Declining Numbers of Blacks Seen in Math, Science

Newsmax, October 23, 2011

With black unemployment reaching historic levels, banks laying off tens of thousands and law school graduates waiting tables, why aren’t more African-Americans looking toward science, technology, engineering and math–the still-hiring careers known as STEM?

The answer turns out to be a complex equation of self-doubt, stereotypes, discouragement and economics–and sometimes just wrong perceptions of what math and science are all about.

The percentage of African-Americans earning STEM degrees has fallen during the last decade. It may seem far-fetched for an undereducated black population to aspire to become chemists or computer scientists, but the door is wide open, colleges say, and the shortfall has created opportunities for those who choose this path.

{snip}

Black people are 12 percent of the U.S. population and 11 percent of all students beyond high school. In 2009, they received just 7 percent of all STEM bachelor’s degrees, 4 percent of master’s degrees, and 2 percent of PhDs, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

From community college through PhD level, the percentage of STEM degrees received by blacks in 2009 was 7.5 percent, down from 8.1 percent in 2001.

The numbers are striking in certain fields. In 2009, African-Americans received 1 percent of degrees in science technologies, and 4 percent of degrees in math and statistics. Out of 5,048 PhDs awarded in the physical sciences, such as chemistry and physics, 89 went to African-Americans–less than 2 percent.

Several factors are cited by scientists, educators and students. One is a self-defeating perception that STEM is too hard. Also mentioned are a lack of role models and mentors, pressure to earn money quickly, and discouraging academic environments.

{snip}

In the world of atoms and numbers, does the color of the person who studies them really matter?

Many of America’s technology giants say, yes. Merck has funded tens of millions of dollars in United Negro College Fund scholarships. Bayer has a special focus on recruiting and promoting minorities. Technology giants such as Boeing, General Electric and Xerox support organizations dedicated to raising black STEM participation.

Their motivation is simple math. If bright and capable students’ talents go undeveloped, “this represents a loss for both the individual and society,” the National Science Board said in a 2010 report.

{snip}

Some 16 percent of all U.S. undergraduates major in natural science or engineering, compared with 25 percent in Europe, 38 percent in South Korea and 47 percent in China, the report said.

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  • Anonymous

    Nothing new here . . . move along . . . 🙂

  • BO_Bill

    I passed a technically demanding military training course whose graduates go on to man military units that are essentially all-white with a few Asians. This course had inflexible testing requirements. If you didn’t make the grade, you went elsewhere.

    The complexion of this military force must have been disturbing to someone in the Grievance Industry, so the military set-up an extraordinarily expensive ‘make-up math and science’ school for blacks, taught by minorities so the black students would not feel ‘uncomfortable’. I am sure that this class cost the taxpayers a minimum of $20,000 per student, not counting the salaries the students drew while sitting in front of an instructor talking about calculus.

    So my class was formally seated. It duly consisted of exactly 13% black candidates, graduates all of the government ‘make-up math and science’ school, who would now in the opinion of our betters in the Grievance Industry be able to compete with us whites and Asians. All of the historical disadvantages that held blacks back had been righted by a proper education provided by the unlimited resources of the federal government. Finally, equality would be achieved! Free at Last!

    These black students, every last one, failed out before making it half-way through the course. The last one out the door threw a fit and was brought before Captain’s mast.

  • neanderthalDNA

    “In the world of atoms and numbers, does the color of the person who studies them really matter?”

    The skin color makes no difference. It’s the brains they inherit. With exception of a few curve blowers, black people simply don’t have the brainpower. Simple.

    “Many of America’s technology giants say, yes. Merck has funded tens of millions of dollars in United Negro College Fund scholarships. Bayer has a special focus on recruiting and promoting minorities. Technology giants such as Boeing, General Electric and Xerox support organizations dedicated to raising black STEM participation.”

    Jeez. More good money after bad. The last thing American business needs to do is waste money on the big black hole of proving flawed ideology. Affirmative action = the war on merit and competence!

