The Black Bruins Of UCLA Speak Out Against Lack of Minority Representation At The University

14 comments
November 10, 2013 ‐ By Drenna Armstrong

They represent the official black student union group at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). They are angry and members of the Black Bruins have come forward to expose something that is lacking at the university: racial diversity.  Led by Sy Stokes, these young black men want to see change and for them, it starts with a recently posted video on Youtube.

In an explosive video narrated by Stokes (who is of Black, Cherokee Indian and Chinese descent) and backed by 10 black male students, current statistics were unleashed regarding the enrollment and graduation rates of African-Americans, and specifically black men, at UCLA.

Posted by The Huffington Post:

“According to the school’s enrollment statistics, African-Americans make up 3.8 percent of the student population. In the video, Stokes points out that black males make up 3.3 percent of the male student population, and that 65 percent of those black males are undergraduate athletes. Of the incoming men in the freshmen class, only 1.9 percent of them were black.”

Stokes admitted that he wanted to leave the university during his freshman year because he wasn’t comfortable there. While he eventually found a community to call “his own,” Sy Stokes knew that it was time to bring awareness to the lack of enrollment of minorities. That’s how the ideo of the video was introduced to other members of the Black Bruins.

The vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Janina Montero sent a statement to The Daily Bruin, UCLA’s newspaper, in response to an interview Stokes did with them. in It, she says:

“We certainly recognize that the low numbers of African Americans and other underrepresented students on campus does lead to a sense of isolation and invisibility. It is difficult to eliminate this painful imbalance without considering race in the admissions process.”

Affirmative Action was deemed unlawful in California back in 1996.

Stokes says he has received negative comments and hate mail since posting the video but he’s fine with it.

“It doesn’t matter how much hate I get, just as long as someone is talking about it.”

Make sure you check out the video. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  • Aaron

    You can’t blame UCLA of the lack of diversity. Stop being bias and look around. There are Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Laotian, Hmong, Thai, Pinoy, and many others. How is that lack of diversity again? I always thought African Americans wanted to be seen as individuals and not a group. Well “Asians” do as well. His argument is invalid due to his ignorance on statistics for other races. The percentage for Hmong male students getting into UCLA is just as bad if not worst compared to blacks and you don’t see them complaining about it. Instead of making a video hoping to get some attention, reach out to high school students and encourage them to take school more seriously.

  • ChasT

    And this if why HBCU’s were created!

  • guest

    I read the article and didn’t see anything that said, “Despite a large applicant pool, Black students are few and far between on UCLA’s campus.” So my question is: Is the low enrollment a product of low numbers of Black applicants, or has there been a concerted effort on UCLA’s part to purposely keep out Black students??

    Just my observation:

    When young Black teenagers are having baby after baby after baby, college becomes a more difficult (not impossible, but definitely more difficult) goal to realize.

    When young high school students have the mindset that getting an education is “acting white” or “being a sellout,” college is not usually on their To-Do list.

    When young males are consciously making the choice to join gangs and/or commit crimes (no matter how ‘petty’), college becomes yet another far-off dream, if not a closed door altogether.

    We all know white folks will discriminate and use every obstacle they can find to put in our way. But sometimes, WE are our biggest obstacle. There IS such a thing as personal responsibility. All I’m saying is let’s lay blame where it actually belongs. Truth is truth . . .

    • guest

      Both sides get blame then. And this video is just pointing out the ONE side we know to be true. Spectacular video… because we all know.. starting on third base will get you to a home run faster than still having to sit in the dugout!! Great vid!

    • Blks always labeled the prob

      I love how you have placed the blame and responsibility for being so few Blacks at UCLA on Black students. As a Black female PhD student (not as proof to be an authority, but to demonstrate my length of institutionalization), I can tell you there’s nothing personal about school, nothing.

      Should 16-18 year old Black students have the responsibility to change to fit the “institution of higher education”? Or should higher ed be open for everyone?

      You observe baby after baby, acting white, and gang participation. That does not summarize nor conclude young Black students.

      Let me tell you what I observe:

      Privilege:
      - parents who can drop $2000 for SAT or ACT classes
      - parents who can pay for multiple SAT or ACT tests
      - public schools that are funded by the tax dollars of that neighborhood (so if your in a poor neighborhood, your likely to go to a poor school with poor teachers, poor resources, and receive a poor education).

      Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism:
      - your name is not standard (read White) enough (ex. Jamal and LaKeisha)
      - what you value as important characteristics or traits is undervalued by white privilege (taking care of younger siblings, working multiple jobs, creativity, etc)

      At the end of the day, if you do not understand institutional racism, you will always blame these young people, there will always be something wrong with Black people, culture, language, and history.

      FYI: the question should be why is there a low enrollment of Blacks at UCLA, period. Not the size of the applicant pool, or “qualified” Blacks, neither consider all measures that go into school choice (ex. recruitment efforts, availability, “openness”, financial aid, scholarships, true diversity in classes, faculty and staff, and on campus, etc).

      • Ann

        The valedictorian at my school was black, had a black sounding name and did not have alot of money but you know what she did she WORK HARD WITH WHAT SHE HAD. She did all kinds of activities and got excellent grades and she got offered full rides to MANY schools including white ones and exclusive ones. I understand what you are saying but there is a point when you need to stop blaming everything on racism on start achieving. There where students at my school that fit the “black student” stereotype and mad fun of people like me and her that had honors classes and got good grades and stayed out of trouble. I went to a majority black school and the ones that got out and when to college where the ones that did the work and put in the effort, the ones that got no where are the ones that were not doing there work, failing, getting suspended, taking all the easiest classes ect.

        They got into all kinds of colleges some exclusive, some HBCUs, some private ect. My point racism does exists but it is not in everything and it is not going to hold you back unless you let it hold you back. the valedictorian and many student I know had their pick of schools of all types because they had the grades, activities, and test scores. And you do not need super expensive classes most high schools even the bad ones offer SAT prep courses free of charge… I took one the class was only half full, and you can buy many a book to study with, you can even borrow them from libraries. To many student at my school did not even know how to borrow a book form the library. I happened to live in a pretty well off area, so many of the students had the money but they made the CHOICE to not care about school and skip class and act a fool for no reason other than they wanted to be cool. They lived in $800,000 houses selling drugs, trying to act like they live in the inner city.Mentality is everything if you act like a failure you will be one if you act like a success you will be one. And I know people like this of all races just blacks, not as many whites got to college as people would like to think. I know many people with little money or privilege myself included that went to school.

  • Machone

    But there’s enough African Americans on their athletic teams….

  • Tonyoardee

    UCLA is a beautiful school, i was in LA last year visiting family and to get those cookies and didn’t see 1 black person. Its crazy that the only folks that look like me that go to that school are athletes, and i always here from the cali kids that their schools are near impossible to get into

  • rainbow

    They need to carry this message to the black community. It certainly is not the college’s fault. Black people need to demand more for themselves collectively and when that happens, the colleges will be filled with brown faces

    • guest

      Thank you. For a minute there, I was wondering if that thought had crossed anyone else’s mind . . .

  • word

    sorry to get basic on a serious post….but DANM there is NOTHING sexier that an educated black man…..nothing! give me one of those brother’s and I’d be good…

  • Veronica A Brown

    I applaud those who are not afraid to speak out and speak truth. Especially in regards to race and the lack of diversity in various aspects of our life’s such as universities, media etc; which is not by coincidence. I find it (for lack of a better word) interesting that society is more comfortable speaking about other struggles such as woman’s rights, sexuality, other ethnic groups perhaps. But when it comes to issues concerning black people, it is often felt that we should not talk about it or let it go, because some choose to feel uncomfortable. Why do issues concerning blacks make people so uncomfortable but other politics don’t?

    • Fair and Balanced

      This is America and many people do not want to face the negative history of this country which continues to breed inequality to this day. Perhaps if we could get rid of the race baiting from all parties involved things may get better but reality is nothing will change because no one truthfully wants to hear it especially those who are not being discriminated against.

  • E

    Damn… They hit on so many things here… As a young Black Latina who is a college professor I support them 100%