Blame It On the In-in-in-in-integration (Unconventional Wisdom)

Or The Case Against Integration

If you HBCU is dead, dying or in disarray it’s probably because you didn’t go there. You probably didn’t even realize it was yours. It was just that one school in the bad neighborhood where you were all, “My God! Who put Spellman in the middle of the ghetto?” because you’re not from Atlanta. You’re from Chicago or St. Louis or New York or Los Angeles where they don’t have HBCUs and colleges are in “nice” places. Your expectations are framed by the not-so-magical, integrated world of suburbia where if you were fortunate to actually get a decent education you dreamed of “A Different World” and most certainly got it if you actually pursued that dream at a black school.

But most of us didn’t go chasing after Dwayne and Whitley. Not us, the children of integration. And a lot of didn’t see those schools as ours, even if they’d been created for us, and went on to create mini-versions of it with other black students through self-segregation on the “white” college campus, ususally by joining black sororities and fraternities and trying to live amongst other black students. Because, in the end, even though we grew up integrated, we still didn’t always feel welcome.

Which was the crux of a discussion two older black men had with me years ago for a newspaper story. Both were ministers and both were members of the NAACP. They’d belonged to the local chapter in Bakersfield, Calif. for years, and they’d joined the larger organization when they were still young men trying to grasp the fight for Civil Rights of the 1950s and 60s. They both confirmed something that had been nagging in my heart nearly all of my life.

Integration wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.

More after the jump.

The goal was to get fairness, but what they lost was in some ways so much greater, they said. They’d lost an entire community. They’d lost support. They’d lost businesses. They saw black neighborhoods, once prosperous, gutted, leaving only those who couldn’t leave behind. They saw jobs disappear. They saw a “me first” attitude, a lack of a unified front or coherent strategy to deal with problems. They saw a drop in marriage, a rise in out-of-wedlock births and crime. They saw young people embrace ignorance over intellect and excellence. They saw churches become less and less the voice and defenders of the people, and more of a passive actor peddling salvation, but no where to be found as AIDs started picking off family members in secret.

And they blamed it all on integration. That all efforts for inclusion had come at the expense of blacks. That we’d been forced to give up a way of life to finally have the freedom to live our lives. After all, it wasn’t white students who were woken up at 4 in the morning to be bused across town and they didn’t cut off the garbage pick-up in the white neighborhood. They didn’t close down the white hospital in St. Louis City and make everyone go to Homer G. Phillips. Blacks wanted equality and got a destruction, en masse, of their institutions.

A high price to pay for the freedom to sit down at a restaurant or go to the college of your choice.

The men I interviewed admitted that segregation wasn’t exactly a paradise. Poverty was rampant. There was little money for anything. Entire communities were neglected by the government they paid taxes into. Schools were uneven at best, bad at worst (usually from lack of funding). There was a constant concern of property being seized suddenly if a black community was “too” successful. The Klan ran almost everything in Southern towns as back then it was one part racist terrorist group, one part social club for police, judges, business-owners and politicians. Yet despite all this, there was something to be said of having a piece of your own. Now, in the pursuit of affluence, the old men argued we’d come up with a bad case of “the white man’s ice water is colder” and had left those not as strong to twist in the wind.

Once we could actually sample from the White’s Only fountain without retribution, many of us never looked back.

I hear it from black business owners, especially those who run services, that getting black clientele is difficult as they often won’t do business with the firm unless they know they are doing business with white people as well. And I’ve been witness to the whole “Niggas can’t do shit” mentality my entire life, where black people tear down other black people for making an attempt at creating something, as if we’ve become allergic to our own success outside of athletics and entertainment.

Overall, the number of black business owners is far lower than the national average, and their businesses also “tend to have lower sales, fewer employees and smaller payrolls, lower profits, and higher closure rates.”

(Santa Cruz economics professor Rob Fairlie) reveals the worst part: Change is nowhere on the horizon. “There’s no evidence business ownership rates have improved a lot in the last 25 years,” he says. “Blacks have made fair gains in the labor market, education, politics and legal issues, but it seems to me like business ownership and performance are areas that have not seen the kind of progress that we’ve seen elsewhere.” (Entrepreneur)

And I hear it from both older black men and women who are convinced the children of their children have gone insane. When my grandparents were raising their family of eleven in Newport, Ark. more than 63 percent of black of a marriagble age were married. Rates have plummeted since then with the startling statistic of the rate of marriage among black women going from 62 percent in 1950 to 38 percent in 1995. Unemployment is abysmal. Blacks fought so hard to get access to the good blue collar jobs that had been denied them since the post war boom, but by the time black men made it to the workshop floor, the 1980s came along and those same car companies and factories who built the white middle class moved to Mexico.

