Nearly half—42 percent—of all Black college students enrolled at predominantly white universities never have a Black professor in all four years of college, according to a startling new surveyhighlighted by African-American academic Boyce Watkins. Of the students who had had an African-American professor, about 75 percent had only one outside of the African-American studies department.
According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, only 4 percent of professors in American colleges (excluding historically Black colleges) are Black, compared with 12.6 percent of undergraduate students. Blacks also made up more than 10 percent of graduate programs. The imbalance between Black professors and students results in kids hungry for guidance but faced with a dearth of Black leadership and mentoring.
“The presence of Black faculty can make all the difference in the world when it comes to helping Black students clearly visualize their personal goals,” said Watkins, who teaches finance at Syracuse University. “The lack of diversity on college campuses is a serious and persistent problem, and it serves to impede the likelihood of success for our children.”
Exacerbating everything is that America’s highest-ranking universities are especially bad at getting Black professors into their ranks.
Of the 26 high-ranking universities that responded to [the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education] survey this year, blacks made up more than 5 percent of the total full-time faculty at only five institutions … Emory University in Atlanta has the highest percentage of black faculty at 6.8 percent.
Columbia University in New York City had the second-highest number of Black professors—a paltry 214 out of nearly 3,500.
In other words, we’re asking Black kids to strive to get into elite universities and then giving them nothing but white professors to look up to once they’re there.
(HT: Anthony Bradley; Image: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
“Francis Schaeffer was not afraid to ask why, and he did not rest until he had an answer. Why are our most brilliant thinkers in despair? Why is our art so dark? Why have abortion and euthanasia become so easy on the conscience of a generation? What process of thinking has led to this ultimate denial of the value of human life? Though some may disagree with his answers, no one can gainsay the passion with which he sought them.” (John Fischer)
In our church’s Bible study this past Thursday (in 1 Corinthians 14), the layman who was leading the study mentioned Francis Schaeffer and his influence upon his own thinking about the importance of good thinking as a Christian. Good thinking helps us to engage the culture with the Gospel. I thank the Lord for raising up men like Schaeffer in the history of the church. (More on Schaeffer can be found in this article at Christianity Today by John Fischer.)
Some in our church are familiar with Nancy Pearcey (Total Truth, and Saving Leonardo) and Carl Ellis (Free at Last) – two of many who studied under Schaeffer and are blessing the contemporary church with writings that tell us how to think carefully and counter-culturally as Christians. In addition to the works by Peacey and Ellis, I would encourage you to pick up a work by Schaeffer. He is most well known for How Shall We Then Live? But if you want to start small and inexpensively, and yet enjoy Schaeffer, I would encourage you to start here:
Escape from Reason
The God Who is There
He is There and He is Not Silent
Genesis in Space and Time: The Flow of Biblical History
Schaeffer’s works are important for today’s church. Learning to think well helps us proclaim the Gospel to a culture in which a pope exonerates all Jews for something of which the Scriptures clearly held a select group of First Century Jewish people responsible, but not them alone, for we all are sinners, and Christ died for sinners. Learning to think well also helps us proclaim the Gospel to a culture in which a protestant church leader questions the Biblical truth of the eternal wrath of God. Good thinking could have saved both of these leaders from what they have seen as apparent conundrums of our faith within the present culture. Good thinking also will help us to take advantage of these men’s unfortunate missteps in thinking – and denial of the Gospel – for the sake of the Gospel.
Schaeffer’s works are good for personal growth too. I hope you find one to be a blessing.