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Black + Educated = Still Inferior

Per usual my daily morning routine is wake up, check my Blackberry, read emails, get on Twitter, turn on computer, read and write.

In doing research for today’s post, which has now been postponed, I stumbled across an article titled “Black College Graduates Face Bumpy Roads” on the American Renaissance website. The article was originally published in USA Today, following President Obama’s first commencement speech at an Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Hampton University. As the title suggests it concisely raises awareness that black college graduates with a BA earn less than white graduates with an Associate’s degree. DeWayne Wickham writes:

But the ugly truth is that the road to success that the degree they’ve earned was supposed to open up is littered with potholes that their education alone cannot overcome. This year, blacks who have earned a bachelor’s degree and higher have a higher unemployment rate than whites who have only obtained a two-year college degree. And blacks with college degrees earn substantially less than white college graduates.

In 2008, the mean annual income of blacks with a four-year degree was more than $13,000 less than that of whites with the same level of education. And blacks who had a master’s earned about $1,500 a year less than whites with a bachelor’s degree.

 

The disparaging salaries between blacks and whites did not alarm me. Just like it doesn’t surprise me that unemployment, especially when you count underemployment, is much higher for blacks than any other group of people. (See Economic Policy Institute for the  figures).

However, what was an eye-opener and disheartening were the comments on the American Renaissance site. And the comments on USA Today were far worse. Unfortunately, this is what black graduates are up against, especially if you graduated from an “third-rate doofus HBCU.”

*Their typos have not been edited.

 

“What percentage of these are black studies degrees? I doubt that these black colleges are producing too many chemical engineers.”

 

“My organization has hired many blacks with BAs and the fact is they cannot write, they cannot speak and they cannot reason. A Bachelor’s degree is worth less than a 1955 high school diploma. The way they fill out the job application tells you just how awful they will be as employees.”

 

“Say, could it be that those “historically black colleges” (where are the historically White colleges?) don’t have the highest academic standards in the world?… And this little historical tidbit is relevant to the rest of the article…how? Oh, I’ve got it! To make sure all the White lemmings out there understand that it’s Oppression, Racism and the Legacy of Slavery (c) that’re keeping the black man down. It’s never the fault of blacks themselves.”

 

“In my experience, the majority of blacks in college (with whom I graduated) make no attempt to alter their dress and speech patterns to conform with the mainstream white collar society they ostensibly seek to enter with their degree. Dressing sensibly and speaking coherently would be “akkin white.”

 

“Nobody wants to hire a black with an AA degree he can barely read. Come on! People know blacks DO NOT earn accreditation, but are given it as part of the plan to keep them from rioting. Having a degree but reading at an eighth grade level and doing math at a 6th grade level doesn’t impress masny[their typo, not mine] employers. They have been hiring them when times were good as a part of private AA policy, but the money isn’t there now. Next headline to cry over: “Blacks [another typo] are first to be laid off in corporations across country!”

 

“Many of us now are getting more than tired with excuse after excuse for black failure when it is really black inability.”

 

“This is just another one of those silly articles that pretends that a BA in black studies from a historically black college is somehow equivalent to a BA in electrical engineering from MIT. The truth is that the policy of extreme egalitarianism (“everybody should go to college!”) has resulted in many universities (not just historically black ones) dumbing down the curriculum to the point where a BA means less than a high school diploma did 50 years ago. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a BA in some soft subject is no guarantee of a high income.”

 

There you have it folks. The level of ignorance displayed in the aforementioned comments are what some of your employers and colleagues think about you as an educated black person. And don’t be fooled into thinking this attitude is exclusive only to those of us who graduated from HBCU’s. Many of the comments express their warped ideology that blacks are being given degrees due to fulfilling some type of affirmative action quota.

I wonder if they share the same sentiments about Dr. Martin Luther King, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, W.E.B. Dubois, Booker T. Washington, Toni Morrison, Debbie Allen, Julian Bond and countless others who graduated from HBCU’s?

As a graduate of both an HBCU and a PWI (Predominantly White Institution) I can attest to the different experiences at both. And one thing for damn sure is my education at an HBCU was not inferior to my education at a PWI.

Not only did I learn in an environment with professors who genuinely cultivated my passions, they also prepared me how to deal with systematic institutions of racism. Furthermore, every single black professor I had held a PhD at my HBCU. In my graduate program I had white professors who only had a Bachelor’s or Master’s. They were hired based on their “professional experience.”

It is evident many white people don’t understand why there are black colleges in the first place. Apparently the ‘Historical’ in its title goes right over their heads. People are so ignorant they type these comments not realizing that all accredited state schools have the same curriculum.  The comments also suggest that graduates of HBCU’s must have majored in “Black Studies.” Laughable, but sad because people really think this way.

