15 Dec Were HBCUs Designed to Teach You to Work For White People?

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 In this article at Financial Juneteenth, Dr. Umar Johnson offers a perspective that I disagree with.  While many HBCUs were originally established by well-meaning white people, the legacy of these institutions provbides a foundation for academic excellence that launched many of our leaders onto the American landscape.  http://financialjuneteenth.com/were-hbcus-designed-to-teach-you-to-work-for-white-people/  
 
 The mentaliy of Dr. Umar Johnson is a prime example of the hoax many of 
us have been subjected to.  He states that we are "not prepared to compete 
with European children for control of the economic sector."  He says, "We 
are babies in the war of economic commerce." He goes on to say, "We are 
economically illiterate... Our education in America has not prepared us to 
be able to compete with Europeans economically."  Apparently, he believes 
that our condition is the product of what Europeans have done to us, and 
that the only way to escape our oppression is to create an independent 
system where we can revel in our own definition of success -- and not 
have to work for white folks.

Further, he states,  "HBCUs were designed to teach you to work for white 
people." He wants our children to be empowered to start their own 
businesses.  The reality is that Black businesses are started at a rate that far 
exceeds that of white businesses already.  However, in our economic 
system more than 80% of all businesses FAIL WITHIN 5 YEARS -- 
WHITE OR BLACK. Does he know of some alternative reality where a 
different outcome can be achieved?

The reality is that everyone works for less than 20% of the successful 
business owners in the USA (and probalby so for the rest of the world).  
What are the other 80% of the population to do while their peers are failing 
at starting businesses?  They must go to work for someone.  Can the 20% 
of black-owned sucessful businesses employ the entire Black population?  
No. Can they disproportionately influence outcomes for the rest of the 
Black population?

The message we must convey to our children is that they live in a global 
society, like it or not.  There is no evidence that we can create a unique 
Black economic system that makes us all independent of the global 
economic system. The key differentiators for success in the 21st century 
are "SKILLS" -- business skills, information technology skills, 
communications skills, decision-making skills, and MOST 
IMPORTANTLY, LIFELING LEARNING SKILLS.
  
Our efforts must prepare us to compete and improve the existing systemS. 
 There is no way we can drop out and hope to overcome the 
disadvantages we already suffer from.  We cannot create physics different 
from that which is sending space probes to Mars.  We cannot create a 
separate information network while the whole world is leveraging the 
Internet for competitive advantage.  We cannot ignore the advancements in 
business management, financial markets, logistics, science, and information 
technology -- just because they were developed by our oppressors. We are 
not participating in a zero sum game.  This is a win-win scenario for the 
planet.  There are bigger winners than others.  And then there are losers.  
The losers are those without skills.

There is no way a person who cannot read, write, master mathematics, 
understand information technology, solve problems with critical thinking, 
and collaborate with everyone else on this planet -- can hope to be 
successful in life.  That is why so many fail at trying to start their own 
businesses.  You have to be smarter, work harder, and develop 
collaborative relationships with other successful people to succeed in 
economic activity in the 21st century.

Yes, we have been historically oppressed and excluded from the current 
economic system.  But that doesn't mean we don't use computers or the 
Internet because we didn't invent them.  Some of us have advanced to a 
level of prosperity that we don't have to worry about where our next meal 
is coming from. Most of that progress has taken place within currently 
advancing global economic systems.  Some of us have our own destinies 
in our hands, but 98% of the population of the world works for the other 
2%.  We just have to choose who among that 2% we need to work for to 
survive today and dream about tomorrow. Our choices are limited -- in 
whom we work for, and how we prepare ourselves for that work.  But our 
dreams are unlimited -- while we work.

What we have uniquely is our heritage, and our self-esteem.  If someone 
has robbed you of your self-esteem and your heritage, that is too bad.  In 
the information age, you can remedy that deficit quickly. The burden to 
convey Black self-esteem to our children is on us.  Then we can approach 
any system of work, or learning, or economic commerce -- and learn what 
we need to learn to pass on to our children a better life.  We must not 
indulge ourselves in fantasy while doing so.  As someone once said, "Life 
is what happens while you are making other plans."  We must prepare our 
children for the life they are living, and not the life they are dreaming. Yes, 
they must dream.  But they must show up every day and compete on the 
field where the game is being played today.  The best of those who 
compete will be able to lift others.

Our task in the current generation is to ensure that more of them are willing 
to stand up for their heritage shoulder to shoulder with all other high 
achievers.  Not assimilation -- where one denies his or her heritage; but true 
collaboration -- where everyone comes to the table with the skills to make a 
difference.  We can do that with pride in our heritage, with self-confidence, 
with results from our efforts.  But we cannot do it without skills or 
extraordinary effort.

I am unwilling to concede that every job is "working for white folks."  We 
have to feed our children too.  I am unwilling to concede that others can 
always achieve more that we can. No one can work harder than I can.  I 
am also unwilling to concede the progress that we have made. Some of us 
have done well, and we should do all we can to help others. Our HBCUs 
may have been established by so-called well-meaning white folks who 
really didn't mean us any good.  But in the information age, we can take 
our destinies in our hands.

The times we are living in are differnt than those of W.E.B. Du Bois, or 
Garvey, or Carter G. Woodson.  But the "mis-education of the Negro" was 
not that which was perpetrated against us by white folks.  Woodson was 
talking about the actions of Black folks.  Let us not repeat the mistakes of 
the past while the world moves forward at a quickening pace.  

My understanding of physics indicates that if one body is moving ahead of 
another, the trailing body must speed up (or the leading body must slow 
down) if they are to ever move at the same pace. The same is true for the 
pace of information and its impact on our global society.  If we determine 
that people of African descent are behind the progress of others, it is not 
realistic to expect them to slow down.  Nor is it realistic to expect that 
separating ourselves from global progress to create a system of our own 
will make things better. For those of us who are behind, there is one certain 
tactic to achieve parity -- SPEED UP! WORK HARDER!
 
While my grandparents and mentors told us "You have to work twice as hard as your white counterparts to be considered equal," there was a measure of truth in that advice.  You have to work twice as hard sometimes to catch up. 

We may have to fight some other battles along the way.  There will 
certainly be opposition.  But one thing for sure is that we must work harder 
at realizing our dreams.  High achievement is not for the fainthearted.
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Last modified on Sunday, 02 October 2016 23:55