Since most black families had little institutional wealth to build on and the few with some money lived scattered lives across the suburban divide, the same poverty that dogged black families before the Civil Rights Movement still existed in the integrated world of today.

It seemed that at the precise minute when the world was finally opening up to blacks due to the successes of the Civil Rights Movement, the double-edged sword of integration was hacking away at the very community these fledgling families, businesses and schools needed to weather through the roughest of times.

So for all the gains, success is uneven.

Which brings us back to the HBCU. This year a study was release stating that the graduation rate for black students at historically black colleges and universities is “4 percentage points lower than the national college graduation rate for black students” and “only 29 percent of the male students at HBCUs achieve a bachelor’s degree within six years.”

While it’s easy to spin this as abysmal, let’s be realistic — the difference is FOUR percent. The national graduation rate for black students at predominantly white schools is 42 percent, with black women graduating at a slight higher rate of 46 percent compared to 32 percent of men. (The Journal of Blacks and Higher Education)

Arguably, the integrated campus is doing just as bad as the all black campus in churning out black graduates. And if you are a black male student, the grass most certainly was not greener on the other side.

Opinion columnist Earle J. Fisher argued that the so-called facts obscure the reality about what an HBCU is.

If the racial divide in other aspects of our nation was merely four percentage points, we would have conventions all over the country celebrating the advancement of racial equality we have made. The reality is that with all of the tools and resources predominantly white institutions of higher education have at their disposal, one would think that the margin of difference in black students’ graduation rates would (and arguably should) be a lot larger …

It is unjust to assume that students at colleges and universities that are not historically black, who are given higher accessibility to privileges that assist them in academic advancements, should not excel at a greater rate than students at HBCUs, who do not have the same access to those privileges.

Have we simply traded one form of inequality for another? Before we had separate and unequal and today we have separate and still unequal, but you can go to the Starbucks without being attacked by a firehose?

Was it worth it if the good things we created had to be sacrificed for the dream of inclusion?


The Snob’s view: While integration wasn’t a magical pill that cured racism in our society, I honestly believe that there have been some social benefits. Alas in the pursuit of those benefits (see: better jobs, access to better schools, better homes and the ability to travel the country without having to sleep in your car because no hotel will let you stay there, the current president), we did lose a sense of community and traditionally, minority communities — from Eastern Europeans to Mexicans to Chinese — have benefited from relying on each other. Integration developed a sort of “divide and conquer” black hole that separated the more successful blacks from the rest of the community.

Many black professionals who had worked in segregated schools and hospitals lost their jobs when these institutions were closed so they could be consolidated into integrated state run facilities. This forced many of the educated black middle class to abandon their communities in search of work.

Thusly, classism came to Blackland in a big way and ultimately, I think this was the biggest unintended consequence of integration.

So? Do you agree? Disagree? Discuss below and if you feel strongly enough write the rebuttal as to why integration was necessary and why you can’t blame all of our problems on the end of American Apartheid.

47 thoughts on “Blame It On the In-in-in-in-integration (Unconventional Wisdom)

  1. Snob. I really think that it all begins and end with class. I have racial pride in being Black. I love it to pieces. But as long as the almighty dollar is in charge of how we eat there’s little we can do to remedy other people’s ills in terms of progress. We somehow have this utopian view that Black America is supposed to be one giant ass community center. I’m all about having compassion, but when I see my people doing twisted ish I just can’t allow that fuckery to enter my stratosphere. Not when I’ve got work to do. Some of us are Republican, conservative and really feel like we really don’t own anybody a thing if we’ve put the work in to make our dreams come true. Are we wrong for thinking that?I live in New York….where somebody is always begging for change. Some days I throw a dollar in the cup and some days I wish the person would disappear into the gutter. It ebbs and flows for me…Segregation had to end. We’re all human beings first.

  2. @ TTThat’s right. I forgot about Harris-Stowe. It’s a smaller school and historically was a teachers college. But it melded with the white teachers college many years ago. Would they/are they still considered an HBCU despite the merger?

  3. A self-fulfilling prophecy: Spelman College wasn’t always in the ‘ghetto’. Blacks began to believe that if there were no White people in a neighborhood then that neighborhood must be a lesser place to live. So they began to move to the treeless, sidewalk-less suburbs of Atlanta. That left only people who couldn’t afford to move, poor people. So now Spelman is in the ‘ghetto’.That scenario has played out in hundreds of different ways throughout Black communities all over the country. We are taught from birth that White is always better and Black is inherently bad. Obviously this isn’t true but we begin to believe it and then we make it come true.The war that needs to be fought is a war that needs to be fought in our minds. As long as little Black girls are still choosing White dolls over Black ones then that war is being lost. Whether it’s an HBCU or Ebony Magazine or a neighborhood or a Black business, as long as we continue to allow outside forces to brainwash us then all of those things will be second best to us whether they really are or not.Integration was supposed to be about the freedom of choice. It was never supposed to be about choosing White over Black, which is what it has become.