What struck a nerve was the notion that black college graduates “cannot write, cannot speak and cannot reason.” Last time I checked grammar, literacy and reading comprehension in general is an American issue, not a black one.

In terms of us not being able to speak I have to presume what the commenter is implying because it isn’t directly stated. We’ve all heard this before: “black people aren’t articulate.” Of course I don’t agree with this. I think many of us refuse to suppress our natural vernacular that may sound too ethnic for white folks liking. I don’t believe articulation is sounding like Becky and using ‘like’ after every three words, but I do think this is some people’s definition of what articulate sounds like.

Mostly the comments struck a nerve because these attitudes are prevalent throughout society and even in other countries.

These are the mentalities of some of the people who will employ us in the future. It could be how our colleagues think now. These generalizations were about educated black people. So imagine what our brothers and sisters who aren’t formally educated are up against.

I don’t have the time in this post to fully explain this statement, but INTEGRATION WAS THE WORST THING THAT HAPPENED TO BLACK PEOPLE.

It is more and more apparent black people need to own their own companies, run their own black public schools, spend money in all black businesses. All black everything!(Waiting for the back lash for that last statement).

We are taught to go to college, get a degree and work for the same people who really don’t want us there, or value what we can contribute as it is clearly expressed in the comments on both USA Today and American Renaissance website.

In dealing with racism in AmeriKKKa not too much shocks me. But in reading these comments I remembered no matter what we obtain, how educated we are, how articulate we are, how successful we become, we will always be deemed inferior because of the color of our skin.

Do you agree HBCU educations are producing less qualified black graduates than PWI’s? Are these comments a reflection of a larger attitude in society or just an ignorant few? And what do we do about the real issue at hand: the disparity of salaries of blacks versus their white counterparts who are equally or less educated, but make more money?

What do you the people say?

Comments 28

  1. Jesus H. Christ!! It never fails to shock and dismay me when White folx display their ignorance in public. Apparently being a racist bigot is completely acceptable in mainstream America. As a mixed-race individual its often shocking to hear comments ‘they’ make when they think no AAs are around. I once spoke with a realtor when house hunting who had never met me but assumed I was White because of my speech patterns. She detailed the owner history of a home I was interested in and said (this is a direct quote) “yeah, the house was passed down to the daughter when her father died and she lost her noggin and sold it to a Black family. Dark Black too! Could you imagine the nerve of her bringing those people into this neighborhood! Think resale!! Hellooooo!!’ I swear at that moment, White America change irrevocably for me. Yes, they think these things, they say these things, and we have to embrace ourselves and our culture in order to make damn sure they KNOW we don’t give a flying you-know-what about their opinions.

  2. Unfortunately Bene, I read these comments and I am not surprised at all. My father prepared me for the ignorance that comes out of a lot of white people’s mouths on a daily basis, the thing that frustrates me the most are the many young Black people who have adopted the attitudes of “attending a white college is better”. I think that’s where my primary disgust goes because as a Black individual why would you feel that you have garnered some sort of prize “cause you tending school wit massa’s great grand babies”, it boggles my mind!

  3. I went to a PWI, and it really bothers me that people say such things about black colleges. Do you know how many professors I had that BARELY SPOKE ENGLISH! It was so frustrating, you would think for tens of thousands of dollars they could find professor that could actually teach and speak proper English. I refuse to believe that somehow HBCU’s are just so inferior, I am sorry but many PWI’s aren’t all that either.

    1. “I am sorry but many PWI’s aren’t all that either.” I agree. I had a freaking teacher who only had a Bachelor’s! Why is he teaching students who are pursuing the same degree as him??? Or better yet teaching students who have more advanced degrees. Not to say formal education and degrees makes someone smarter, but I never had a professor at my HBCU who didn’t have a PhD. There’s so many examples I could give about my PWI experience, but I have plans of writing a whole chapter about my Master’s experience.

  4. America was built upon on the foundation of patriarchy and racial oppression. It takes time to dismantle those things and we have a long way to go, but I do believe that we are making progress that will be much more evident in future generations.

    The reason why these comments are made anonymously on blogs is because overt racial language is no longer acceptable in mainstream America. And to be honest, I don’t care what any white person has to say behind the safety of a keyboard. But these disparities do need to be addressed.

    And self-segregation seems like an easy answer, but I do believe that history teaches us that it is simply unsustainable across the board, and in contemporary society it’s beyond unfeasible.

    I agree that the cultivation of wealth and resources in the Black community is a HUGE issue, and I agree that we need to create our own business and power centers. But Black America also has to get it’s internal stuff together

    Without integration you simply don’t get things like civil rights legislation and the funding and mandates that accompany it. As faulty as these systems may be, they were necessary components of any measurable socioeconomic rise in portions of AA communities.

    Additionally, I do truly believe in the perfectibility and the promise of American democracy and democratic theory. But that’s just me.

    With regards to PWI vs HBCU educations, I believe they are different but neither is superior. I understand the reasons why people choose to attend either one.

    This doesn’t answer your real question. Whoops.

  5. one may be able to change the law, but it’s another thing to change people’s hearts (and by extension, minds). i’m not surprised from the anonymous chirping on the internet; no matter what positivity young black men and women may do, it will never be enough for some.

    i think to answer the big question (employment differential) i think the main thing is nepotism…folks hire people they know, or feel comfortable around (if they could). to change this, blacks that have money…might have to start investing in companies that are willing to hire/recruit people that look like them/feel comfortable around.

  6. Pingback: Black + Educated = Still Inferior — theFreshXpress.com — The PULSE of Young Black America

  7. The comments to do not reflect ignorance. They reflect reality. It has been well established blacks (and Hispanics) who graduate from high school are reading and doing math at the white (and Asian) eighth-grade level.

    Moaning about “ignorance” changes nothing.

    1. No, they do reflect ignorance for the several reasons I stated that you chose to gloss over.

      1.) The commenters are simple minded in believing the only major at HBCU’s are “Black Studies.”
      2.) Many of the statements are generalizations. Black people are not a monolith and shouldn’t be discussed as such.
      3.) They fail to take into account the learning environment of black inner city schools. Furthermore, standardized test are culturally biased.
      4.) THE COMMENTERS FAIL TO RECOGNIZE AN ACCREDITED STATE SCHOOL’S CURRICULUM IS MANDATED BY THE STATE. This means no matter if it’s an HBCU or PWI, if it’s a state school they are learning the exact same thing.

      “It has been established blacks and Hispanics who graduate from high school are reading and doing math at the white (and Asian) eighth-grade level.” Established by the same racist system that oppresses them. Statistics are oftentimes skewed and not a representation of the entire 13% of African-Americans in this country. But clearly you believe in statistics so where are yours to support your claim?

      It’s funny how you you choose not to address any of the factual information I presented. Yet, you want to tell me to stop “moaning about ignorance.” It’s not moaning, but rather awareness to the racism blacks still face in this country. The POTUS is a black man with two Ivy-league degrees. Yet idiots still believe black people “cannot speak, cannot write and cannot reason.” If that’s not ignorance I don’t know what is.

      1. Regarding point #3, I am sure you will find this excerpt from “Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing” entirely relevant. The link is to Amazon, then click “first pages” on the left.

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0262514044/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?ie=UTF8&cloe_id=1cc6353b-0888-4024-b2f4-877561183f53&attrMsgId=LPWidget-A1&pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0262135043&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0E7QQCBT3E6H3VXKV3AF#reader_0262514044

  8. Speaking as a newly minted Black entrepreneur [Muwallad Interiors painting & plastering http://www.muwalladinteriors.net ], I have to agree with your call for us to “Do For Self”. I don’t like to judge people based on color or race – but as long as the other race does, we have to look out for ourselves.

    And I say that as somebody who worked for White contractors for 18 years – and always knew that they always gave a bigger piece of the pie to people that looked like them.

    Look, they’re not always going to let us work for their corporations or even for civil service – so we have to start preparing for that NOW and launching our own businesses.

    And, before anybody asks, I have White employees (both American born and immigrant) and, of course, I have White clients – so I’m not advocating self segregation.

    I’m advocating SELF SALVATION – because nobody is going to save us but us!

    GREGORY A. BUTLER
    http://www.muwalladinteriors.net
    info@muawalladinteriors.net

  9. Interesting article. Sadly, the responses reflect the internal ethos of mainstream society. I have not been privileged to attend both a PWI and an HBCU. I attended for both my undergraduate and masters a public/rural (undergrad) and private/urban (Masters) PWI. I had the opportunity to visit HBCU’s for certain courses and one thing I can say is that there was a difference (between the one class that I took) in the environment and structure. My colleagues may have looked at the differences as negative; however, I did not.

    Differences are sometimes viewed as one is superior, one is inferior as opposed to looking at the differences as equal. During my graduate studies, I had both white and black professors. It was interesting to see how students interacted with both. Firstly, when a white “male” professor would make a claim, it was gold to the students. No questions, comments or concerns. Sadly when the Black Professors “male or female” made claims, they were often challenged and questioned in the middle of class (not by everyone but a few), ridiculed behind closed doors and often no accepted by the majority.

