The Right Coast

November 23, 2005
Are Academically Gifted Black Students Penalized by Other Black Students for "Acting White"?
By Gail Heriot

This study--by Harvard economist Roland Fryer and Paul Torelli--has got to be busing advocates' worst nightmare. It suggests that high-performing black students are indeed stigmatized by their fellow black students for "acting white." While the better a white student's high school grades the more friends he or she will have, the same is not true for black or Hispanic students. For them, getting straight As will often mean fewer friends.

The surprsing twist is that Fryer and Torelli found the effect was most prevalent in racially integrated public schools. It is less prevalent, perhaps even non-existent, in private schools and in public schools in which black students predominate.