  4. Great post!All of the first generation college graduates in my family and my SO’s family went to HBCU’s and are quite successful in their careers. They always have fond memories of their college experiences. The SO went to an HBCU for awhile but the college screwed around with his graduation requirements so he dropped it. I had to laugh at the statement about the location of some of the universities and colleges. My girlfriend attended Coppin and complained about someone stealing the radio out of her car TWICE. The sad part is her car was worse than a hoopty!This post made me think about the President and First Lady who did not attend HBCU’s.Also, what about building an American community that incorporates and supports everyone without squashing individuality ? Perhaps, I’m thinking too optimistically…

  5. Great post snob. im a third generation student at FAMU. Grandma, mama, and daddy all went to famu. Anyways we had this discussion in my African American experience class. Its like we were so happy to go to these white schools, and business that we just abandon our own. I found it interesting that they decidded to close two of the black schools where i live and bus them to the mostly white schools. i also find it interesting how my school gets 1 dolar for every 70 dollars they give to fsu which prodentaly white.

  6. I went to Ohio State which as quiet as it is kept is also in the ghetto. Property crimes were rampant, there was a serial rapist on the loose, and about once a school year a student was murdered. When four white kids are tied up and shot execution style it is probably drug related although the media would never call it that. I honestly never considered attending an HBCU. I went to Cleveland public schools which were 50% or more black. I studied engineering so only a few HBCUs qualified and they were often 70% female which sounded like hell to me. Ohio State was only 10% black but 10% of 50,000 students aint’ bad. In college I hung out with the black nerds just like I did in K-12, all of my white friends I met in my engineering courses. In college there were 3 kinds of black students: those who wanted to be popular and reenact "Mean Girls" with an all black cast, the black nerds, and the blacks who only hung out with whites.

  7. I have been waiting for this particular subject matter to give my two cents but Monie beat me to it.Get out of my head Monie!! 😉

  8. I watched white-flight up close when I was a child, and it taught me one thing: The grass will be greener for only so long. All of the communities that blacks flocked to after integration were abandoned by their white neighbors. They took their money with them, and there were no Black businesses to replace them. The chasers who themselves could not leave, were stuck with houses that were stripped of their value in neighborhoods worse than the ones they fled. The urge to over integrate only created more poverty and ghettos. Which brings me to my next point. Black people are too quick to throw away their shared history and institutions. One of the reasons I chose to go to a HBCU is because I visited my friends who did not and noticed how hard they had to work to replicate the little things they missed from home. They often had to either limit themselves to frat parties, Black Student Union Events, the dreaded black night at the club, or drive to the nearest chocolate-metro to listen to a decent DJ. Every weekend there was some homie on my couch who could not take spending another week-end in white-bread college town.

  9. This article is like a breath of fresh air. I’m a HU grad (Hampton, of course), and I sometimes find myself defending my choice of college among some of our own people. Apparently, some believe that HBCUs have no purpose in our now "integrated" society. Funny that no one dares question the purpose of the historically white schools that were built on exclusion. Before integration, Black schools, businesses, etc where the only places Blacks could go…they were the foundation of the Black community they served. Money stayed within the community. There is no doubt that segregation had to end, but it shouldn’t have to come at the cost of abandoning our foundation.

  10. I attended a design college in NYC, where it was almost fashionable for Black students to pretend to not know each other. Which was ok for me as I was always a major introvert anyway. I know people have had wonderful experiences at HBCU’s but it seems to be if it is best if you are a "joiner"-you want to be a Greek, or some other social institution. I think i would have been more of an outcast at a HBCU because I was painfully shy-at least around "Others" I was invisible and I think that suited me more. Until I moved to Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn I did not know how much I missed living around my own culture., though. .It’s nice to come home and see elderly retired Black men sititing outside talking smack and asking why am i home so late, or the Jamaican lady across the street bringing me tomatoes she picked up at the farmer’s market; even the gold teeth/doo-rag tattooed brothers who run up to my two dogs with "those doggies are mad cute miss" and hug them-Nevermind the fools blasting music at 3 am sometimes, etc.-there is a really nice sense of Black American community that I am grateful to see in my small part of the world. This very nice post addresses that. But for some reason I’m feeling melancholic today re: this topic, tmw I’ll be back to thinking about when did it become cute for too many young Black girls to behave as if they have absolutely no self respect, and random Black men out in the street who need someone to oppress and who better than a Black woman walking by herself-sigh.

  11. Did anyone ever truly blieve that integration would really cure racism? It is true integration during the times of Brown v Board of Education Topeka, Kansas was a scare tactic used to solicit equal funding from state governments for black schools, colleges and universities, but it was never really their intentions to integrate with white schools.