    Secondly, there were “style” critiques. The whites (outside of a few) gave you information while the blacks (and some whites) gave you themselves during the presentation. Blacks were often critiqued saying that “he takes to long to get to his point” where I would state, “he is giving us more right now than we could ever learn.” As I stated before, I believe that some people are able to adjust to “differences” while others right these differences off as inferior.

    To answer the questions, I do NOT believe that HBCU’s are producing lower quality of graduates. HBCU’s produce intelligent young men and women who will benefit the society. Sadly, as I previous stated, I do believe that this is the thought of a lot of society. What to do about the pay rates….not sure. We can change laws but until people are transformed the results will be the same. Take Care!

    1. I agree with you in you assessment of style critiques for black professors vs. white professors. I will even go further and say it’s much worse for women, black and white. One of my favorite professors who teaches at my alma mater(the HBCU) is white and has stories for days on the things she has experienced from students questioning her intelligence to making sexual advances toward her.

      During my brief time as an Associate Professor(more like a graduate assistant), the students complained about the quiz I created which was 20 questions multiple choice. All the answers were directly in the book from their assigned readings. Mind you this class was 98% white. 75% of them failed a multiple choice quiz. One of the students even had the audacity to try to challenge one of the answers. I politely told him it wasn’t up for debate and he needed to read the chapter more carefully to find that the answer was indeed what I said it was. I got the feeling these kids feel a sense of entitlement because of their economic backgrounds and white skin. Many of them could not handle a black woman in charge. It was frustrating to say the least. And to be fair my classmate from Iran who also was an Associate Instructor said she experienced the same thing.

      In terms of the HBCU vs. PWI argument, I don’t think its that differences mean inferiority to some people. It’s this ill plaguing our society that anything black is inferior. Sadly, this mindset will most likely continue as it is hard for something to die out when it’s the very thing this country was built upon.

  10. Are folks upset because they feel like white people are racist or because we all know people that have BAs and can’t write a coherent sentence?

    Of course, assuming that Blacks are unable to read, write, speak, or dress appropriately is ridiculous. In fact, it begs the question, “what is appropriate?”, but we have to take into consideration that the article may have some merit.

    I tried to support a few HBCUs only to have friends that attended the schools tell me that the schools 1) had lost accreditation or 2) had horrible academic standards that made my friends transfer to another school where they were promptly denied almost half the transfer credits due to classes like “lyceum”.

    I have never attended an HBCU so maybe I have no room to speak, but as a professional that works with college students, and one that used to hire them, I have to agree with the article if not the sentiments of the respondents.

    PEACE,
    Shay Olivarria
    Author, 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money

    1. The comments were both ignorant and racist. Furthermore, they were generalizations.

      Coherency is an American problem. White college students graduating from PWI’s on a large scale know very little. Many of them cannot grammatically write a complete paragraph. If you talk to college professors at PWI’s they will gripe about their students who are unable to write an academic essay. Their students are not majority black. Therefore, for the commenters to suggest all black college graduates cannot write is ridiculous. The statistics are out there that suggest Americans in general are not the brightest.

      Your decision not to support HBCU’s based on a few people expressing their frustrations makes me wonder about you. To apply those isolated situations to the 105 accredited HBCU’s doesn’t make much sense to me. HBCU’s do not receive the support through funding as they should because of black folks who share many of the sentiments you expressed.

      Did you read the article? The article really wasn’t about graduates of HBCU students being less competent than those who graduate from PWI’s. The article addressed the fact that blacks graduating from HBCU’s make less than their white counterparts who only have an Associate’s degree or a BA. This is problematic in every sense of the word. What’s more problematic, no offense to you, is the mentality you and so many other blacks have. You know absolutely nothing about HBCU’s yet you were so quick to down them and the students who graduate from them. It’s a sad day when black folks done “drank the Koolaid.” No wonder we’re in the predicament we’re in.

  11. Again, there’s no ‘surprise’ at the statements made about our so-called ‘inferoior’ educational institutions, and it would take a novel to reply and refute these century old racist beliefs. In a capsule, since the 1980’s when I was led to create a sports coverage of Black College athletics (www.ehbcsports.com), I first had to ‘re-educate’ myself because back in the day, we had no mainstream media exposure like today to champion our causes. What I discovered was…our rich heritage and educational contributions were non-existent in the curriculums that were being fed into us by our then segregated school systems. And, today, with our so-called integrated society, very little is taught or few of our own heroes are acclaimed before the ones who couldn’t be denied due diligence (i.e. Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens and later, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bill Cosby, etc…folks that they felt ‘non-threatened by).
    I spent 12 years in the sub-adminstrative part of City COllege of New York, and I can attest to the fact that there was subvertive racism allowed…with radical black professors and outright staunch racist whites being allowed to ‘exercise’ free speech on those vulnerable minds. Still, there was never a mention of the great debt African Americans owed to HBCUs.

