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News & Events:
Wax Exhorts Blacks to Take Responsibility for Academic Success
1

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SHORTLY AFTER WRITING a commentary piece in The Wall Street Journal about black underachievement in schools, Professor of Law Amy Wax defended her position.

Speaking to the Black Law Students Association in February, Wax said African Americans must take responsibility for improving their academic performance.

“The educational achievement gap will close only when and if black students, families and leaders acknowledge that they themselves are doing something wrong,” said Wax. “What they’re doing is not working.”

Wax, who teaches Social Welfare Law & Policy and Law and Economics of Work and Family, dismissed poverty, bad schools, and inadequate resources as the sole reasons for the gap between white and black students, saying that they fail to explain why middle class black high school children in good schools do much worse on SATs than those from white families.

“Yet the received wisdom tells us we must continue to blame poverty, disadvantage, poor schools, lack of money for education and the like, even when these explanations do not hold up anymore,” said Wax.

To be sure, Wax acknowledged that blacks have been harmed by racism and discrimination, but argued that the wrongs cannot be undone by the culprits, white society. At some point, she said, blacks must stop perpertuating the effects of past injustices they suffered by looking for government-inspired solutions to what have become self-inflicted problems.
 
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