    See, the problem with just giving out STEM degrees is that when incompetents get “gibsmedat” degrees – people die on operating tables and bridges collapse…

  • Anonymous

    My husband is a multi-degreed computer scientist working in defense contracting. He’s not aware of ANY blacks in his field beyond the most basic coding.

    He once interviewed a black woman with impressive educational credentials: science student awards, scholarships, prestigious internships and a BS in Computer Science from a “Historically Black College”…she had NO idea what she was talking about. After the interview, he said he was astonished she made it through her freshman Computing 101 class! She’s probably working in HR answering phones for a major technical company, because she has no hope of ever completing any work in her field.

  • Madison Grant

    In spite of affirmative action, in spite of quotas, in spite of Corporate America throwing millions at them, blacks still can’t compete with whites and Asians in the hard sciences.

    So why is the West importing millions of these future janitors, washroom attendants and prison inmates?

  • Free State Paul

    STEM careers take above-average intelligence and long/expensive graduate education programs. Yet they do not pay that well.

    A black with above-average intelligence can make more money faster by getting an MBA and going into sales or PR or some other hi-visibility field where being a minority is a plus.

  • Tim in Indiana

    Many of America’s technology giants say, yes. Merck has funded tens of millions of dollars in United Negro College Fund scholarships. Bayer has a special focus on recruiting and promoting minorities. Technology giants such as Boeing, General Electric and Xerox support organizations dedicated to raising black STEM participation.

    Keep in mind that all of this funding to create some sort of magical black/white balance means that this same funding is NOT available to deserving white students.

    There are a lot of poor whites in the country, especially in these tough economic times, and many who simply cannot attend technical school without scholarships, but who could have become great scientists if they had been given the chance.

    This hurts all of us, all in an effort to prove that “race doesn’t matter,” while actually proving the exact opposite.

  • Anonymous

    The answer turns out to be a complex equation of self-doubt, stereotypes, discouragement and economics—and sometimes just wrong perceptions of what math and science are all about.

    If your perceptions of what math and science are all about are wrong, you probably don’t belong in math and science.

    It may seem far-fetched for an undereducated black population to aspire to become chemists or computer scientists…

    Seems far-fetched? Nay, not seems — is.

    In the world of atoms and numbers, does the color of the person who studies them really matter?

    It shouldn’t — but it does. If the student is white or yellow, they’ll probably comprehend the course material, and do well. If they’re brown or black — and have been admitted only for reasons of Affirmative Action or other racial bean-counting — they probably won’t.

  • Tom S.

    I wonder how many black Africans receive a degree in “STEM” in those great learning institutions in Africa? Lets do a comparison. And how many countless hours of “extra tutoring” did it take to graduate the few that do make it.

    I still fail to see the importance of black involvement in ANYTHING! As far as I can tell, “black intelligence” had nothing at all to do with any known advancement of mankind ( excluding the “super soaker” ) but yet has had everything to do with the destruction of any advancements that other races make – Detroit, Zimbabwe and South Africa being good examples.

    I often daydream about how much nicer and advanced this country could’ve been had we not had this “black millstone” around our necks all these years! Just imagine what we could’ve done with all the billions\trillions of dollars that has been wasted on them! That turned out to be some VERY expensive cotton!

  • Paul

    ‘She’s probably working in HR answering phones for a major technical company, because she has no hope of ever completing any work in her field’

    This shows naivete,

    These types of people are working in their fields. Doctors, lawyers and engineers. Hope to god you don’t end up on the operating table when they’re on duty.

  • Ron

    Who would have thought their numbers in STEM were so low? Network television tells us otherwise.

  • Anonymous

    On the other hand , Blacks make up 12% of the population , yet 86% of Rappers

    are Black. Why aren’t more Whites looking toward the Rapper arts..?

  • Detroit WASP

    I keep waiting for a “study” like this to explain why there are so few whites in the NBA. I won’t hold my breath.

    I guess white men just don’t have any interest in making tens of millions per year and dating super models.

    Conversely, NPR did a report in 2007 on how FEWER blacks are becoming baseball players.

    http://goo.gl/SiOEi

    NPR must REALLY be concerned about this issue because they also did a story on this back in 2005 as well.

    http://goo.gl/JzMrJ

    I wonder when NPR will do the story on too few white sprinters in the Olympic Games???????

