Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
February 26, 2015

ONE STEP CLOSER

Bill Clark via Getty Images

Faces From Ferguson: Ashley 'Brown Blaze' Yates

Ashleyyatespersonalonetimeuse Ashley Yates

In the basement of St. Louis' Saint John's United Church of Christ at the end of the Labor Day weekend, Yates recounted almost a month's worth of harrowing encounters with a militarized police force to a room of Black Lives Matter freedom riders. She woefully explained that as the days bled into one another, she began "marking days by police tactics."

Lee Daniels On Mo'Nique Being 'Blackballed' In Hollywood: 'You Gotta Play Ball'

Lee Daniels Monique
CNN

Everything We Know About The Alleged Dez Bryant Video

Dez Bryant
Tom Pennington via Getty Images

Texas Sports Anchor Delivers Stirring Anti-Racism Speech

Hansen
YouTube

San Francisco Police Officer Hits, Kicks Homeless Man Who Slept On Bus (VIDEO)

Pepper Spray Bus
San Francisco Public Defender

Tennessee Lawmaker Denies Controversial Comments Were Racially Charged

Tennessee Capital Building
Visions of America via Getty Images

'Stand Your Ground' Laws Are Still On The Books In 22 States

Trayvon Martin
File Photo

Warren Moon: Marshawn Lynch ‘Isn't A Dumb Kid' When It Comes To The Media, Won't Retire'

Warren Moon
Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

U.S. Criminal Deportations and the Future of Black Immigrants

African With Us Flag
Ailbhe O'Donnell via Getty Images

How My Dad Became A Black Queer Feminist

Queer Black Feminism
HPL

STUDY: Diverse Casts Deliver Higher Ratings

Fast And Furious
Universal

3 Sentenced For Racist Attack That Killed Black Man

Deryl Dedmon
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Science Shows What's Happening Inside The Brains Of Blind Musicians Like Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder Smile
Jim Ross/Invision/AP

Giuliana Rancic Apologizes AGAIN For Racist Hair Comments

Giuliana Rancic
Gilbert Carrasquillo via Getty Images

No Planes, Trains Or Automobiles Necessary For This Black History Trip

Apollo Theater Sign
Arnaldo Magnani via Getty Images

Why Do We Keep Comparing 'Empire's Female Characters To Real Housewives?

Cookie Empire
FOX via Getty Images

Marissa Alexander, The One Who Lived

Marissa Alexander
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Stars Who Have Effortlessly Rocked Locs

Lauryn Hill
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Thinking About the Safety of Black Lives Beyond Policing

Police Ferguson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ben Carson: It Would Be 'Too Depressing' To Outline All The Obama Administration's Failures

Ben Carson
Scott Olson via Getty Images

This 50-Year-Old Malcolm X Speech Is Eerily Relevant Today

Malcolmx
Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

Chicago High School Students Pay Tribute To Kids Killed By Guns

Grad
Kim Shay

Melissa Harris-Perry Hopes Trayvon Martin 'Whooped The Sh-t Out Of George Zimmerman'

Melissa Harrisperry
Shahar Azran via Getty Images

How To Create A Sustainable Black Future

Ferguson Protest
MICHAEL B. THOMAS via Getty Images

Solange Offers Awesome Reaction To Giuliana Rancic's Racist Hair Comments

Solange Knowles
Michael Stewart via Getty Images

Jamaica Decriminalizes Small Amounts Of 'Ganja'

Jamaica Pot
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tiffany & Co. Celebrates Diversity In Love With Moving New Ad

Tiffany Diversity Ad
Tiffany/YouTube

#WeAreJada: Honoring the Courage Of A Young Rape Vicitm

Black Hands Holding Candle
Lalith_Herath via Getty Images

This Is What It Means To Be Afro-Latino

Afro Latinos
All Images Via Getty

Watch Will Smith Crush The 'Fresh Prince' Theme Song On 'Ellen'

