Monday, April 06, 2009

Black men aren’t graduating; Black women can’t find dates….oh well, at least I beat the odds!!!

"Even though that I'm the Monday woman, I'm going to be the best Monday woman so that when he's with the Tuesday woman or the Wednesday woman then he'll be thinking of me."

~Monet Phillips a Senior at North Carolina Central University, on dating men at Historically Black Colleges & Universities.

Most of the time, my Friday woman was my Saturday woman: So black men aren’t graduating because they are booked up during the week!!! Okay Okay, I know there is a better reason than that. Actually there are more reasons……Finances, Lack of interest, Poor academic backgrounds etc etc….

Apparently the big crisis of last week was the low or no graduation rates of black males. I personally wanted to be a 5 year student but student loans started talking louder and louder. I went to school with a guy that was in college during 3 presidential administrations (actually 1 Bush & 2 Clintons). He would come to class the first day and when it was time to take exams. On the flip side you had my wife (we weren’t married at the time) being an exemplary student. In the end all my wife got out of the deal was a college degree. I guess she did okay. She never learned how to play spades though. How do you go to a Historically Black College/University and not learn how to play spades???

But I guess this speaks to the 400lb Elephant in the room. Black woman are doing alright but black men…not so good! The long term ramifications of this could be disastrous. Statistics have shown that a college degree can mean an increase of income. Wealth building is something that black folks have had a hard time working on. A college degree is the step up that can help black men. When we don’t or can’t take advantage of that opportunity it sets us back.

One of the problems is the HBCU’s themselves. Times have changed and so have the students. Integration has made college accessible to all students regardless of race. That means the best black students aren’t always looking at HBCU’s. Predominantly white colleges are showing the money and drawing students. A large percentage of HBCU’s can’t compete with the predominantly white colleges when it comes to money and facilities. Facilities that are dated can’t compete with brand new amenities. With the growing competition for students that’s leaving some schools scraping the bottom of the barrel. We have to be honest and admit that some people aren’t college material. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t intelligent. The kids coming out of high school now are different. The “microwave generation” is what’s showing up on campus. For them the path to success is right now!!! Waiting is not an option and patience isn’t a virtue. I don’t want to sound like the old man in the neighborhood but “some of these kids don’t have a clue.” They watch reality television and think that anyone can be famous. Some of them are bringing this attitude to school with them. They are unaware of the importance of going to college. To survive in college you have to be focused. You are on your own and mom and dad aren’t there to help you.

On the flip side: Many students who were academic risks do well at black schools.

These are students that needed a push or a kick in the butt. HBCU’s have a history of taking students that other schools wouldn’t take. Then molded them into great students and turning them into great citizens. I love HBCU’s but something has got to give. So what is it?

It’s time for a reality check:

HBCU’s: You are going to have to take an “L” but it won’t hurt forever. A loss, yes I said it an “L”. This is the conversation that black folks don’t want to have. Some of our schools are going to have to go by the wayside. We can’t keep them all. Some schools could merge and others can become junior colleges. I’m thinking of a junior college or a two year school that can focus on a certain segment of student. They can take the students that are academically challenged and create an academic plan that can get them up to speed. They can also deal with students that are financially challenged as well (providing lower tuition rates). After two years they can transfer to an HBCU of their choice. Without the weight of expensive student loans and a poor academic track record, they can increase their chances of success. People don’t like to hear this because it might mean their school gets the axe. The numbers just aren’t there people!!! HBCU’s are going up against the Ivy League, State Schools etc etc… You have to change your game up if you want to stay in the game.

Black Women: The numbers aren’t looking good for you. Black women outnumbered the men when I was in school. That means that competition is going to be thick. You take the numbers of black men in jail, on their way to jail, not working (because they are deadbeat) and divide that by the number in college……it’s the worst mathematical answer that you have ever seen. At the end of the day some women are going to go man less. It’s like musical chairs at a kiddie birthday party. It’s best to go home empty handed because the constellation prize will suck. I wish I could wave a magic wand and solve your problems but I can’t. My advice to you is to not chase every man around campus. Stay true to yourself and your principles. And don’t forget to keep your hair, nails and feet done. And pray to God to keep the bad men from blocking your blessing.


the uppity (and sometimes elitist) negro said...

MAybe it's the elitist Negro in me, but I've met some people from some of these round-the-way HBCUs like Miles College and Edward Waters College and....

I seriously be wondering if they're just handing out degrees to thoroughly unqualified people. Now maybe it's because I went to these really super private schools where it was a big deal about who went there and the name, but I think a "Miles College" per se would close before they'd let Fisk University close.

Or even take Morris Brown for instance...with whom many students stay on ITC's campus, these kids BARELY graduated high school, and they're coming from near and far out of state and in-state to a school that has very little facilities. And moreover, last I heard, THEY'RE NOT FULLY ACCREDITED!

Like what are we doing here?!?!!?

NCCU Alumni said...

Great blog piece! I really think that SOME HBCU's have lost focus and have forgotten about their reason for existence. At the student level I don't like the product that is being produced and at the professor level I am in total disgust at how these dead weight tenured instructors do nothing and really show no enthusiasm or encouragement which reflects on the student's productivity...Some HBCU's and its hard but I have to put NCCU in the list, need a total overhaul of the instructors b/c some aren't qualified and they don't possess the "gumption" (an old school term) to produce decent students!!

Citizen Ojo said...

Citizen Wifey,

Says Amen!

the uppity negro said...

@NCCU Alumni

So how do we weed out which are the good professors and which are the ones that need to be let go?

I'm not convinced that we're producing students who want to be professors. It's kind of a job many people take to hold them over. It's usually the older professors that have a passion for doing it. But getting stuck with an adjunct prof who's just doing it for a paycheck sucks. Those are the ones who end up screwing the students.

NCCU Alumni said...

I am not sure how to weed out the good from bad, but maybe we need to have benchmarks or contracts like they have in more higher paying jobs. I know at NCCU, the tenured professors just start collecting a check. I think they should have specific benchmarks. Its not like black college classrooms are by the 100's like white institutions. I know from my college experience there were few black professors who actually took the time to try and make a difference. I reported the dead weights as I saw them to the administration, but the administration needed to be let go. After awhile, the good professors just give up and conform to the masses. At my job, we have to set goals and timelines to complete them. I am of the business profession and with the way the economy is going, there is PLENTY of opportunity for creative ideas, but professors use that as a crutch...

uglyblackjohn said...

Ojo, The idea of turning some HBCUs into JCs and then funneling their students to the four year schools would make the most sense I've heard regarding their plight.
The JCs could do the remediation and the four year schools would get the best of the two year students.
Get your idea out there - it's the only way for these schools to survive.