  • sbuffalonative

    In the world of atoms and numbers, does the color of the person who studies them really matter?

    If we were all the same and interchangeable, it wouldn’t matter. That blacks can’t cut it in the fields of higher sciences and engineering speaks to our inherent differences.

    All things being the same and we would have equal outcomes. All things being different, we have different outcomes.

  • aj

    Their motivation is simple math. If bright and capable students’ talents go undeveloped, “this represents a loss for both the individual and society,” the National Science Board said in a 2010 report.

    —————–

    More simple math. If smart White kids or Asians lose their spots in college to blacks who enroll in African American studies and drop out after the first semester society also loses.

  • HH

    My God this narrative has grown so completely redundant it strains belief! No matter WHAT the situation, if it involves blacks and problems it is everyone, anyone, and anything’s fault but theirs! That the problem even COULD BE blacks is never even considered at this rate, regardless of the issue. Never, never, never must it even be suggested that the real and obvious problem is, of course, blacks themsleves.

    Can anyone still be buying this utter hogwash?

  • eduard

    Bear in mind that the black languages in Africa do not have numerals in their languages. They also do not have the words “love” , “compassion” in their vocabulary. In mandela’s new criminal SA, their languages are riddled with English pronounced numerals and words. It also a fact that could not put their own langauge to writing, the white linguistic gurus had to come and do it for them. They were and still is but a pathetic race.

  • MAJ

    “Yet the situation is most acute for African-Americans.”

    Every article about blacks failing this, that, or the other thing has the above line in it.

    Anyway, these corporations must know that the money spent trying to educate most blacks to be engineers or chemists is a lost cause. I believe they just file it under “PR” rather than “educational grants” and play the PC role.

    Even worse, society as a whole has been further harmed when it comes to the study of science and math – as the article touches on in an oblique way.

    By accepting liberal dogma and being pushed into college and demanding degrees, unqualified blacks have ended up getting a disproportionate number of degrees in education. They flooded the field because there is a huge variation in quality because of subjective grading.

    On top of that, it often leads to government jobs where blacks can do nothing for 25 years while the school system where they are employed collapses.

    Knowing nothing about science or math but over-represented in public education, black “educators” impart no hard science skills to young people of any color. Everyone loses.

    That’s why home schooling / private schooling is a must for whites.

  • Anonymous

    This country is falling apart. And it is still chasing and tripping over each other after mythical high IQ blacks. Pathetic. The delusion will only end when this country is no more and reality is finally backed into place as when this country was just being founded. The Founding Fathers had no delusions regarding the abilities of blacks.

  • Anoop

    In the world of atoms and numbers, does the color of the person who studies them really matter?

    My answer to this question is that you see MANY dark-skinned people from India in the sciences, most of whom have skin darker than your average ‘African-American’ (who has about 20 percent white blood anyway).

    The difference is that we Indians have the same brains as Caucasians; the only difference between us and them is our ‘skin color.’ With Africans, the differences run much deeper.

    I bet if you took all the ‘dark skinned’ engineers in America, 95 percent would be of Indian or Pakistani extraction and and less than 1 percent would be black. This is despite the fact that African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population and South Asians make up just under 1 percent of the U.S. population.

    Of course, the liberal media, who is obsessed with Blacks and Hispanics, completely ignore us despite the fact that your average American can’t tell the difference between a very dark skinned South Indian and a Black person because they have been brainwashed into thinking race is synonymous with the ‘color of one’s skin.’

  • Charles Weiss

    In all of my Calculus and Physics classes, I’ve seen two blacks. (They were both female) “The answer turns out to be a complex equation of self-doubt, stereotypes, discouragement and economics…”

    I have self-doubt sometimes. I get discouraged too, but it hasn’t stopped me yet. Stereotypes??? What??? Also, sorry, economics is not a valid excuse.

  • Stick

    There may be ‘Declining Numbers of Blacks Seen in Math, Science’ but the one area they seem to be doing really well in is supplying inmates to prisons.