Will Smith Fresh Prince
NBC via Getty Images

Senator: Public Safety Director Appointed Amid Ferguson Fallout Plans To Resign

Missouri Capitol
gnagel via Getty Images

DOJ Not Filing Charges Against George Zimmerman For 2012 Killing Of Trayvon Martin

George Zimmerman
Handout via Getty Images

The Positive Numbers About Young Black Men

Black High School Graduate
Purestock via Getty Images

103-Year-Old Civil Rights Icon: 'Thank God I Learned That Color Makes No Difference'

Amelia Boynton Robinson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CEO Of Company Trying To Predict Repeat Criminals Is A Repeat Criminal

Sean Hosman
ASSOCIATED PRESS

FOLLOW HUFFPOST

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    3. View all RSS feeds

Kanye West: 'Exclusivity Is The New N-Word'

Kanye West
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ice-T Reveals He's Actually The Voice Of 'Dora The Explorer'

Icet
NBC/Nickelodeon

Oh No! Lupita's Oscar Dress Was Stolen

Lupita Nyongo
Steve Granitz via Getty Images

7 Times When Cookie Spoke The Truth On 'Empire'

Cookie Empire
FOX via Getty Images

No Respect For Hip-Hop's O.G.s: Why Many Legendary MCs Still Need To Hustle

Public Enemy
John Davisson/Invision/AP

'Empire' Co-Creator Is 'Gutted' By The Bill Cosby Allegations

Lee Daniels
Arnold Turner/Invision/AP

Here's The Timberwolves' 'Welcome Home' Video For Kevin Garnett

Garnett
YouTube

Apparently This Is How Kim Kisses Kanye

Kim Licks Kanye
Insttagram

Will Smith Continues His Nostalgia Streak With 'Summertime'

Will Smith Jimmy Kimmel
Randy Holmes via Getty Images

Beyoncé's Workout Video Is BEYond Motivational

Beyonce Workout
Instagram

Everything You Need To Know About That Beyoncé College Class

Beyonce
John Shearer/Invision/AP

Mic Check: Here's Why Hip Hop Hasn't Grown up Yet

John Legend
Kevin Winter via Getty Images

Kelly Osbourne Threatens To Quit Fashion Police' Over Zendaya Controversy

Zendaya Kelly Osbourne
Cindy Ord via Getty Images

Kanye West Just Debuted Another New Track

Kanye West
Brit Awards

LeBron James Wants College Coaches To Stop Recruiting His 10-Year-Old Son

Instagram
Instagram

Damon Wayans Comedy Tour Sidelined

Damon Wayans
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Bobby Brown Cancels Australian Tour To Spend Time With Bobbi Kristina

Bobby Brown
Kris Connor/BET via Getty Images

How 'Empire' Co-Creator Drew On His Firsthand Experience With Homophobia

Empire Lee Daniels
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Shonda Rhimes Was Not A Fan Of Lady Gaga's Oscars Performance

Shonda Rhimes
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Watch LeBron James Diss McDonald's, Then Remember They Pay Him

Lebron James
Allen Einstein via Getty Images

Ilene Chaiken, Empire Executive Producer, Gives Details About the Most Explosive Episode Yet

Ilene Chaiken Empire
Arnold Turner/Invision/AP

'Pimp My Ride' Was Way More Fake Than You Thought

Pimp
Myspace

Retta Shares 6 Stories About Filming The 'Parks & Rec' Finale

Retta
NBC

Naya Rivera Is Going To Be A Mom!

Naya Rivera Ryan Dorsey
Jonathan Leibson via Getty Images

Wesley Snipes Lands New Gig!

Wesley Snipes
Allen Berezovsky via Getty Images

The Empowering Advice Women In Hollywood Would Give To Young Girls

Women
BuzzFeed

Iggy Azalea Doesn't Think The Hip-Hop Community Gives Her Enough Respect

Iggy Azalea
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

Street Image Helps Young Rapper, Until It Doesn't

Bobby Shmurda
Bennett Raglin/BET via Getty Images

You'll Never Guess Michael Sam's Next Big Move...

