HCBUs Don’t Always Get The Fair Shake They Deserve

September 2, 2015  |  

In addition to having an opinion on whether or not black lives matter, it seems there’s also some discussion about historically black colleges and universities — and whether or not they’re still relevant, or will survive for that matter. As you might expect, those outside “the community” have quite a bit to stay, but what’s interesting is this Newsweek article that heavily critiques another article and book that take jabs at the importance of HBCUs. What’s even more astonishing is both articles hail from Newsweek. Talk about keeping it real in the workplace.

Three authors have no problem going toe-to-toe with a fellow colleague who constantly tries to make the assumption that HBCUs will be a thing of the past, and has come to a crossroads where a lack of funding will make them extinct. Fighting point by point, Felecia, Andrés and Marybeth debunk common generalizations about black institutions that will hopefully encourage more to purse their higher education at one of these historic establishments.

Simply put, HBCUs have proven to be resilient and continue to stand the test of time. Whether dealing with limited funding and resources, or working to serve those who don’t come from pedigree, there are plenty of reasons why a historically black college or university might appear to be on the outs — but that doesn’t automatically make it doomed to fail.

One of the biggest areas this article highlights is something opposing authors failed to realize: Prejudice and racism can affect perception. It’s clear as day that Alexander Nazaryan (author of the Newsweek article in question) feels HBCUs miss the mark when stacked up against PWIs (predominately white institutions), but what he doesn’t seem to understand is that his constant criticism further reiterates the sentiment that everyone needs to fall in line with a “white standard” — as if that’s a desirable end game for everyone who wants to obtain a college degree.

Whether or not you believe HBCUs are still relevant is your opinion. Assuming all will have a negative financial fate based on one or two colleges, however, can be a damaging generalization. Who knows what the answer is, but it’s certainly not some finger waging comparison to ivy league institutions that singles out HBCUs, when the average non-black college or university would have a tough time meeting the same thresholds.

What do you think about HBCUs?

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