  • noneknown

    It must be widely known in the STEM fields that blacks simply cannot make the grade. The evidence screams at you!!!

    In addition, one need only look to Africa; nothing of any importance to Civilization has come out of sub-saharan Africa!

    So, the only reason that these STEM programs continue is that “progressives” must still have enough clout to cause these grants, etc to continue. As funding necessarily gets tighter and tighter, I predict that we will see a reduction in funding for these wasteful endeavors.

    For now, though, the charade continues.

  • Bandmo

    In my US Navy days, we would have training every Thursday afternoon on F-14 airplane systems, engines for me. Very simple, just sit there for 2 hours and pay attention, then take a 20 question test on what you were just TOLD. If anybody failed it they were required to go in on Saturday (usually a day off) for a “make-up”. Seems the only ones that managed to fail the test were the blacks, so of course “they” claimed racism. Know how they fixed that? They did away with the training.

  • Anonymous

    Years ago, body surfing in Atlantic,popped my shoulder out. Emergency room, black dr.put it back in(sort of). Result:Avascular necrosis.A simple proceedure screwed up by an affirmative action baby. Run from black incompetents.Assume that they are incompetent: let them prove otherwise.

  • ice

    “Declining Numbers of Blacks Seen in Math, Science?

    The sciences and are the most difficult for blacks to understand.

    How many blacks did you see in your beginning math class only to have them drop out after a couple of weeks or so?

    This article is written probably by one of the VERY few blacks who can write on that level; however, he espouses the same mindless drivel about black ability, desperately trying to convince his readers that the paucity of blacks in more difficult subjects is not because they just don’t have the intelligence to understand any of it, which is EXACTLY the reason blacks are not included.

    Too, I suspect AA grading could be getting less favorable to blacks nowadays, so if they can’t complete the work in a substandard matter and get a passing grade, like they can in education and law, they lose interest in it.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    In the world of atoms and numbers, does the color of the person who studies them really matter?

    Yes. When it’s the military, the equipment is high tech and using it improperly means the difference between life and death. There is a GOOD reason the military uses the ASVAB to sort out recruits by intelligence.

    Keep in mind that all of this funding to create some sort of magical black/white balance means that this same funding is NOT available to deserving white students.

    Tim in Indiana

    Tim:

    You have no idea how much this pains me to see every day in the schools! Bright White children floundering in classes of 40+ with the near retarded while the teacher uses 3rd grade material to “differentiate instruction” (don’t ask).

    Blacks are given science and math mentors, hooked up with engineering and other science firms, taken on tours, given unlimited tutoring and help, their progress monitored. NONE OF this is available for White children and is a tremendous amount of money wasted on those who do not have the aptitude for math or science past a 3rd grade level.

    Tim– my dad came out of the corn fields of Indiana, beyond dirt-poor, and was able to attend Purdue because it was FREE for Indiana state residents at the time. He eventually finished a PhD in physics. I’ve often wondered if this would be possible today; I don’t believe it is — given that roadblocks are thrown up in front of intelligent White students while blacks and hispanics are handed EVERYTHING on a platter.

    Charles Murray writes that the SAT was DESIGNED to find “diamonds in the rough” (his words) — as a way for poor boys from Iowa like himself to compete with elite prep school students in the East — allowed him to attend Harvard. At the time the SAT was an aptitude test, NOT the achievement test it is today, dumbed down so blacks and hispanics could compete with Whites (HA!!).

    This hurts all of us, all in an effort to prove that “race doesn’t matter,” while actually proving the exact opposite.

    Someone needs to put a stop to it — I don’t know how, the mantra “race doesn’t matter”, “No IQ differences between the races” is so deeply entrenched.

    Bon

  • Philly Gal

    THANK YOU, MAJ (Poster #18) for saying something that has needed saying for years. A recent study has concluded that the drive to enroll African-Americans in college Education programs – and afterwards, as teachers in our nation’s classrooms – has been remarkably successful. The percentage of black instructors helming our country’s schoolrooms has indeed grown by leaps and bounds these past few decades.

