black women

Go sisters go! Black women are the most educated group in the United States

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April V. Taylor

For Harriet is reporting on a collection of data compiled by the National Center of Education Statistics from the US Census that reveals that for the first time in the history of the United States, black women have surpassed all other groups in terms of race and gender for the percentage of people who have enrolled in college.  While this is an accomplishment to be proud of, Janks Morton, creator of the blockbuster film, “Hoodwinked,” cautions that it should not be forgotten that education in the United States generally comes with a hefty load of student loan debt, and that people need to be conscious of not taking on too much debt.  According to a recent graphic published by Mother Jones, student loan debt surpasses all other debt held by borrowers including credit card and auto loan debt.

In a recent episode of the web series, “Truths You Won’t Believe,” Morton discusses the fact that despite the misconceptions and stereotypes perpetuated by the media about African American women, half of all black women between the ages of 18 and 24 are now pursuing degrees.  The 2011 data shows that overall, 9.7 percent of all black women are enrolled in college.  Asian women come in second at 8.7 percent, followed by Asian men at 8.4 percent, white women at 7.1 percent, black men at 7 percent, Hispanic women at 6.6 percent, and white men at 6.1 percent.  Since 1990, the number of African Americans who have earned bachelor’s degrees has risen from 11.3 percent to 19.6 percent.  The average enrollment for the entire U.S. population is 6.9 percent.  The increase for black women represents a 31 percent rise from data reported in 2000.  This means that African American women are now the most educated segment of the American population.

These statistics also indicate that, despite the fact that African Americans face multi-layered social, economic, and educational disparities, there is a silver lining in the fact that so many African American women are succeeding.  Morton states that, “the data and evidence provides a ray of hope in a plethora oppositional to the negative imagery and information constantly describing Black culture.  The facts make a case counter-intuitive to what “common sense” tells us about African Americans. Fortunately, this group of resilient and resourceful people, who have always valued education, are once again proving ‘good sense’ trumps the commons.”