A professor at the University of Texas has sparked controversy following remarks that black students are failing academically because so many are raised in single parent households.
In an interview with BBC’s Radio 4, law professor Lino Graglia said “I can hardly imagine a less beneficial or more deleterious experience than to be raised by a single parent,” Graglia said. “Usually a female, uneducated and without a lot of money.”
He went onto to say, on average, prospective black college students score 200 points lower than their white counterparts in SAT tests. According to the 82-year-old almost three-quarters of black children are born outside of marriage, which stifles their success.
Graglia made his comments to Chicago-based, British born journalist, Gary Younge, as part of a special report on affirmative action in the States. “How well do these kids do in maths and reading is basically it and they do less well,” he said. “And race or segregation or history wouldn’t matter one bit if that was not the case.”
“No doubt the race and segregation may have a lot to do why that’s the case, but it is the case and what to do about it now? “ He added, “And admitting them into selective schools with large gaps in qualification is not the answer.”
The outspoken professor was slightly ruffled when BBC interviewer, Younge, pointed out that he himself was black man and raised in a single parent family. “From listening to you and knowing what you are and what you’ve done, I suspect you’re rather more smart,” Graglia said. “My guess would be that you are above usual smartness – for whites, to say nothing of blacks.”
Graglia has a long history of racially-controversial remarks. In 1997, he was accused of racism after telling a conservative student group that black and Mexican-American cultures “set children up for failure”. He said: “They have a culture that seems not to encourage achievement. Failure is not looked upon with disgrace.”
At the time the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) demanded he resign issuing a resolution which stated: ‘Graglia believes that minority students come from a culture of failure.”
“He knows nothing of our culture and has never crawled down from his ivory tower to find out,” added LULAC. “His lack of respect for the students who sit in his classes is unacceptable. His contempt for our leaders is intolerable.”
Ironically, the University of Texas is currently in a legal battle with a white student it rejected who claims that the school’s affirmative action program is to blame for her having to go to a second-rate college.
Abigail Fisher, 22, has taken her claim to the Supreme Court Fisher saying she was denied entrance into U.T. because she is white.
Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti