Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 December 2018
In United States v. Fordice (1992), the Supreme Court recognized the effects of past racial discrimination against historically black institutions (HBIs) in Mississippi. One goal of the 500 million settlement is for HBIs to enroll “other-race” students. Although the impetus to attract white students falls on HBIs, the response of Mississippi's white community is pivotal. In a series of focus groups with white students, we inquired into the factors that might motivate them to attend an HBI. The data demonstrate that most white students strongly resist the notion of attending a predominately black institution. They articulate such reasons as perceived poor academic quality, social discomfort, anticipated discrimination, and parental disapproval. Further, they cannot imagine how HBIs might recruit white students and generally doubt that improved programs and facilities would achieve this goal. The current framework surrounding Fordice does not consider sufficiently the importance of these racial attitudes. We thus conclude with a discussion of the likely difficulties in implementing the Court's decision.