  12. @BluActually at HBCUs you can have a great time without having anything to do with fraternities or sororities. I can actually count on one hand, how many Greek events I went to.

  13. "The war that needs to be fought is a war that needs to be fought in our minds. As long as little Black girls are still choosing White dolls over Black ones then that war is being lost. Whether it’s an HBCU or Ebony Magazine or a neighborhood or a Black business, as long as we continue to allow outside forces to brainwash us then all of those things will be second best to us whether they really are or not.Integration was supposed to be about the freedom of choice. It was never supposed to be about choosing White over Black, which is what it has become."Monie,That war has been wagged but never won because those who fought on that front were demonized and marginalized in favor of the more concilatory intergationist vision. I always imagine what would have happened if we actually fought and won on that front.

  14. I will admit that HBCUs are tough on women in the love department. The male to female ratio is really out of whack and can make getting a date difficult for a woman, no matter how beautiful she is.I have seen people get eaten alive by the Greek system though, but that happens everywhere.

  15. Danielle,I can agree that integration has played a LARGE role in the demise of Black America over the past 40 to 50 years. The Civil Rights movement was not about gaining access to vestiges of White life in America, it was about gaining access to the RIGHT life in America — getting the same text books in the Black schools that the white students were getting in their schools because our tax dollars were involved, not getting the run around when Black folks were trying to get a business license nor being redlined into property that would never appreciate in value. Yes, it is good to see how other people live and frankly, that is the only benefit of integration as we know it (he recognition of the humanity in ALL of us and not the deification of Whites or the dehumanization of everyone else in this society).I do, however, want to question the context in which you presented the graduation statistics. Maybe, I should also question the Journal’s interpretation of their data. None of the figures have real scale to them. Yes, it is great to see that Harvard, Oberlin, Yale, Bowdoin, et. al. have high rates of graduation, but what are the Black populations of those schools? My alma mater, Florida A&M, was shown with a low matriculation-completion rate (that’s what the tables are really showing); I believe that it was at 34%. Harvard’s rate was shown at 95%. FAMU has over 11,000 undergraduate students with approximately 95% of them Black. Harvard has less than 600 Black students matriculating in their undergraduate college. Assuming, for clarity, that an entering freshman class represents a quarter of the undergraduate population and applying the graduation rates to those figures, 142 Blacks will graduate with a Bachelors from Harvard and 935 will graduate from FAMU, both within 6 years. Yes, the rates are below par, but the fact remains that HBCUs are producing many numbers of college educated professionals. I do believe that these rates will rise and students will be retained going forward, but the HBCU is still relevant and viable in these times.

  16. The civil rights era bought many good things as well as bad outcomes. The biggest benifit was "Freedom" to work and live were you damn well please. The biggest downside "Destruction" of the coeshive Black community. Do people really want to look back on those days of segeration and say that was a good time? Blacks were treated as though they had a diease and forced to live against there will in situations that were very shameful. What is holding the Black race back in todays world is "Classism and a mild form of racism". I would wager the biggest problem is more to do with Classism nowdays.

  17. I not olnly graduated from an HBCU, but I also worked at the college’s Community Development Corporation. Earle (we both graduated from LeMoyne Owen College) was right, the numbers don’t tell the truth. What is not said about HBCU’s that are currently located in the ghetto is that they don’t just educate the students within the college’s property line, but that they seek to educate those beyond. I’ve seen numerous free credit, small business, GED, career training and parenting classes given at many HBCU’s. I think many of us at HBCU’s can attest that there are many times you will see people from the community come to just experience life on the campus. If you take into account the HBCU’s that accept non-traditional students, first generation college students, and students that probably would not be able to get into other (read: Predominately White Institutions — PWI’s) then you are looking at the HBCU from a completely different angle. These students typically have a lower probability of graduating in 6 years. The problem with some (not all) HBCU’s is a matter of public awareness. We don’t tell our stories the way the need to be told.

  18. Believe it or not, all schools weren’t segregated in the Jim Crow era. My mother went to public schools during the ’30s and ’40s in New Jersey, where white and black students were taught in the same classrooms. All her life, my mother has had an equal number of white and black friends. She has more white friends than me!

  19. Integration did not do anything to us. We did it to ourselves. We chose to get ahead and in the process lose touch with our community, culture, reaching back and however you want to put it. I say this because when African immigrants come here to get an education or find success, they still stick together. I saw it in college. All the African students created their own support group simply because they were African. They verbally, financially and socially supported one another while competing with one another simply because they were African. Why? I think it all has to do with culture. They were raised to be proud and understand the concept of community. So, we did this to ourselves. Not intergration.

