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Black Women…The Most Educated Group in U.S.?? [Op-Ed]

I recently read a report entitled, “Black Women Have Become The Most Educated Group In The U.S.” I read the title with a hint of disbelief and a hope of pride to draw from it. Questions ran through my head; “What? When did this happen? Nuuh. Where is the proof?” The article began by stating, According to The National Center for Education Statistics, black women have recently emerged as the most educated population of people by race and gender in the United States. That makes them a powerful force in the political and business world… Among U.S. residents, Black females earned 68 percent of associate’s degrees, 66 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 71 percent of master’s degrees, and 65 percent of all doctor’s degrees awarded to Black students.”  Mislead by the first sentence mentioning “by race and gender”, I was excited until I noticed the “awarded to Black students” statement in the last sentence. Truth is, black women becoming the most educated group in the U.S. is an exaggeration.

Here is the real deal. The National Center for Education Statistics actually shows that black women are ahead only other minorities and their male counterparts. The white population gaining an education beyond high school is many times greater than the black population combined. Seeing as how the black population size is often right behind the white population size in statistics, black women have not made it very far in comparison. The results for education in STEM specifically are not much better. However, it is true that black women are on the rise in education. To see the stats yourself, visit https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72 and the STEM link below the chart. They are not as encouraging as the article title mentioned before would have you to believe.

Ironically, those statistics encourage me to encourage you reader, to force a change in these statistics, to increase the number of not only black women, but black men who advance their education. I encourage you to help make the title of that article more believable and true. As a black woman, I understand we cannot change the population size so vastly so quickly, nor can we force anyone to attend an institution of higher learning, but we can encourage, we can enlighten, we can uplift others to do so, whether it’s in politics, psychology or a STEM field.  We can be an example for youth to follow in our footsteps and not make graduating high school our only expectation, our black males especially. In the meantime, it is good to see the song becoming reality, that “sisters are doin’ it for themselves.”


This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Cynthia Sharpe. Her bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!

Cynthia M. Sharpe, is a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson

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