Education Scholar: 3 Most Frequently Assigned College Common Readings Are About Racism

Shutterstock/WAYHOME studio

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
Font Size:

The three most frequently assigned common readings for incoming freshmen at American colleges are all “about African Americans suffering from American racism,” according to a study discussed Thursday by an education scholar.

David Randall, Director of Communications for the National Association for Scholars, gave a lecture entitled “Beach Books: How universities are using summer reading lists to promote leftist activism” at the Hillsdale College Kirby Center, and also spoke with The Daily Caller News Foundation about left-wing indoctrination via summer reading.

Randall identified “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nahesi Coates, and “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore as the three most frequently assigned common readings, noting that while colleges pride themselves on diversity, the selections are often ideologically homogeneous. (RELATED: Study: Universities Use Reading Lists To Push Left-Wing Causes)

The scholar, who based his lecture on a study conducted by the National Association for Scholars, predicted that common readings for the 2017-2018 school year would encourage resistance to President Donald Trump, perhaps even going so far as to allude to assassination with works like “Julius Caesar.”

“Whatever freshmen read, it’s framed by the trinity of race, class, and gender,” Randall said during the lecture, before reflecting on the difficulty of the books, saying that colleges “assign books that are more appropriate for high school readers, or even middle school students.”

The scholar asserted that colleges rarely pick classic books for common readings, noting that 75 percent of common reading books selected by American colleges were published during or after 2010.

“Students are not prepared for college life unless we hold their hand for an entire year or two,” Randall said, speaking with TheDCNF about “First-Year Experience” programs at colleges. “And the hand holding is not just lowering the standards, but now…it will add all this politicized material.”

The scholar also discussed with TheDCNF whether the free market of college selection could dissuade universities from pushing progressive ideology.

“You have to sustain attention,” Randall said, referencing media coverage of Mizzou and The Evergreen State College. “If, after all, enrollment goes back to rising in Mizzou after a year or two, and people just hunker down and wait for the storm to go away, then they’ll just keep doing the same thing. So it has to be sustained attention, and I would not claim that people have a sustained willingness to focus on it.”

Follow Rob Shimshock on Twitter

Connect with Rob Shimshock on Facebook

Send tips to

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact