“In the schools of business administration Negroes are trained exclusively in the psychology and economics of Wall Street and are, therefore, made to despise the opportunities to run ice wagons, push banana carts, and sell peanuts among their own people. Foreigners, who have not studied economics but have studied Negroes, take up this business and grow rich.” - Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro
As a social worker for over 30 years my Black co-workers constantly touted and promoted the colleges they graduate from. Looking back it was a rare occasion that I heard white co-workers mention in conversation where they attended college.
Indeed Black folks draw a sense of self-importance and pride especially when they attend primarily white colleges and universities; even many conscious Blacks get caught-up in "college name-dropping".
Black people constantly name drop and show-off the white colleges and universities they attended that reminds me of so many Black folks who constantly name drop and show-off white fashion designers like Gucci, Prada, Versace, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, etc.
This post is definitely not about hating on the colleges and universities Black folks attended, it was posted to raise the question of why do We 'over-emphasize' attending and praising these higher-learning institutions that are very key structures in institutional white supremacy and always have been!
For example take the so-called prestigious Ivy League colleges, many Blacks who graduate from them believe they are very special 'having an air of arrogance' by attending these schools 'founded' and 'funded' on the barbaric enslavement of Black people!
The report of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, shows that Harvard’s ties to slavery were transformative in the University’s rise to global prominence, and included enslaving individuals on campus, funding from donors engaged in the slave trade, and intellectual leadership that obstructed efforts to achieve racial equality.
In his excellent book "Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities," professor Craig Steven Wilder exposes that the expansion of American higher education in the eighteenth century coincided by the economic boom in 'merchant capitalism', which rested on the twin pillars of the 'slave trade' and 'slave labor'.
Wilder highlights that King’s College (Columbia), Queen’s College (Rutgers), Brown, and Princeton were all established with the profits of Black bondage. Slave traders financed, endowed chairs and became trustees, and colleges made a special effort to recruit the sons of a wealthy slaveholding colonial elite.
Colleges such as Washington College (Washington and Lee) and William and Mary even held slaves and advertised them for sale or hire; one particularly disturbing trend that Wilder uncovers was the abuse of these college slaves in undergraduate pranks.
Moreover Wilder exposes the indispensable place of American academics and intellectuals in the development of the pseudo-science of racial inferiority and the experimentation on Black corpses. The scalps, skulls, and skeletons of African slaves became “human curios” collected and displayed by museums and scientists in Europe.
African slave bodies also proved ready and easily exploitable sources for the study of anatomy and medicine at the new medical schools at Columbia, Penn, and Dartmouth. As Wilder remarks, “White people’s unlimited access to the bodies of slaves could hardly be thought to cease at death.”
Many Blacks in Michigan where i reside view graduating from University of Michigan 'Harvard of the Midwest' as a sense of specialness. U of M like all majority white colleges and universities has a long history of racism that still continues to this day.
Take a look at the Black student population at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, both undergraduate and graduate is 4.34%. I would guess Black males constitute maybe about 2% or less of U of M's student population - that includes all the Black male scholarship student athletes.
Regarding Michigan's 15 public universities only 8.7% of under-graduate students are Black, while it should be 17.1%. According to the Broken Mirrors report Michigan ranked the third-worst out of 41 states that the report examined of Black student enrollment at four-year institutions.
Black folks as We constantly talk about and promote the white colleges and universities We attend or have attended can We say We were educated and prepared for self-determination? No We were readied for dependency!
Dr. Amos Wilson stated: "The ultimate function of education is to secure the survival of a people."