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?