Despite their diversity, Black Americans have long been studied as a uniformly disadvantaged group. Drawing from a representative sample of over a thousand Black students and in-depth interviews and focus groups with over one hundred more, Young, Gifted and Diverse highlights diversity among the new educated Black elite—those graduating from America’s selective colleges and universities in the early twenty-first century.
Differences in childhood experiences shape this generation, including their racial and other social identities and attitudes, and beliefs about and interactions with one another. While those in the new Black elite come from myriad backgrounds and have varied views on American racism, as they progress through college and toward the Black professional class they develop a shared worldview and group consciousness. They graduate with optimism about their own futures, but remain guarded about racial equality more broadly. This internal diversity alongside political consensus among the elite complicates assumptions about both a monolithic Black experience and the future of Black political solidarity.
About Professor Charles
Camille Zubrinsky Charles is Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Social Sciences in the Department of Sociology, Graduate School of Education, and the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests are in the areas of urban inequality, racial attitudes and intergroup relations, racial residential segregation, minorities in higher education, and racial identity.