  20. This is a complex issue. Love the post.Part of our drive for excellence during segregation was about proving to ourselves and the larger society that we were [better than, equal to] whites. In retrospect, I think the fight for integration should’ve been a fight for equal funding above equal access. My father graduated valedictorian of his HS class & didn’t have the academic chops (so they said) to attend the university down the street where my grandfather mopped the floors. We had communities that taught self esteem & love. K12 education is so disparate, even today and within the same integrated buildings, that the options of where can I go to college is drastically limited long before considering the cultural or academic points of this issue.HBCU or white school are both capable of educating a black person to be strong and successful. Both are also capable of crushing the spirit and hope of the students they are ‘educating’. Not everything is for everybody.I look at that picture of the schoolgirl and I wonder if she is stronger or bitter & broken from that experience. I also think if we had a ‘prevail come hell or high water’ approach to education, it wouldn’t really matter which campus we attended.

  21. @ Anonymous – No man is an island.You could’ve stopped with the love 2 pieces part of your comment. and at the risk of making a broad generalization about the assumptions of black Republicans, NOT NARY ONE OF Y’ALL Got ta where ya is today without the support of that giant ass community center working on your behalf or your families behalf in ways you could see and ways you could not see, so stop posing like you’re one of the few good things that came out of our hood. And stop acting like you have no responsibility to reach back & support another.Big Point Here: You aren’t special because of your success. You are fortunate to have beaten the odds. There were several dudes from your own hood that were smarter than you & set to be more successful. They got shot down on the way home for their kicks or scooped up in a drug raid or sideswiped by that neat polite suburban school system with no expectations for blacks.and had the community center treated you like the hopeless situation you describe as we as a peoples, you wouldn’t have been so fortunate.In short: that refreshingly icy ice water your drinking has big ol bug in it.

  22. @ BluTopazI felt an immediate kinship to what you said about being introverted. I was so shy in school that talking to anyone was a chore, so I always saw myself as a part of my nucleus family first and foremost, and then there were all these non-relatives out there. 🙂

  23. Snob, have you read "The Failures of Integration" by Sheryl Cashin? It’s a great book. On the HBCU tip, it’s always interesting to me how defensive HBCU grads/students get when this kind of topic comes up. I attended a PWI and I had a great experience. I got an excellent education and I met my very best friends at my school (which most students do) and I never for a second experienced all the "isolation" and "rejection" that HBCU grads LOVE to imagine black PWI grads go through. The occasional racial incident? Sure…but that’s being a black person in America. Big damn deal. The place where I went to school was not too far from an HBCU…and every black student I attended school with NEVER considered going to that school. Mostly because our school actually had stringent academic standards and if you didn’t meet them, you were kicked out. Oh well. You’re an adult; it’s time to sink or swim. That HBCU, however, accepted any old body. No thanks. If I want all that, I’ll go to community college.I feel no personal loyalty to dying HBCU’s because 1) I didn’t attend one and 2) it is quite clear that the people who should care the most, their own alumni, don’t. Thank God for Oprah and Bill Cosby, right? If they close down, that would be unfortunate for the students and alumni, but I can’t say I would lose any sleep. Smart black kids who are truly college bound will still go to college because more than likely, they have the stats to get into a good school regardless. It’s the folks who are barely making it that are shaking in their boots.Times have changed. A side effect of this awesome Obama presidency is that nobody is going to give a duck’s butt about your excuses. DO BETTER or get out of the way. Black students coming up nowadays are not falling for that guilt trip about "attending for the experience". I’m sure the HBCU experience is great, but if your school academic standards are low to non-existant, your administration is corrupt and inefficient, your dorms are raggedy and falling apart, you don’t have the latest lab equipment or facilities, it’s a wrap. Someone actually suggested to me that I should be willing to accept all that because "it makes you more resourceful and black schools should be forgiven because they don’t have money like white schools do". Like Martin "Marty Mar" Payne said, "Somebody done told you wrong!" Not having the same endowment as Harvard University is not an excuse for your school to not run efficiently and work what you have to the fullest. And finally, I think that’s why so many HBCU folks were mad when Obama cut that extra $73 million HBCU’s have been receiving out of his budget and is instead planning to dole it out in the form of grants. It’s because they KNOW the best and brightest black kids are choosing more and more to go to schools that have the best facilities, equipment, educators, and quality of life. And unfortunately, a lot of them don’t seem to think that HBCUs are those schools. And they feel no guilt about it whatsoever.

  24. @Truthteller: I’m a little offend by that comment. Are you assuming because I chose to go to an HBCU I am not one of the brightest black students in college? For your Information I was a Pharmacy Major and FAMU has one of the top Pharmacy schools in the country. If I wanted to go Pharmacy school I would have had to go all the way to UF and I didn’t want to be far from home the first year of college. Being a Dual-Enrollment student I was able to go to the PWI school while I was in high school for College classes plus I plan on going to one for Medical School at FSU as well. The difference? It’s was nice for the experience and the love i got my first year here at FAMU. I got stuff there I didn’t get at the PWI school and vice-versa. Don’t assume all HBCU you are not academic standing.

