This is an article about a study concerning "Acting White" by Roland G. Fryer.
I'm going to hunt down another one that is referenced in this article.
My analysis confirms that acting white is a vexing reality within a
subset of American schools. It does not allow me to say whose fault
this is, the studious youngster or others in his peer group. But I do
find that the way schools are structured affects the incidence of the
acting-white phenomenon. The evidence indicates that the social
disease, whatever its cause, is most prevalent in racially integrated
public schools. It’s less of a problem in the private sector and in
predominantly black public schools.
With findings as potentially controversial as these, one wants to be sure that they rest on a solid base. In this regard, I am fortunate that the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Adhealth) provides information on the friendship patterns of a nationally representative sample of more than 90,000 students, from 175 schools in 80 communities, who entered grades 7 through 12 in the 1994 school year. With this database, it is possible to move beyond both the more narrowly focused ethnographic studies and the potentially misleading national studies based on self-reported indicators of popularity that have so far guided the discussion of acting white.
The patterns described thus far essentially characterize social dynamics of public-school students, who constitute 94 percent of the students in the Adhealth sample. For the small percentage of black and Hispanic students who attend private school, however, I find no evidence of a trade-off between popularity and achievement (see Figure 2). Surprisingly, white private-school students with the highest grades are not as popular as their lower-achieving peers. The most-popular white students in private schools have a GPA of roughly 2.0, a C average.
I also find that acting white is unique to those schools where black students comprise less than 80 percent of the student population. In predominantly black schools, I find no evidence at all that getting good grades adversely affects students’ popularity.
plausible it sounds, the oppositional culture theory cannot explain why
the acting-white problem is greatest in integrated settings. If Fordham
and Ogbu were correct, the social sanctions for acting white should be
most severe in places like the segregated school, where opportunities
are most limited. The results of my studies, of course, point in
precisely the opposite direction.
The notion that acting white is simply attributable to self-sabotage is even less persuasive. According to its proponents, black and Hispanic cultures are dysfunctional, punishing successful members of their group rather than rewarding their success. That theory is more a judgment than an explanation. A universal, it cannot explain the kinds of variations from one school setting to another that are so apparent in the data I have explored.
This is a link to the PDF of the study.
Here is a link to an earlier study by Ludwig and Cook that is referenced by Fryer.