    My research into Black coolege history totally awed me by the very persistence that those ex-slaves demonstrated against ALL odds! Yet, they created schools, with the help of some white benefactors who donated land and money…but mostly through the faith they had in GOD and their burning desires to elevate their status in a time when they were total outcasts.

    If nothing else, WE should be so proud of our heritage and those who ‘pounded the rocks’ that Black America stands on.

    We have been so consumed in imitating the other cultures that we allow everyone to steal our talents and turn around and sell them back to us. After the Emancipation, black villages and whole towns sprang up around the country, from Florida to Oklahoma, and the birth of the black school systems were born.

    In turn, they poured out teachers, lawyers, doctors, landowners,inventors…people that contributed to every facet of life and changed the way we performed our daily duties. I could go on forever about these early contributors, but I draw your attention to some of yoour contemporaries who are ‘doing it’ right under our noses and getting little or no attention, but making major impacts…like Dr. Jeffrey Canada (Harlem Children’s Zone)…Alyshia Keyes,Oprah Winfrey, Warrick Dunn and John Legend, to name a few).

    As for self-help, we must get past the rhetoric and review our past (to examine the virtues our forefathers acquired).

    And, just like back then, our leaders and teachers were highly qualified to assume the roles. How ironic that anyone could make the statement that all we’re taught is Black Studies. Quite the contrary. As far back as the sixties, South Carolina did not even teach American history…they taught South Carolina history, (which meant you learned more about Francis Marion aka the Swamp Fox, (who was an Rebel) than about Booker T. Washington…and I didn’t discover Fredrick Douglass’ legacy until I went to college.

    So, by buying into the American dream, we forfeited our rights to raising Black awareness because we wanted to ‘fit in’…be careful what you crave…

  12. Sawubona (Hello, in isiZulu) Bene,

    Why does it appear that you’re implicitly reluctant to say “Black women or Latina women” as compared to merely sayinng “women of color”? Regarding the comparison (i.e., qualitatively speaking)between the HBCU and the TWI is actually insulting because both institutions have entirely different histories and purposes. Not to mention their respective funding streams(i.e., local, state, and federal government, alumni, and corporations, etc…) are fundamentally different. Until Blacks (domestically and abroad) stop comparing themselves to their collective oppressor(eg., Whites), Blacks will continue to be at the mercy of every other ethnic group.

    On another note, I would to pose a question to you and the current image that you present. Considering that Black woman are still portrayed as twenty-first century Hottentot Venuses(e.g., Sara Barthman), why do you have images of yourself that perpetuates this as equally? When you state you “luv my people”, this a very apolitical stance as compared to saying that “I Love my Black people.” Also, sine you claim that you have a “shoe fetish”, I would highly suggest that write a story about Black shoe designers (here and abroad) and their contributions.

    In sum, I have a reading lists of books that will enhance your Black consciousness significantly: 1) The Africans Who Wrote the Bible, Dr. Nana Darwah; 2) Ethnic America, Dr. Thomas Sowell; 3) The Destruction of African Civilization, Dr. Chancellor Williams; 4) I Write What I Like, Steve Biko; 5) Black Labor White Wealth,Dr. Claud Anderson; and 6) The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, Harold Cruse. That said, I am most certain that after you read any of these respective books that your ideological framework will be modified. In sum, I look forward in hearing your response accordingly.

    Hamba Kahle(Goodbye, in isiZulu)!

    1. I find your comment to be extremely rude, offensive and condescending. Furthermore, it reflects your black male privilege that I’m sure you would deny having.

      You greeting me in Zulu does not impress me. It really disgusts me that you would choose one of the many tongues of Africa to address me, but then turn around and post this nonsensical comment on my blog. Now on to your comment…

      It’s my blog. That sums up the answer to some of your irrelevant questions. Whether I choose to say “black and Latina” or “women of color” is my business. Writing is deeply rooted in word usage. If I’m not referring to all women of color, which would include all women in the diaspora then I’m not going to say women of color.

      In regards to my “images,” what images are you referring to? I don’t represent myself online in any way other than who I am. With that said, there are no images of myself on any social media site that I would be embarrassed to show my grandmother. Don’t make blanket statements without being able to support your allegations.

      Lastly, who do you think you are to tell me what I should write about? And I guess you assume I don’t know any black shoe designers in America or abroad since I haven’t written about them? Does my blog look like a fashion website to you? Dude, you have some serious issues. You further insult my intelligence by assuming once again that I’ve never read any of these books. You also assume that my ideology or “my Black consciousness” would be enhanced by reading these books. Your attitude is extremely problematic and is partly why black women continue to be oppressed by black men. Your entire piece of “commentary” is flawed and based of assumptions. Instead of addressing me with respect or concern your tone suggest that I am your inferior. How do you expect me to receive that, brother?