  25. First of of all Truthteller, let’s not get it twisted, HBCUs only produce 1/4 of the African American college graduates but half of the black folks with advanced degrees attended HBCUs. This suggests that the best and the brightest will succeed regardless of the starting point.Second, I noticed that someone said that Michelle and Obama didn’t attend an HBCU. Well, they didn’t attend State U either. That’s right, they didn’t attend Penn State or Ole Miss or University of Wisconsin. They attended ivy league schools and you will noticed that a good number of cabinet members and staff members attended ivies also. I suppose an argument can be made that the best and brightest black and brown kids are attending ivy league schools. Does this suggest that aid to struggling white colleges should be cut?

  26. Wonderful post. I do not, however, like the myth that intra-race class issues began with desegregation. We Black folks have always had class issues–even when all of us were living together in the same geographical community. Heck–even when we were in Africa.Desegregation made the class issues clearer because, as pointed out here, those with resources could move away. But social class was always a part of Black life and it is only a certain romance that makes us think this was not so. I agree with the commenter who said that the battle was not "won" because concessions were made. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had King survived and continued the mission he was on when he was assassinated–that of directly addressing American poverty and institutionalized classism. Of course the Civil Rights movement could have continued in that direction without Dr. King. (And of course there have been organizations and individuals who have continued this fight.) But in general a lot of that progression lost its forward motion.With regard to majority White vs majority Black institutions: I had never felt the class and other divisions among Blacks more severely as when I visited friends at a majority Black institution. The group of us Blacks at a majority White school were well-bonded because we had to be. Of course not every HBI is like the one I visited and not all Black students had positive experiences at majority White schools. But HBIs will never be the panacea to all that ails us as a community.

  27. TruthTeller,That is a misnomer. The truth is that HBCU grads CAN hold their own with ANYONE regardless of their alma mater. You automatically assume all those that attended HBCUs are both academically and intellectually inferior to those that attended other schools; that is AGAIN…not true. Are the doctorates for your professors greater than the ones for my professors? I guarantee that the grind of research, having data from said research published in reputable, national journals, and dealing with the heightened level of political chicanery doesn’t count for the professors at HBCUs; I guess their PhDs don’t really count. However, I digress. You have personally illustrated the fact about which Snob wrote. Personally, I am proud of my HBCU education. I learned about who I am. Let me rephrase. I learned about who WE are — for good and for bad.

  28. I graduated from an all-female HBCU and it was the most nurturing academic environment I’d ever been in. On one hand we were pushed to be the best, but on the other hand old-fashioned traditions and beliefs were constantly challenged. One rule that I remember was that we had to attend chapel a certain amount of times per week as a requirement for graduation. Well, what if some people are Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist or Agnostic? Still, even with this and other things, I feel that I received the best undergraduate education I could have hoped for. My choice to date White men and bring them on the campus may have set me apart from the others in some ways, but I feel that difference of opinion was tolerated better because you could always find a few like-minded people somewhere. I don’t regret graduating from an HBCU because the history is so rich and it really prepared me to deal with different types of people and to be secure in who I am without having to compromise.

  29. Back in the day when Malcolm X was telling us that we didn’t want intergration, but desegregation, I don’t think many of us understood what he meant. As I grew up in the South we were segregated and therefore it was necessary that we have our own. We had or schools, with teachers who taught us about our heritage, giving us a sense of pride among all that we suffered, our own shops, our own cafes and our own medical community, a kind of cocoon, shall I say. Our Universities were, of course, the ones we attended and so we were together with the Blacks that had and the ones who were struggling because we had no where else to go. While I feel that intergration was the right thing to do as we all are Americans; we fell down on our end. Because we felt that anything "white" was better than anything Black, we decided that it would make us better to dismiss what we had built for the greener grass on the other side. This to me, was the bad side of intergration for us. Choices that we made to accept the myth that we were less and therefore, anything we had was less than what the majority folk had. Our schools and our communities suffered from abandonment by these choices that we made. It seems that is also when we lost control of our youth. We lost our values, our pride, our way; really ourselves to take on the values and pride of others who still do not accept us. We were the only ones who intergrated. It is against the law of nature that a minority should rule the world; but because we, people of colour throughout the world, are willing to abandon all that we are to be acceptable to the minority…..we help them defy the law of nature.and we continually have little to show for it. Now I am an old lady and I have no idea of how to get back any of these things that we, so freely, gave up for something called "intergration".and I so plainly see now what brother Malcolm meant by his words of intergration and desegregation. A day late and a dollar short.