    What a coincidence that AT THE VERY SAME TIME, our curriculums have become watered-down travesties, our test scores are the shame of the international community, our best teachers are fleeing the classrooms en masse, and teaching as a profession now ranks somewhere between manure scooper and crash test dummy as a desirable occupation!

    Not that the fed gov hacks who legislated this disaster upon our children actually have to pay the price for their perfidy. After all, THEIR children are enrolled in vine-covered private schools.

    Until recently, 50% of all teachers fled the profession within 3-to-5 years. Evidence suggests that today, this “drop out” rate has climbed much higher. Even more disconcerting than sheer numbers, however, is the fact that those who leave teaching take with them the highest college GPA’s and the most direly needed disciplines (Math, Science, Special Education.) What’s left behind is an army of older white teachers who grit their teeth while counting out the number of days left till their retirement – and legions of minority instructors like the Math teacher(actually, my department Chair) who “reminded” me during a classroom observation that a scalene triangle had 360 degrees. THIS is why teaching has become an occupation for losers, and why no contemporary college student with any awareness whatsoever chooses it for a profession.

    And this is what breaks my heart.

  • John Engelman

    Science, technology, engineering and math are not courses where one can bluff one’s way to an A by repeating the opinions of the professor. The answer to a question is either right or wrong.

  • Lauren

    But look on the bright side! The nations which aspire to assume America’s place in the world, and the Races which fantasize that they can competently replace Northwest Europeans, are greatly advantaged by having blacks gumming-up the workings of ALL of America…even to its highest and most crucial offices and disciplines.

    The victory of these foreign interests, in having engineered the replacement of the American People, is not complete, if there remain in America a competent and cohesive Cognitive Elite. This is why I suspect that the hidden hands, guiding the thrusting of Diversity into STEM careers, belong to foreigners.

  • Lilith Whyte

    The Down’s Syndrome community is highly under-represented as well. Merck can throw 10’s of millions of dollars to elevate them, but they’ll have the same result for the same reason.

  • Michigan Patriot

    Why doesn’t Hollywood’s great scientist, Morgan ( I hate Whitey ) Freeman start a black equivalent of M.I.T. ? Surely with his vastly superior intellectual knowledge, copying the curriculum of a pre-existing ,White created, scientific university would be a ” piece of cake ” .Plagerism is o.k.and strongly recommended; just asked the family of M.L.K.,jr. .

  • Seek

    Keep in mind that this article appeared in Newsmax, an avowedly conservative news organization. Why is the Right peddling such nonsense?

  • Oldwhitedevil

    Just briefly. I know a few young men who’ve gone into this STEM stuff, and believe me, after seeing the textbooks and rigorous schedule they had to keep up with, I was amazed these boys didn’t lose their minds or become drunks. You not only better have half a brain to tackle this curriculum, but also the drive and perseverance to work extremely hard in the area of homework and test preparation. The trick was to have a solid science and math background from high school to jettison you into these fields of study. The classes are so hectic and demanding that remedial work barely leads the way for those who simply weren’t smart enough to make the grade in the first place. For them it’s like carrying four jugs of water barefoot across hot coals instead of two. And that goes for any skin color. The companies want only the cream of the crop baby. The best minds. I know one or two who’ve hit that zenith and prestige as such a young age. When they say a profession is dominated by those of European or Asian descent, there’s good reason for it, and it’s not privilege and bias acceptance. Keep in mind that only one out of four or five will finish four years of college, and fewer reach their Masters or PhD, now a prerequisite to most entry-level positions in the private sector. And I thought Accounting was hard!

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, increasing numbers of blacks in White neighborhood in Macon, Ga., cause danger. Fortunately, Whites respond by shutting down Halloween tradition.

    http://www.macon.com/2011/10/25/1758323/trick-or-treat-out-for-some-on.html

  • Paul

    Anoop:

    Yes, I work with MANY Indian engineers and for the most part, they are quite intelligent and competent. They are the proof of the pudding that race does NOT equal skin color. One of my close co workers is Tamil and he’s is darker than any Black person I met. When I was having lunch with him, the Black waitress mistook him for a “brutha” until he opened his mouth and spoke with an Indian accent. I could tell she was really disappointed.

