If a White student claims to be part African-American on his college applications..

How can the schools check? Can they accuse you of lying? Can they demand some sort of DNA test? Have you heard about people who have done this? Race is all about self-identification anyhow. I don’t see why you can’t conveniently choose to be African-American for College application purposes and choose not to be when it doesn’t suit you. If they ask for a photograph, can you use Photoshop to darken your skin a little bit?

The point of all this is to demonstrate how obnoxious it is for a school to ask about race in the first place.

I don’t think they’d need a DNA test, just a family history.

In the US, the race question at the college level is statistical information only.

None of the HBCUs officially discriminate based on race. (Although there are single gender schools. But lying about gender is not the OP’s question.) And most HBCUs have good size white populations. A few are even white majority now. But there are a few schools that are almost exclusively African-American.

But it can be a bit tricky, off the record. E.g., they can ask about your intentions in participating in the furthering of African-American education, etc. Smart people know that this means you start off with “As an African-American, …” But as the OP notes, there is no official check.

Once in college, there is weird peer pressure along subtle lines. The conflict between the two groups in Spike Lee’s School Daze is real, but not so overt. And there are other subgroups. Actual African students are routinely treated badly by American students, as are those who come from areas where mono-culturalism is not expected.

So a white student passing for black will have a very unpleasant experience. (As well as others that don’t “fit in” for one reason or another.)

Note that scholarships (awarded by someone else) have their own rules, but that’s another topic.

According to my mother who used to work in HR for many years, when it comes to job applications, you can identify yourself as whatever race you want to.

Not sure if the same applies to colleges.
(This information told to me back in the 80’s sometime, so not sure if things have changed since then.)

This sounds like it could be a movie. Anyone know where C. Thomas Howell is?

A college might have a small number of admissions officers checking thousands of applications. They don’t have time to investigate your genealogy, and if they have doubts about your honesty, they just won’t accept you.

I guess they’d check in the cafeteria to see if you eat at one of the black tables or one of the white tables.

A number of ways. Googling your name to get your Facebook or Instagram account, checking against any other place you may have identified your race (eg. SAT), an interview, someone ratting you out, etc.

Yes, and since it’s not a court of law, they don’t really need indisputable evidence. More than likely though, they will just ask you to verify and confirm the information, which you most likely cannot do.

Anecdotally I have. Elizabeth Warren comes to mind, but I think that was just her teaching bio. Also, race is more than self-identification.

Because race is considered to be an immutable characteristic.

I suppose you could do all that for the marginal benefit it may provide in very limited circumstances, but you would be much better off just spending that time becoming a more sought after student.

Or if you are just committed to being a dirtbag, there are more effective and much easier ways to cheat. You can falsify and emboss a fake transcript. You can claim you played multiple sports well or that you did more extracurriculars. You can locate former grads of the school online, and claim that you are related to them on your app. You can bribe someone to take the SAT for you. The point being that if you are wiling to lie, cheat, and steal to get into a college, there

Why is it obnoxious? Do you think being an URM has an affect on your life? If so, why shouldn’t colleges attempt to account for that in addition to trying to achieve diversity.

At the school where I work, there’s no check or follow up. What are we going to do? In fact, I’ve sometimes wondered why there’s never been an organized civil disobedience type action based on this – probably because applicants generally WANT to be admitted and are cautious about messing up during the admissions process.

One exception might be if you were admitted, enrolled, and then went public with a big HA HA HA declaration about how you made a false claim. The college might decide to follow up on its right to revoke your student status based on the fact that you admitted to lying yet still signed the application acknowledging that all information provided was true (that’s the fairly universal fine print when you submit). That’s still iffy, though, the college would evaluate if it would get more negative attention by pursuing the issue. It would probably depend on how you were spinning your reasoning. To demonstrate that race is a false construct? Eh, sure, discussions of the role of perceived race in society are pretty standard in an academic environment. But if you did it because you hate African-AMerican people and were attempting to “take a space” intended for an African-American student, as a private institution we could decide you don’t agree with our values and action would be taken to separate you from the university.

It was also something she’d been told by her family.

I really don’t know that he would have made the eight if he was Kevin Ennis from Brainerd, MN.

His qualifications sound pretty standard compared to most preppy high schoolers.

I claimed to be a black student for a while. I didn’t give them my race when I applied, because although I support affirmative action to help right historical wrongs, I don’t like the concept of race as it’s used by the government. What can I say, I was an Anthro major at Berkeley.

Anyway, at one point the system wouldn’t let me register for classes unless I chose a race. I chose “African American” in protest of the system that wouldn’t (a) let me remain uncategorized or else (b) choose my actual ethnicity over my “race” assigned by others. Then I discovered that once chosen, you can’t change it.

I didn’t mind being considered black by the bureaucracy, but I did have a problem misrepresenting myself. It was surprisingly difficult to get it changed back, and when I did, they insisted I was white. (I wanted to be “no race selected.”)

I haven’t known of anyone to do it in college, but tons of people used to do it in Seattle in primary and secondary school, because we used to use race as a factor when assigning schools, and some white parents wanted their kids to go to the really white schools, and you’d have a better chance of getting into a white school if you were black (this is no longer the case). My sister and I were “Native American” for that reason. It was completely based on your word. They had a form you could fill out to change it at any time (theoretically, anyway…when my daughter started school someone checked the wrong box and put her down as Other Asian and I later filled out the form to change it but somehow it didn’t take even though I handed it directly to an employee who supposedly changed it on their computer right then. I never bothered to try again, so as far as the school district is concerned, she’s Asian).

I don’t know how you could “prove it” anyway. My kids are mixed race,and could pass as Italian, Romanian, Mexican or Native American. Probably a dozen or two others. So they honestly check Mexican and Native American on their application. No one questions it, but what if they did? "My mother is Hispanic? Prove it. “Well, her mother is Hispanic and her father too.” Prove it. "How can I prove my grandparents were Hispanic, or Chinese, or anything else? Actually, Native American is probably the one than can be established since most recognized tripes have enrollment standards.

There is no similar enrollment for African American, Mexican, or Asian heritage that I’m aware of.

So, check any box you want to. College runs largely on the honor system anyway.

There are substantial amount of scholarships awarded with race as the key criteria.

That’s nice. Now for the rest of your life, particularly in seeking employment, pretend to be white, or else you *will *be discriminated against.

Yea this, I’ve been told my son looks whiter than I am(as long as his hair is short).:slight_smile:

Anecdotally, I know of 2 people who fudged about their race on their application. One was a South African girl who was white and claimed African American and the other claimed hispanic though his mother is 2nd generation European Spanish. Both got into prominent universities and now hold very well paying jobs. I think in a couple of years this would be an anachronism as different races intermarry and the plurality of people will be “mixed”.

It’s already becoming a large identity problem for 1st gen mixed race children. If someone is black and anything, they default to black. Black-carrib, black-hispanic, black-white, black-asian all come from drastically different backgrounds and I think it’s stupid to lump them all into a single monolithic group even for “statistical purposes”.

Until a few years ago, University of Michigan had an affirmative action admissions policy.

All of which raises the question: how black must an applicant be in order to qualiify for race-based admission or scholarships? is one drop enough?

:smiley: