GSE Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

November 2006


Tariq Dixon and Bryan Barnhill II, both juniors at Harvard University, share a variety of common characteristics, including race and gender. The two black male undergraduates maintain 3.6 cumulative grade point averages, are extremely active on campus and hold leadership positions in multiple student organizations, and aspire to attend law schools upon completion of their bachelor's degrees. Perhaps more interesting are the circumstances from which they emerged. Some may erroneously assume that all Harvard students come from privileged socioeconomic backgrounds and high resource preparatory schools, which is far from true.


Reprinted with permission. Published in Focus: Magazine of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Volume 34, Issue 6, November 2006.
Publisher URL:

Note: At the time of publication, the author, Shaun R. Harper, was affiliated with the Pennsylvania State University. Currently, he is a faculty member in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.



Date Posted: 29 September 2008