  • noneknown

    @32: Newsmax, to my mind, is not exactly conservative. I would call it avowedly neo-conservative.

    The neo-cons have been infiltrating the Right for well over 30 years, and have successfully co-opted the republican party. If you study their pedigree, you will be led directly to the Trotskyites (international communism). This explains (to me ) the drive by the republicans to foment all of these recent “wars to spread democracy” around the world.

    It has become complicated.

  • Shawn (the female)

    Why aren’t more African Americans looking toward science, technology, engineering and math – the still hiring careers known as STEM?

    Because it requires going to school even after the age of 16 and for more than just the drugs and free food.

  • Anonymous

    Reportedly, the “whispering” with the old USSR about low Black

    IQ and genes, arose in part from the observations over time that Africans coming to the prestigious Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow were a week bit “pygmy” in their level of success in math especially.

  • Anonymous

    As a counter example , I did work with an engineering co-op from Kenya attending school in the US. He was technically proficient as any Asian student. Being new to to the country and needing to find an apartment, he asked me how to tell if a neighborhood was bad or not. I couldn’t say that if you see a lot of blacks, the neighborhood is bad. Beating around the bush, I said “Do you see a lot of graffiti? Are there a lot of kids hanging out on the street?”

  • Turtle

    This is a bit late, but the reason for the low numbers of blacks and latinos in STEM is related to the 50% plus high school drop- out rate nationally. If half of your population are dropouts that likely can’t read or do math at grade level, of course that will be reflected in lower numbers of potential STEM majors. Do the math. Wait, they can’t. Never mined.

  • Murgatroyd

    @OldWhiteDevil:

    The trick was to have a solid science and math background from high school to jettison you into these fields of study. The classes are so hectic and demanding that remedial work barely leads the way for those who simply weren’t smart enough to make the grade in the first place.

    It’s all about the IQ, baby!

    No amount of study can overcome an IQ deficit when it comes to the higher maths. One must be able to extrapolate and put things together in a unique way, to “think outside the box” when maths become esoteric.

    I’d say at a bare minimum, 130 is needed to “get” applied maths, physics and upper division sciences. For success, 140 +, is needed, in the near-genius range.

    These fields of study are certainly not for those with double digit IQs.

    Ask Mr. Gates: “I must have heard Mr. Gates mention ‘IQ’ a hundred times. The obsession with smarts is embedded deep in Mr. Gates’s thinking and long ago was institutionalized at Microsoft. Apply for a job and you’ll face an oral grilling that probes for IQ. It is oral and informal because of Griggs v. Duke Power… But Microsoft knows what it wants. It wants IQ. And Microsoft always has been savvy at getting what it wants.”

  • ProudtobeWhite

    Blacks don’t have the self-discipline to learn complex tasks or do homework, when they would rather be playin’ b-ball and listening to rap. Even if a brilliant black came up with an afro-centric form of math, and called it negonometry or whatever, and it was taught only by black teachers, black kids still wouldn’t learn it. As long as they believe that getting an education is “acting white” they will always remain stupid as a race…

  • ChemE

    Sorry for late posting. I agree with 42 — Murgatroyd that IQ is more important than high school preparation, although good preparation certainly helps. After high school I was able to get hold of my high school records and found a number of test results indicating that my IQ was in the neighborhood of 130. Actually, depending on the particular test, it ranged from 119 to 142. Remember that there will always be some degree of test error.

    My experience going though school was that people either “got” math, to varying degrees, or they didn’t, and it was evident at an early age. It was always easy for me, and I simply couldn’t comprehend how others couldn’t see what I saw. Likewise there were some things I was not so good at, such as elucidating themes of written works. That’s why I didn’t become an English major.

    Nevertheless, even with my IQ, I did get to a level that began to challenge my intellectual prowess, and I recognized that I was not Ph.D. material. That’s where you really see the differences among the races, because it is at the extreme end of the IQ distribution. Look at who wins Field’s Medals in mathematics or Nobel Prizes in physics or chemistry to see what extremely capable looks like.