      If you want to discuss something of relevance with some tact I will be more than happy to do so. But the mere fact of the matter is I don’t take too kindly to insults. And your comment really had nothing to do with the post. Clearly, you didn’t read it.

      Good day! (that’s in English)

  13. I graduated from an HBCU, but spent some time at a PWI as well. Before I go any further, let me be clear. If I had to do everything over again, I would again attend the HBCU. I learned things about life, the workforce, navigating a chain of command, networking with purpose, and a developed a genuine love for my people and our various backgrounds. However, I did not learn some of the hard core subject matter that was forced on me at the PWI. Not because the HBCU was inferior, but because my time there was utilized better by teaching me things that I needed to live and be successful in this country. Being certain where the next paragraph should begin? Comma splicing? Calculus for a political science major? Those things are a complete waste of time. Not that grammar isn’t important, it is, and I am a stickler for it. But these things won’t get us employed. Knowing how to conduct ourselves in interviews and knowing how to dress and being persistent and commanding, etc. People these are the things that HBCU’s provide that PWIs cannot. My only suggestion for the disparity in income among graduates is for us to bite the bullet and learn their language. Learn their mannerisms and preferences. This is not a game, this is our future we are talking about. We are a strong people who don’t want to further compromise our true identities in order to make it in this country. But I think the best answer is for us to infiltrate their systems and change them from the inside out. We cannot ignore the fact that white america gave us our first black president. We are but 12percent, and many of us cannot even vote anyway. Something is changing in this country, and it comes from black people working hard, or conforming- if you like, and convincing white people that we have so much more to offer. The HBCU did not prepare me for the LSAT, I did that myself. But the HBCU did prepare me to write my admission essay. The personal characteristics that were cultivated at my beloved HBCU were reflected in my admission essays, and I received a full ride to a PWI law school. MERIT. NOT MINORITY. And that’s wassup.

  14. Good article, but one thing I need to point out is that American Renaissance is a racist website and has links to white supremacists groups. It is known for peddling racist filth online.

  15. There are some white people that are racist. FACT. There are black people that have degrees that still are incapable of writing like an grown adult, FACT. My ONLY issues stem from the fact that:

    a)standardized tests are culturally biased. Yes, they are, as they should be biased against a culture that doesn’t promote reading and education. I have a 142 IQ. 90-95% of the things I have learned were NOT in public school, but at home, with the multitude of books my grandmother and mother gave me and encouraged me to read. If you rely on the government for anything, expect the bare minimum. Black people were never meant to be citizens of this land, just capital. Period. So to think this country after generation of nepotism and institutionalized racism will try to elevate you to their level is dumb as hell, to be frank. Plus anyone that thinks they are going to walk into someone else’s place of business and think they can talk the way THEY are comfortable with is a damn fool. You adapt to the culture you are being inserted into. It has nothing to do with “losing touch with your blackness” or any silly nonsense like that. I talk professionally at work and in my personal time I talk however the hell I feel, but its usually has a modicum of professionalism due to the fact that you never know who is watching you. It’s not the fault of the people who make the test that they assume that parents would push their child to read at home and learn outside the classroom (and in the schools I went to, black folks weren’t even interested in learning IN the classroom anyways). The rote learning system we have in this country sucks balls anyways, and not one actually retains any of this stuff that way. Sometimes though, you have to play the game.

    b)collectivism. You berated people for lumping black people together as if we were a monolith, yet you have lumped white people together as “White America” and “white people” multiple times. If this was a debate someone could have immediately called you on that hypocrisy, even though you do it as to illustrate a point.

    c) black men oppress black women. LOL no. To oppress someone that would mean the oppressor has some sort of power, whether it be real or perceived. We do not. Not in the eyes of the law or in the court of public opinion. Look no further than Chris Brown and Rihanna. A woman with a known streak of unprovoked physical assault and violence towards men shows up and says a man hit her, and no one cares about the facts, and Chris had to APOLOGIZE for defending himself. Another one is the fact that black women claim that black men leave them stuck with all these babies to raise alone. That is 100% both parties fault. The woman should have known he wasn’t shit. I can tell a woman ain’t on shit within 30 seconds of her talking. I’m sure you can spot a broke man that can’t support himself from across the room. If you choose to sleep with this man unprotected then whose fault is that? If a person knowingly ignores the signs and gets stuck with a baby, then that is CLEARLY her fault. It’s just like if I was to sleep with a woman, ignoring her track marks up and down her body or the fact that she is constantly scratching herself and acting like a crackhead, and I get AIDS, that’s MY fault. I ignored signs, I took that risk, and paid the price. Period.

