The Agony of Education: Black Students at a White University by Joe R. Feagin,Â Hernan Vera, andÂ Nikitah Imani (Taylor & Francis, 1996)Â is a hard book to read. I noted that it has a 1996 copyright and has probably sat on my “unread books” pile for the best part of a decade. The book chronicles the struggles of black students at a predominantly white, large State University that is not identified. The big question for me in reading this book is whether to accept the “racialized society” approach in analyzing the experience of black students. This sees white students as insensitive and at least latently racist, university structures as unfriendly to blacks and favorable to whites, and university administrators and faculty (mostly white) as perpetuators of this system, despite their liberal pretensions.
The evidence of this study makes a strong case for all these structures being in place and making the experience of blacks in such institutions one of agony. Students experience differential treatment from advisors and faculty, are assumed to be there simply because of affirmative action rather than ability, and often get the subtle message of “not welcome here.” [Read more…] about Book Review: The Agony of Education