the universities themselves, who name campus buildings after racist men and women. It also takes a deep dive into anti-affirmative action policies, and how they effectively segregate predominately white universities, providing ample room for white privilege. A bold mix of history and the current climate, Blackballed is a call to action for universities to make radical changes to their policies and standards to foster a better legacy for all students"--

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : St. Martin's Press 2016.
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 266 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781250079114
125007911X
Main Author
Lawrence C. Ross (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

A college education is widely considered the great equalizer, a way for disadvantaged students to improve their lives, buttressed by initiatives like affirmative action and multicultural curricula. But in this insightful, comprehensive analysis, author and activist Ross explores the insidious persistence of racism at college campuses in the U.S., especially in so-called Greek life. Ross cites numerous racist incidents, including a party bus full of white frat boys chanting lyrics celebrating lynching and a cross burning at a black sorority in Alabama. He disputes the notion that these are isolated events, asserting that, instead, they are symptomatic of deep-seated, institutionalized racism. The sheer number of nauseating examples Ross enumerates provides convincing evidence of an epidemic that is often downplayed. Ross connects everyday microaggression that students of color experience at predominantly white institutions and analyzes the victim-blaming rhetoric that frequently arises in popular-media coverage. In light of recent events at Yale and the University of Missouri, as well as ongoing efforts by Black Lives Matter activists, Ross should be read along with Michelle Alexander, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Claudia Rankine. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Ross delivers a very timely and important book that documents both the historical and current racial climates on college campuses in the US. Each chapter provides a multitude of examples of how racism permeates colleges and universities, resulting in hostile campus climates. The examples Ross uses to illustrate the insidious and pervasive nature of racism in higher education are compelling and taken from very recent history, pulled from current headlines as recently as the SAE incident at the University of Oklahoma in 2015. Ross reveals the racism that exists in both the curricular and co-curricular venues on college campuses, resulting in a lack of safety for African American students enrolled in predominantly white institutions. He expertly shows the many ways that racism is infused into the structure of higher education institutions, including the naming of buildings, anti-affirmative action policies, and long-held campus traditions. Ross leaves readers with an appeal for proactive versus reactive measures—mandates that all institutions should employ immediately. Required reading for anyone involved, interested, and invested in the education of all students. Summing Up: Essential. All public and academic levels/libraries. Copyright 2016 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The zeitgeist nature of Ross's (The Divine Nine) work lends credibility to his thesis that American university campuses are extensions of our racist society at large and have therefore become unsafe and hostile environments for black students. One needs to look no further than disturbingly frequent headlines to see the evidence—the day this reviewer received Ross's book, the president of the University of Missouri had resigned over race issues on that campus. The author's assertion that campuses are hotbeds of racial friction is illuminated through myriad examples of the ways in which campus race relations are allowed to maintain white supremacy. Campus hate crimes leaked to the press are rationalized routinely by skittish administrators. As Ross proves, these crimes (often, "jokes") are not outlier actions undertaken mindlessly by tolerant and kind, if privileged and drunk, white students. Further, the university, through excusing generations of behavior, becomes complicit in these expressions, effectively robbing black students of a place on campus. Ross ends the book with a call to arms that asks universities to "move campus racism from the backwaters of their administrations to the forefront," equalizing enrollments through affirmative action and standing up to the strongholds of campus racism, fraternities and sororities, despite their creation of an alumni donor class. VERDICT Highly recommended for high school junior and seniors, college students, and educators.—Jewell Anderson, Savannah Country Day Sch. Lib., GA [Page 115]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Ross (The Divine Nine) scrutinizes "some of the most racially hostile places in the United States"—the fraternities and sororities on American colleges and universities—via extended conversations with black former students of predominantly white institutions. He revisits some well-known incidents, such as the racist song performed by Sigma Alpha Epsilon of the University of Oklahoma in 2015, and discusses the types of racism black students encounter on college campuses, ranging from violent or overt acts to more common micro-aggressions (everyday indignities, whether intentional or not, that are often written off as inconsequential by other students). The special value of Ross's book is that it documents incidents in recent history and the experiences of the students involved to show the severity of racism on college campuses and its persistence. As Ross points out, even when there are probations and suspensions, old patterns quickly return; he questions whether "going to a predominantly white institution is really worth it for African-Americans." Agent: Jan Miller, Dupree/Miller & Associates. (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A controversial assessment of racism in America's higher education institutions argues that today's colleges have become hostile spaces for African-American students, exposing racist practices in white fraternity systems, the segregation consequences of affirmative action programs and the upholding of racist alumni.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Argues that America's higher education institutions have become hostile spaces for African-American students, exposing racist practices in white fraternity systems and the consequences of affirmative action programs.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

""College" is a word that means many things to many people: a space for knowledge, a place to gain lifelong friends, and an opportunity to transcend one's socioeconomic station. Today, though, this word also recalls a slew of headlines that have revealeda dark and persistent world of racial politics on campus. Does this association disturb our idealized visions of what happens behind the ivied walls of higher learning? It should - because campus racism on college campuses is as American as college football on Fall Saturdays. From Lawrence Ross, author of The Divine Nine and the leading expert on sororities and fraternities, Blackballed is an explosive and controversial book that rips the veil off America's hidden secret: America's colleges have fostereda racist environment that makes them a hostile space for African American students. Blackballed exposes the white fraternity and sorority system, with traditions of racist parties, songs, and assaults on black students; and the universities themselves, who name campus buildings after racist men and women. It also takes a deep dive into anti-affirmative action policies, and how they effectively segregate predominately white universities, providing ample room for white privilege. A bold mix of history and the current climate, Blackballed is a call to action for universities to make radical changes to their policies and standards to foster a better legacy for all students"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

"College" is a word that means many things to many people: a space for knowledge, a place to gain lifelong friends, and an opportunity to transcend one's socioeconomic station. Today, though, this word also recalls a slew of headlines that have revealed a dark and persistent world of racial politics on campus. Does this association disturb our idealized visions of what happens behind the ivied walls of higher learning? It should-because campus racism on college campuses is as American as college football on Fall Saturdays. From Lawrence Ross, author of The Divine Nine and the leading expert on sororities and fraternities, Blackballed is an explosive and controversial book that rips the veil off America's hidden secret: America's colleges have fostered a racist environment that makes them a hostile space for African American students. Blackballed exposes the white fraternity and sorority system, with traditions of racist parties, songs, and assaults on black students; and the universities themselves, who name campus buildings after racist men and women. It also takes a deep dive into anti-affirmative action policies, and how they effectively segregate predominately white universities, providing ample room for white privilege. A bold mix of history and the current climate, Blackballed is a call to action for universities to make radical changes to their policies and standards to foster a better legacy for all students.