In 2018, sociologist Ted Thornhill found that Black students who profess an interest in fighting racism were less likely to get a response from college admission officers than other Black students when inquiring about whether they would be a good fit for a particular college. In light of the nationwide anti-racism protests sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, when a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, The Conversation reached out to Thornhill for his thoughts on whether Black activist students might be more welcome on campus now than before. The Q&A, edited for brevity, is below:
Do you expect wider acceptance of Black activism on college campuses?
Will some number of colleges and universities that did not embrace Black student activists previously do so now? Perhaps a few. However, I believe more will work, directly and indirectly, to ensure these students never set a foot on their respective campuses.
According to a recent Pew poll, 60% of whites support the Black Lives Matter movement. That means 40% do not. Certainly, some of those whites opposed or indifferent to Black Lives Matter work in higher education.
And the 60% who do support Black Lives Matter is likely somewhat inflated due to social desirability bias, which is when people give socially acceptable answers to research questions instead of saying how they really feel. In sum, there is good reason