The Review of Black Political Economy

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 357–371

The Persistent Myths of “Acting White” and Race Neutral Alternatives to Affirmative Action in Admissions


DOI: 10.1007/s12114-014-9188-8

Cite this article as:
Andrews, R.J. & Swinton, O.H. Rev Black Polit Econ (2014) 41: 357. doi:10.1007/s12114-014-9188-8


This paper discusses the persistent myths that cloud our understanding of two politically charged themes that have been featured in discussions of the educational outcomes of Blacks: "Acting White" and Race Neutral Alternatives to Affirmative Action in postsecondary admissions. We discuss research that shows that the "Acting White" hypothesis fails both theoretically and empirically to explain differences in educational outcomes between blacks and whites. We provide evidence that race neutral alternatives to admissions in higher education are both less effective and less efficient in producing racially diverse cohorts. Policy recommendations that heed the myths that rather than follow the facts are likely to be injurious to those that they seek to aid.


Acting white Affirmative action Education 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economic, Political, and Policy SciencesThe University of Texas at Dallas and NBERDallasTexas
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsHoward UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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