  30. The problem with integration is that it has never been achieved; not even close. Integration has only been successful on one area, and that is the workplace, and even this is arguable. Residential and school integration has been a failure. Most blacks go to nearly all-black schools and live in all-black neighborhoods. Outside of the workplace, blacks and whites are still highly segregated. And because of this, I believe that attacking integration is misplacing our anger.

  31. It was a catch 22 situation, and hindsight is 20/20…which is a good thing!The way I see it, we now have over five hundred years worth of history in this country to look back on and decide what worked and what didn’t work. We should be thankful for the sacrifices made by our elders and use them as our inspirations. We should also take a look at the mistakes made and brainstorm on how to correct and build on a new frontier.Our ancestors fought and died for us to gain access to quality resources in this country, Now that we have them, we need to bring them back into our communities. Personally, I feel if that means we need to re-segregate ourselves then so be it! It’s not about being racist. It has nothing to do with pitting Blacks against Whites…it has nothing to do with Whites and everything to do with the uplift of the Black community. Hell, our community out of everyone needs the most support! At this point, we can’t afford not to….but it all starts with the state of mind.I started out at a PWI and transferred to THE Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU)..I couldn’t have made a better choice!…so hard to be a rattler…

  32. Zora Neale Hurston alluded to integration beautifully, and I cannot find her exact quote concerning Brown v. Board of Education, but the crux of what she was saying is this…..We (blacks) believe that success cannot be achieved without the presence of white folk. If that is not an inferiority complex I do not know what is. Lets review the idea of integration. I am a teacher, and it is amazing to me that before integration our black children could read and write. After a couple of years of integration, suddenly our children are the "worse performing children" in every content area. How is that possible? How is it that in schools where our children make up 30% of the population they make up almost 60% of discipline referrals? Does any of this sound familiar? It should, because many of our integration schools, especially high schools are a smaller snap shot of our penal system. How can blacks make up this tiny population, but yet our institutions (those dedicated to correction) are overflowing with black youth. Our children are overly represented in remedial classes while under represented in advanced classes. In the words of Dr. Cosby, "Come on People," something is happening. Historically black colleges are suffering from the syndrome that because these institutions were built to support black college bound students that somehow they are inferior to historically white institutions. Notice, anything that relies upon the support of black Americans for survival soon fail because it is almost like we are allergic to supporting our own. Then, we blame the white man or inequalities for failure. Perhaps, we need to change the conversation about what we (blacks) can do to help our own because no one else will help. Blacks betrayed themselves in the name of institutions (high schools and universities alike) that have thrived on believing that we were inferior.

  33. Truthteller, I attended Michigan State my first year and my advisor tried to program me to flunk out, I was 16 when I went to college having graduated in 11th grade. I left MSU and went to Tuskegee where I got a BS degree, then Howard where I got a BA in Journalism, worked for CNN and edited local papers and trade publications. I then went to Univ of MD college Park and got my MEd in one year and Univ of Balt and got my JD. At no time did I feel I had an inferior education. I was MORE than prepared having attended two HBCUs. The people who were in my wedding and are still my lifelong friends are from my HBCUs and my law school friends in BLSA (Black Law Students Association). But I remember the isolation and being the only Black in my major at MSU. It was a horrible experience, I loved Tuskegee and made the excellent grades I knew I could make because I was in a nuturing environment. My friends who have attended HBCUs are almost all Drs. Lawyers, architects, engineer, etc. and very successful. No they are not for everyone, but I remember the students who could hardly read, who spent HOURS in the library who are now Veterinarians, business owners, etc. and they succeeded because they got a chance. HBCUs are committed to our people making it despite coming to the schools with substandard public educations in secondary school. My experience in PWI’s is you are just a number. You may get an instructor that cares, but I had DEAN’s that advised me and cared about me. I had instructors who held classes in their homes. I saw my professors at Howard at the NABJ conventions and they became my peers and colleagues and mentors. Good luck with that with a PWI. I have white law school classmates, who after graduation, walked past me outside the courthouse in Baltimore and acted like they did not know me. My white professors treated me better than that. It is important to get your education where you can, but having graduated four times, I will always have a special place in my heart for Skegee and The Mecca!

  34. I went to a white school. Yeah, it’s an Ivy too, so I am definitely doper than all y’all. nah, just kidding. For real, I was kidding: I promise.I think it’s all a matter of choice and what’s important to you and your college experience. Of my group of high school friends, I went to an Ivy, one went Big Ten, one to Spelman, one to Howard, and we all did our thing and graduated in 4 years. We wanted different things out of our college experience and we got them, while being successful. We were all infinitely happy with our decision, and we all love our alma maters. Would I care if HBCUs failed? yes. I would care if any historically black institution failed, but that being said, my heart belongs to my Ivy. I would never dare to say that the best and brightest go to any particular school, neither would I suggest that an Ivy is the right fit for every black student I know, even with the best grades. However, I do wish a lot of smart Black students would understand that the Ivies, just like HBCUs, are for us too.If HBCU alums want to ensure that their institutions remain current and viable, then they need to give back, not just go back. Don’t blame other black folk for not attending, or not choosing your alma mater in favor of another school that so happens to be predominantly white. Don’t simply use history and tradition to coax every black student to come because you believe that since your HBCU experience is indispensible to you, it will be for them too.I don’t feel bad that I didn’t choose Howard or Spelman or Fisk.. just like I don’t feel bad that I live in the suburbs and not in the West End. If you want your school to stay alive, do what the alum have done since the beginning: support the school that made it possible for you to be successful and donate. (Like i do).PS: Many white schools are in the hood as well.

