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

From the ArkTimes store

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

  • North Little Rock mayor shows downtown plaza plan

    North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith is presenting a plan to the City Council tonight for a downtown plaza meant to augment planned private developments and further enhanced downtown as a destination.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Attorney general asks for continued secrecy on execution drugs

    As expected, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has asked the Arknasas Supreme Court for an "emergency stay" of a lower court ruling that the Correction Department must produce labels from one of the drugs used in executions.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Groups seek end to commercial collection of wild turtles

    Several environmental organizations to end commercial turtle collection in Arkansas.The harvests (more than 126,000 turtles from 2014 to 2016) are not sustainable and that, in turn, is damaging to ecosystems, the groups said.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • 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
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Aid politics

    The still-unfolding catastrophe in Houston is, first, a human tragedy. But when politicians try to tell you that a time of enormous human tragedy is not a time to talk about politics, it likely means the politics are embarrassing to them.
    • Aug 31, 2017
  • Save the statues!

    The Democratic Party of Arkansas has called for relocation of Confederate monuments from public places, such as courthouse squares and the Capitol lawn, to history museums or private grounds.
    • Aug 24, 2017
  • Charter secret

    These are hard times for those who believe in traditional public schools, run by democratically elected representatives, open to all on equal terms.
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

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

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Nobody is blaming the victim. There also isn't some sinister patriarchy going on, it is…

    • on September 25, 2017
  • Re: Sex on campus

    • I'm in my 50's. I don't think I know a single woman who HASN'T been…

    • on September 25, 2017
  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Here we see a "social scientist" who begins with an ad hominem argument, and then…

    • on September 24, 2017
 

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