    Music and media. Not in one of these music videos have I seen a dude in drag with a fake bootie and breasts dancing. That’s a small group of black women making the rest of black women look bad, while the rest of black women are either complacent in them doing so or too busy trying to emulate that small section that makes the rest look bad. That has nothing to do with men. It would be kind of hard for black men to exploit black women in their videos if their was no black women who wanted to be in said videos.

    Any “oppression” by black men upon black women is either an individual situation (like domestic violence, which has nothing to do with men as a group, but that individual) or completely with the person who feels “oppressed” head, and is no more than a conspiracy theory. Plus it’s kinda hard to oppress a group that outnumbers you in college 10 to 1.

    Black women need to get rid of weave, and then things will start to change. Weave is the bane of the black woman’s existence.

    But overall, you have a great blog and your post was a great read. Just try and stay away from the generalizations on both sides and judge every person by their individual merits.

    1. Your comment is so long and some points are just laughable. I really wish I had the time to respond to everything, but fortunately I don’t.

      Your IQ was mentioned because…? “There are black people that have degrees that still are incapable of writing like an grown adult, FACT.” There are also whites, Asians, Indians, Hispanics who have degrees and cannot write coherent paragraphs. This is not a black issue, but an American education issue.

      In terms of adapting to the work environment and speaking professionally I believe you are referring to what W.E.B. Dubois’ coined as the double consciousness. I never said black people shouldn’t code switch or don’t have to play the game. It’s annoying as hell and we shouldn’t have to, but it is what is it. So I’m not sure why you went on a tirade about that point.

      This: “and in the schools I went to, black folks weren’t even interested in learning IN the classroom anyways).” I just really hope you’re not black, but I have a feeling you are. I don’t know who has told black people that white students are so eager to learn. As I’ve explained in a previous comment I was an Associate Instructor while in my Master’s program. The white students had the audacity to complain the quiz I created was too hard. It was 20 questions and multiple choice for heaven’s sake! Furthermore, 75% of them failed, failed, failed. The questions were taken directly from the readings. So please dismiss me with all the malarkey that “black folk aren’t interested in learning.”

      Discussing ideologies that are held by “white America” is not hypocrisy. Say what you want, but some of the least racist white Americans hold many of the skewed ideas of who black people are. This country was built on those ideas and they are not easily removed. So it’s not a generalization, it’s truth.

      I can’t comment on the asinine statements that black men can’t oppress women. *sigh* I can only hope you weren’t serious. Your comment about weave being the bane of black women’s existence is ridiculous and irrelevant.

      Umm, thanks I guess for the compliment about my blog.

  16. Here’s an equally important question: If we truly believe that we are equal, then why do we pay so much attention to — and give so much importance to — other people’s ideas of us? Why do so many of us see ourselves as others see us no matter how much we accomplish? You’ve posted disparaging comment after disparaging comment, when it would have taken only a few to realize what they were headed. Why post so many?

    After all this time, and all we’ve accomplished, do we really expect any other race of people to see us with as much affirmation as we see ourselves?

    Not only that, but suppose the comments others make about us have grains of truth in them, that some (not all but some) of us could stand to do better. Could we not simply take what truly applies to us and leave that which doesn’t alone? Are our self images so fragile that any critique (justified or not) would shatter them?

    We have accomplished so much as a people, arguably more than any other race with out set of circumstances. Yet like any other race of people, we have room for improvement. Some of the circumstances we face are the hand dealt us. Some of it lies in the game itself. But I know of so many of us who have accomplished great things and still hang on every word of other races.

    I know of African Americans college graduates who fall well short of excellence. I know whites, Asians and Latinos who do as well. I also know that graduates of Howard University (my alma mater) earn an average salary of $53,000 on their first job, higher than graduates of Penn State, Northwestern and the University of Texas.

    You can think whatever you want of me or my school; when I’m making more money than you on our first jobs, your opinions are pointless.

    Does that mean I cannot stand to learn from others outside my race who critique me or point out my shortcomings? No, it does not. It does mean that I must have a adequate sense of self, to know which critiques are for my own good (regardless of the critic’s intentions) and what critiques are pointless.

  17. Dear Bene,

    Thanks for sharing this article. As a fellow graduate of HBCU and PWI institutions, this article definitely strikes a chord. I didn’t make time to read the earlier replies, so apologies if I’m repetitive.

    A couple of comments:

    *Most web comments (maybe this one?) should be taken with a grain of salt. Racism, is of course, alive and well, even within the black community, where many black people feel they are superior to other black people, because of the school they went to, or where they grew up, or whatever. Getting caught up in the rhetoric of someone’s opinion is sometimes enlightening, but if you’re looking to win arguments, fend off personal attacks, or change someone’s bias, well…good luck with that.