  35. well said siderlgs. You have to choose the college/university that fits you best. There’s no shame in that.Your statement clarified my statement about Michelle and Barack, in case anyone was wondering….

  36. Let’s not forget, urban renewal did (and continues to do) as much, if not more, to ruin community as integration.

  37. I think the problems that have arisen with integration go far beyond our own internalized feelings of inferiority. I say so because that was very much my opinion when graduating from high school. I felt that the biggest reason the other black students in my PW high school didn’t achieve was our own psychological issues that told us all we were not as good as the white students and thus shouldn’t even try. That was part of the reason why I had my heart set on going to Howard so I could be in a strong black academic atmosphere with others who "got it." That dream did not come true. I got into Howard but received no funding whatsoever. Nearly all of the PWI schools I got into offered me full or nearly full rides. I really couldn’t afford to take out $20,000+ in loans a year. I felt like I was being punished. I was so angry that I couldn’t join the academic black elite that I thought must preside in black institutions. So I took my fate and went to the best PWI I could find with the smallest price tag. Now four years later I have my degree and I’m heading to an amazing "southern ivy" to get my PhD in Educational Policy. I learned much more in my small liberal arts college than I did in 18 years of life about my own education and that of my black peers.I highly suggest looking up Any Stuart Wells and the work she has done on the subject of the education policy surrounding Brown v. Board. Specifically her article "The Space between School Desegregation Court Orders and Outcomes: The Struggle to Challenge White Privilege" points out that when many school districts were given the mandate to integrate they still failed to create an "all inclusive" atmosphere. Schools and teachers knew there was more they could do to provide a truly equal education experience for the new black students that were coming to their schools, but they simply did not implement those initiatives for fear of scaring away the white families. One big example is the exclusion of black and minority stories from class curricula. There is still a struggle for more representation in almost all academic fields that are considered necessary to learn for school children to become decent and constructive individuals.Also, one thing that personally crippled my own understanding of my status in school is the fact that everyone learned that certain groups suffered hardships but it was never treated as something that is still going on now. My ancestors may have had a hard time but now I get to go to a fancy white school and my education is the same as Becky’s. If I believed it then of course all of the white children did too. And, even if discrimination was covered we NEVER EVER EVER EVER learned anything about privilege. This isn’t only detrimental to the black students that believe that something must be wrong with them because they are not doing as well but it led the white students to dismiss any responsibility they may have to help along the process of equality. In a class once a white girl told me she didn’t feel sorry that students in inner city schools didn’t have books and computers because "most of them get scholarships anyway." Also, don’t forget that Brown v. Board was about much more than providing equal access to education. The court ruled the separate but equal was inherently unequal because it was psychologically damaging to black children for the government to have a policy that stated they were not equal to white students. Yes, integration in its simplest form that we have seen does not reverse that problem. The problem however does not only lie in our minds but in our institutions. I think integration did little to battle institutional racism that still has very real impacts for everyone in the black community. I cannot say that I would not have done as well at Howard as I did at my PWI. I am just happy to have the education and be able to use it to help the next generation of black students. Thanks for the topic!

  38. RT @Rattler Pride: Yes it is a and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!!!Proud Rattler 🙂

  39. re: the smaller issue of hbcus vs. pwis: in other forums i’ve seen these arguments devolve into defensive posturing on both sides. to me, the truth is in the middle – we need both kinds of institutions so that black folks can make any kind of choice we want to make. while i attended two pwis (one state and one ivy), i’m a great admirer of and believer in hbcus, one of which enabled my mother to be the first college graduate in my family on *both* sides. hbcus still play the same kind of role today! on the flip side, i had a terrific experience at my alma mater and connected with people that i love even 20 years(!) after graduating. (it also helps to win the men’s hoops ncaas every so often, go heels!)

  40. I think you have a VERY interesting point and the way that you present yourself is entertaining, it that's the right word. I plan on subscribing to your feeds because I like what you've got to say. You tell it exactly how it is. I like that. On the topic of your post, do you not think that integration helped out at all? Would you rather it never occured at all? Did it just make matters worse?

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