Favorite

Needed: black colleges 

In the fall of 1985, I entered the University of Georgia. This was the bicentennial year for the oldest public university in the nation, but just 24 years after court-ordered desegregation. So I was part of a relatively new phenomenon, and experienced some hostilities first-hand. As a fresh-man, I “received” my first racial epithet hurled after an intramural football game.

Twenty years later, racial tension on college campuses nationwide has continued, according to a recent Diverse Issues in Higher Education ar-ticle, “Toxic Campus Climate.” A black woman student received an e-mail saying, “You will die if you run for student government.” One school’s students held a “Straight Thuggin’ Party” wearing chains and handcuffs while listening to 50 Cent.

And yet, millions of dollars are spent every year enticing black students to attend campuses that are, or may be toxic. Students are told that these campuses have the best of everything — facilities, faculty, even food. Believing the hype, they enroll. And then they fail. The six-year graduation rate for black students is 42 percent, while 62 percent for white students. Eighty percent of black students attend majority white schools.

Now there is nothing wrong with black students attending majority institutions. I graduated from three, one of which was 3 percent black and where I could go the entire day and not see another black face! But we need to emphasize finding the best FIT for student success. For many black students, historically black colleges and universities are the answer.

For over 150 years, HBCUs have provided an environment unduplicated in higher education that best suits many students. When many places had laws and rules preventing black students from attending college, HBCUs (which never discriminated based on race) educated peo-ple who made significant contributions to this country.

Americans want to forget that now and “move on.” Instead of looking at HBCUs as a reminder of a troublesome past, we need to embrace them as a solution for the future. We are rapidly moving toward a workforce dominated by people of color. If this new workforce has less education, they will earn less and spend less. It is predicted that our economy may collapse relying on a low-wage, low-educated workforce.

We must ensure that more people earn a degree, rather than wasting resources sending them to a place that may not fit. The 20-point gradua-tion gap is appalling today, and sadly, greater than when I was in college. This is due to the massive marketing of higher education. Students (and parents) choose the image being sold. For many, especially black students, image does not guarantee graduation. Incidentally, between 2000 and 2004, Philander Smith College enrolled only 6.9 percent of all black collegians in Arkansas, yet produced 9.2 percent of the black graduates.

Let’s try something new. To close the graduation gap, aggressively expose ALL students to HBCUs, help them find a good fit, and then pro-vide resources to attend that school. Critics will argue this simply funds a segregated education, but consider the results: Blacks graduate one-third less often than whites at majority schools. Which is more important — the appearance of diversity or more black college graduates?

Give HBCUs a chance to do what we do best, which is make America stronger.

Dr. Walter Kimbrough is president of historically black Philander Smith College. Max Brantley is on vacation.

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Friday's open line

    The daily video and an open line.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • White flag waved on Trumpcare

    House Republicans pulled down the Trumpcare legislation this afternoon and walked out, depriving Democrats of some fun in pointing out all the anti-woman, anti-poor, pro-rich aspects of a bill too generous for hardcare Republicans and too mean for the few remaining moderates.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • Jones Bar-B-Q of Marianna has a related outpost in Jacksonville

    The legendary Jones Bar-B-Q Diner of Marianna is about to have a kissing cousin — supposedly with the same key recipes — in Jacksonville.
    • Mar 24, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015
  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Don't cry for Robert E. Lee

    Congratulations are in order for Governor Hutchinson. He decided this year to devote the weight of his office to end the state's embarrassing dual holiday for slavery defender Robert E. Lee and civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • City Board discovers LRSD

    An article in Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reminded me of John Belushi in "Animal House" exhorting frat brothers to rally against a dean's effort to put them out of business. "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Supremely disappointing

    The Arkansas Supreme Court last week delivered a blow to civil rights in Arkansas. It was another results-oriented decision that gives a clue to how far the justices likely will go to appease the legislature.
    • Mar 2, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: More on pits

    • Well, aren't we the compassionate one - "own family members" can mean small children -…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Of course you don't care. If you cared, you might want to find a solution…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Enough! I don't care if it is the dog or the human factor. The end…

    • on March 24, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation