Dr Boyce: NEVER assume that HBCUs are inferior

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

When you think about leading HBCUs like Spelma, Morehouse, FAMU and Howard, do you put them in the same category as Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Princeton? Many black people, unfortunately, have been trained to believe that the institutions that educate black students are inferior to those that have mainstream acceptance and visibility.

I’m here to tell you that this is a huge mistake.

The educational investment for a young person is one of the most important decisions that they make. If a campus does not provide a strong environment for intellectual, social and professional development, this student can fall through the cracks, even if they are attending a highly ranked institution.

Another important point of this video is to reiterate the importance of investing in our HBCUs. I give most of my money to HBCUs, not the predominantly white universities that I attended. I do this for at least a couple of reasons: First, these schools earn millions from black athletes already. They don’t need my money and aren’t hiring black professors with it. Secondly, HBCUs can use the money and will put it to good use educating black students.

So, when you consider whether an HBCU or mainstream campus is best for you and your child, I hope you will watch this video. At least make sure you don’t put your own people at the back of the bus.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance PhD and author of the book, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about College.” 

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14 Comment

  1. I agree with the article. The professors in Blacks institution are as good as those in famous universities. Remember they are graduates from well-known universities. So they carry the same training and expertise to Black universities. I know one African-American who graduates with a PHD in mathematics from UW-Madison. He is now teaching in one Black university. Obviously he is carrying the training he gained at UW-Madison. Recently my ass was saved by a Black female lawyer who graduated with law degrees from Black university. She had the same or better forcefulness arguing my case as the white lawyer representing my opponent. Let me tell you one thing. Those professors with MS or PHDs whether Black or White have the same quality –attention to what they were taught.

  2. I agree with the you Dr. Boyce in that HBCU’s are not inferior under any circumstances. However it troubles me when you go off on this “stand up for the HBCU” soapbox rant when you don’t work for one. You always rant about how you were so blatantly disrespected at Syracuse University. Why haven’t you matriculated through any HBCU’s or worked at any of these great under estimated Universities?

  3. Long live Grambling!

  4. I urge everyone to read “chasing the artificial rainbow”. It is written by a HBCU grad who examines how today’s generation are the key to a prosperous future for black America.

  5. In general, White folk assume that everything Black is inferior. And in general, Black folk assume that everything Black is inferior as well.

    HBCU’s have trained more Black leaders than any of the other institutions of higher learning. The fact that Blacks graduate from these colleges and go on to compete successfully with those from predominantly White colleges is convincing of the value of Black universities.

    If one is trained at a HBCU and can pass national exams and get certified and licensed like all others, then there’s your proof!

  6. I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Boyce Watkins on the subject of HBCU. However, I also ask the same question that Mario raised about Dr. Watkins having not graduated from an HBCU or ever worked at one. Then I say to myself, we do not know the background and circumstances that presented itself to Dr. Watkins as to why he attended and continue to work at the PWI. We need that voice too. I also suggest that Dr. Watkins take a sabbatical and go and share his knowledge at an HBCU then he would authenticate his passion for speaking on behalf of the HBCU. Remember that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not of poverty, he went to the best schools money could buy but he had a passion to help others get out of poverty and he fought for racial equality.

  7. I agree with this article 100%, I just graduated in May of 2014 from Voorhees College. My daughter will graduate from South Carolina State this December and we are proud to be a part of their alumni. Education is very important in my family I always tell my children you put in what you get out of your school. What ever school you attend HBCU or otherwise you apply yourselves to achieve the best the school has to offer.

  8. Good evening, Dr. Boyce Watkins.

    Normally, I don't feel the need to add and "amen" or an "ashe" to these type of posts because it's a no brainer and obvious that you are 100% Correct. Also, I'm not replying to criticize you, nor your article. I agree with the title 100%.

    However, this reply speaks to the perception of inferiority…

    1. Why I believe some of our own Black/African folk (I use Black and African interchangeably, since that's biologically what we are) think HBCUs are inferior

    2. And the hopes that if you feel me on this, and you being someone of much more influence and public reach than myself, will be able to affect positive change by spreading this concept to those you feel will take the correct type of action.

    WARNING: What I'm about to say will upset or shock some folks…but there's no profanity in it, conducted in a very stern, yet constructive way, and as a graduate of an HBCU trying to do the best I can for the Black/African community…I feel I have earned the right to speak on this.

    Why Some folks…even some Black folks…think HBCU's are inferior:

    In general, the professors and educators: the ones who actually TEACH the students, are very good at what they do, but…

    Black On Black disrespect is just as prominent in too many HBCU administrators…the folks who handle the day-to-day operations and management of HBCUs…as it is in the streets of the hood:

    To elaborate, I've seen administrators actually improve their attitude when dealing with White students…and White folks, in general, after stepping to me with a negative attitude! This happened whether or not I was in the financial aid office, at the area to get a parking permit, trying to find out who lost my immunization records…TWICE in less than 2 months…or just trying to get proper directions to an administrative area. But when the White person walked up, it was as if "massa heah now..I'd betta ack right"!

    Since this HBCU was not too far from a predominately White institution, I saw further evidence of this when I visited the other institution and SAW some of the same HBCU administrators, student work-studies, etc.

    This "slave mentality" has no excuse for existence in our HBCUs! Especially considering that some of the best minds have taught and continue to teach in them! Also, one must consider that the PURPOSE of education for Black/African folks should include how we are to view and treat each other, since that is a sub-portion of what should be education's ultimate goal for our people…to empower us to be a self-reliant and self-determining people!

    I remember going to orientation and hearing a 5-6 minute lecture by medical staff on how students can get condoms (colors and sizes were mentioned), items of a sexual nature, advice on STDs, and advice on pregnancy, in a manner designed to keep the parents…most of whom were paying for their child's college education…from knowing! All this was being said WHILE parents were at orientation WITH their college-bound youth! To add insult to injury, none of the Black medical staff on stage at the time spoke up to remind the students that sexual activity should NOT be the reason for being in and going to college! Instead, one of the Hispanic staff members FINALLY reminded the audience of this! If I was one of the medical/clinic staff, I would have been ashamed of myself that day.

    There were ALWAYS problems getting financial aid, and the college ALWAYS had a lame excuses for being slack in business when dealing with fellow Black folks…more Black-on-Black disrespect! While we know racism can and does play in role in school budgeting, when a college has been around since the end of reconstruction, with Alumni associations contributing significant amounts of cash… and most students getting federal Pell grants Stafford Loans in the same way that non-HBCUs get them, there's no excuse. Especially when the staff member you're hoping will help resolve the issue tells you…

    " There's nothing you can you can do"! Actually, there IS something I did, I was so focused I walked into the person's office to wait for them and find out why I…a military veteran and married college student…didn't have my financial aid after over half the semester was over! My check arrived two days later.

    Then there are the situations where students show up to dorms and their paperwork proving they can live their is lost…more than once for several students! I, being a non-traditional, married student, was blessed to not have the dorms as an option to worry about. However, I witnessed enough to be thankful for this blessing.

    There is that one "bad apple" teacher I'm compelled to speak about. I promised my friend that I'd hold this in me till he graduated, since he didn't want any retaliation and trouble from her. But now that he's graduated…I'll be brief. A math professor who feels Black men don't need help in her class, seems to have "beef" with Black men…while teaching at an HBCU…and she's getting PAID…to teach…should be fired and labeled a sellout, period! I told my friend that his former professor should be glad there's no "conscious" Black folks like myself as her supervisor! We have enough sellout, Uncle Tom, Aunt Thomasina politicians and other fake leaders. We don't need any of them teaching our youth!

    I'll end the examples here, otherwise my examples (much from personal experience, visitation, and the experience of close associates) would take away from the important FACT that the education is NOT inferior.

    It's just that unfortunately, no matter how "book smart' we are…we haven't learned to STOP seeing each other as just another "n-word" and treating each other as such…even when it comes to those who run the day-to-day operations of our HBCUs.



  9. Actually, I've read multiple studies suggesting that due to the high number of African American STEM graduates from HBCU's as opposed to majority schools such as the Ivy League schools and other highly rated PWI's (Predominantly White Institutions) that HBCU graduates earn more money than African American students who attend PWI's.

  10. Most young adults today have multiple educational opportunities. The option of going to an. HBCU is not a one digit option, especially with the deteriating campuses; the lack of accreditation, and the lack of professional leadership such as with many black churches that govern them similar to the bankrupting of both these instructions, white institutions seem incredibly better.. especially when these schools have heathy endowments and the school names carry much more weight even in the eyes of the black church and community. It’s time to merge the institions with an influx of diverse monies, talents and then will they flourish again.

  11. When a blind man bears the regular pity people who follow

  12. Hey there! Excellent post! Please when all could see a follow up!

  13. Nice Blog, thanks for sharing this kind of information.

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