Julianne Hing marshals some evidence to show that black male graduation gap is not an intractable fact of American existence. I'm a fan of these sorts of posts, not because they bring a dose of positivity, but because they bring a dose of realism. When faced with what appears to be a problem impervious to wonkery, it's very tempting to succumb to the creeping sense that there are no answers.
This is especially true with African-Americans, given that there's centuries of spectral noise claiming our hidebound inferiority. But what I've learned from my present study is that, at any moment in American history you can find smart, honest people lamenting the hopelessness of some social ill. I think back to Abraham Lincoln, who early in his political career thought that white animosity was so intractable that blacks would have to shipped back to Africa.
Lincoln was wrong, but he was neither crazy nor singular. It should be oft-noted that we've done a mediocre job of desegregating the country. But it should also be occasionally noted that
if Abraham Lincoln could see America today, his eyes would pop out of his head.
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is a national correspondent for The Atlantic
, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of The Beautiful Struggle
, Between the World and Me,
and We Were Eight Years in Power