    *On the whole, I don’t believe that HBCUs produce less capable graduates than non-HBCUs. However, I’m more inclined to believe that HBCUs graduates tend to leave school less qualified than non-HBCU grads. “Being qualified”, in my opinion, requires more than ability. It also requires opportunities to hone and demonstrate that ability. HBCUs tend to have less financial, external, and alumni support, which impacts the breadth of an HBCU student’s college experience in a long list of ways (internships, research opportunities, breadth of faculty influence, etc.), all of which work against HBCU graduates in the marketplace. By the way, I also believe that this bias against HBCUs transcends race.

    Given that, I believe that:
    -Current HBCU students need to be especially entrepreneurial and proactive in their academic journey. Unfair perhaps, but in the long run, it’s a helpful skill to have.

    -Former HBCU students, in particular, need to invest in their schools. Be it money, time, advocacy, mentorship, or whatever, alumni are critical to the success of any institution.

    -HBCUs, as institutions, must remain vigilant in their mission to support and nurture their students academically. Students fall through the cracks at all institutions, but I believe that HBCUs have a singular imperative to go above and beyond in preparing students to be independent, knowledgeable, and critical thinkers and doers.

    *I don’t know if it was the worst thing, but I agree that integration of schooling had some damaging consequences for black Americans. In many cases, the students were integrated into schools against the will of the administrators and teaching staff was not. As a result, generations of children were inserted in hostile school environments, staffed by many teachers who weren’t inclined to believe in them or care about their well-being.

  18. In my opinion, Native born Blacks try to more inclusive of every other ethnic group as compared to expending similar amounts of energy on ourselves. Regardless of where “we” received our respective degrees(e.g., HBCUs or the TWIs), our collective intellectual, financial, and labor capital is directed towards the development and maintaining of other people’s community (i.e., White, Asian, Latino, etc.), while our own community incrementally implodes. Finally, the collective Black community need to stop using “individual success” as the model as compared using “group success” as the model. Until this mental cleasning take place, our collective Black community will be dominated by others who continue to be implicitly/explicitly disrespectful towards “us.”

  19. So you completely missed the point of what I was saying on a few points. You tried to make seem as if all black people with degrees could write coherent sentences. Also you made it seem as if the person said every race but black people can write coherent sentences. Maybe I think too logically about things, but there was nothing factually wrong with the sentence, “There are graduates from HBCU’s that can’t write complete sentences.” Tell me how that isn’t factually correct.

    I brought up my IQ because YOU said standardized testing is culturally biased. IQ test is a form of standardized testing. I rank as a genius, so where exactly is the cultural bias? If you culture is predicated on lack of intelligence as being a positive, then I guess I could see your point.

    Also questioning my heritage because you had nothing to come back with? Not a good look in a debate. My culture has nothing to do with the present argument, and FYI, I grew up in the Cabrini Greens red buildings, so my blackness is pretty set in stone. For you to fall back on that as a means of trying to discredit my argument is laughable in itself. Reliance on fallacies to discredit the opposing argument is an automatic forfeiture of your point, plus you tried to discredit and counter my anecdotal statement with an…*drumroll* an anecdotal statement…wow…we shall move onto the next point.

    Discussing ideologies by “white America” is a completely valid point of contention because if you are to say black people cannot be discussed as a whole, but as individuals, you look mighty foolish to turn around and lump every white person in a group and not as individuals. It’s very disingenuous and hypocritical so say you know what EVERY white person thinks and only hurts your position. You cannot fight evil with evil. You cannot say “black people are individuals, look at us for our individual merits!” then say, “all white people are somewhat racist, look at what these few individuals think of us!” You haven’t met every white person in America, and until you do it IS a generalization.

    Also on my point of black men oppressing black women, I see that you had no argument against it, so I take your logical fallacy of ad hominem as conceding that point to me as well.

    Well written blog like I said, but your debate skills need major work. Logical fallacies count as automatic losses, which proves my point that rote learning sucks, and being an autodidact is the way to go, as some of the most famous people throughout history taught THEMSELVES. Doesn’t matter what school you go to, or what you have a degree in, or how much money you make, you can still be a damn idiot at the end of the day.

  20. Simply because one resides in locally funded public housing(more commonly know as “the projects”) does not imply one has acquired a Black consciousness by mere symbiosis. In lieu of all the aforementioned comments, I yet to hear anyone articulate that the driving force behind the majority of Black people problems in this country is both systemic and structural racism. Until “we” can admit this, our problems will remain and “we” will continue to use four letter expletives when “we” have a difference of opinion.

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