Filmmaker and social activist Janks Morton has launched a new online campaign, Ten Days of Black Facts, which aims to dispel commonly held myths about the black community. The first four facts have worked to undo popular ideas about the number of black men in jail versus the number of black men in college (the latter is higher); the number of black women enrolled in college versus the numbers for women of other races (also higher); and the ratio of black women in college to black men in college (the gap isn’t nearly as wide as is often suggested).
By and large, the feedback Morton has received for his facts has been positive. But some detractors have left comments challenging the veracity of his stats and making snide comments about qualifiers that should also be mentioned and that would negatively impact the positive numbers. For instance, when he states that 9.4 percent of black women are enrolled in college, one commenter retorts, “Show me the graduation rates.” Another quips about a spike in student loan debt. The contesting of Morton’s stats as presented has prompted him to post a popular Franz Fanon quote from Black Skin, White Masks:
Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore, and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.
Primarily, Morton has used the most recent U.S. Census stats from the American Community Survey to validate his numbers. Here are a few of his findings:
What do you think of Morton’s campaign? Are those who challenge the conclusions he’s reached experiencing cognitive dissonance?