Michael Sam Football
Steve Granitz via Getty Images

What A Childhood Newspaper Job Taught Berry Gordy About Race

Berry Gordy On Oprahs Master Class
OWN

CNN Asks Why Black Men Are Not Graduating From College

Comments (32)

Richelle Carey at CNN Headline News recently reached out to me to find out why black men aren't graduating from college. I've written on this topic on a few occasions and also in my book 'Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about College.' The segment is here if you'd like to watch, and you can tell in the segment that I am angry.

I was angry during the interview because the lack of educational and economic achievement of the black male, along with mass incarceration, has continuously threatened the strength and stability of the African American family. I was angry because most of us, as Americans, have not had a sense of urgency when it comes to resolving these disparities. Some black men are too busy learning how to become thugs, and white America is too busy perpetuating racially imbalanced institutions that keep Jim Crow alive in America. Many black women are busy blaming every social ill on black men, which is equally problematic. At the end of the day, all of us are wrong, and we all have the ability to work together to solve this problem.

First, universities must stop making excuses for not hiring black professors. When I opposed the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, one of the reasons I stood against her is because during her tenure as dean of Harvard Law School, she didn't hire a single African American faculty member (out of 29 total tenured and tenure-track appointments). This problem is all too common, as many universities get applications from solid black professors and find some ridiculous, ambiguous and often secret reason to turn them down. The result is that many students go to college for four to 10 years (adding in graduate school) without having any black professors (except in African American studies, where they allow us to teach). That was my experience, as well as the common experience of many other black men who were educated at predominantly white universities. My hurdles in higher education led me to feel like a fish out of water, since there was no role model for me to look up to – I always felt like I was swimming upstream. Universities have to stop making excuses for not diversifying their faculty with underrepresented minorities; they must also stop hiring black professors for temporary jobs only, and start giving permanent positions to black faculty so that black students can have role models, too. A case in point is my brother's recent graduation from the business school at Cornell University. I saw only one black professor out of dozens on the stage. The same was true at my sister's graduation from medical school, where there was not a single black person in the entire group of faculty. Such outcomes should be appalling and unacceptable to all of us.

Second, black males must raise their expectations. Being a baller or a rapper is all fine and good, but it takes far less intelligence to be a doctor or lawyer. In fact, I earned good grades by studying four to six hours a day, which is less than the amount of time I would have spent on my job at Taco Bell. If a man can "slang" fast food for 10 hours a day, then he should be able to study for half that time. It's time for black men to stop pretending to be stupid. Of course, this doesn't include the black male soldiers out here who are already hustling to do the right thing. The truth is that black men are proud, strong and capable, and if we choose to dominate academically, it is fully within our ability to do so. In fact, if we were to take as much pride in our academic achievements as we do our athletic ones, we would be world-leading intellects. We would also have a lot more money in our pockets, since professional sports leads to more busted dreams than fulfilled ones.

Third, universities should realize that black men can do more than play basketball. I find it ironic that many campuses (i.e., the University of Kentucky, my alma mater) will claim that they can't find enough qualified black males to admit as students, yet they always seem to find a way to get a pack of black men onto the basketball court. I also find it interesting that campuses feel it is essential for black students to learn everything a person needs to know about Ben Franklin but don't require white students to learn much of anything about Malcolm X or the great civilizations of Africa. Perhaps if universities made a greater effort to diversify their curricula, we might find that black men are more interested in what they have to say.

I write all this from the heart, mainly because I was almost a statistic myself. When you break it all down, the black community must stand strong and commit itself to demanding a quality education for all of our children. All the while, we must encourage our children to accept and pursue quality education when it is made available. Education is the single most important commodity on earth, and the same way valuable oil is being spilled to destroy every living thing in the Gulf of Mexico, we are spilling educational opportunities that continue to destroy our community. Force your kids to pick up a book; it might save his or her life.







Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the new book 'Black American Money.' To have Dr. Boyce's commentary delivered to your e=mail, please click here.

Comments: (32)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 4

Most Commented Articles

Daily Drama

The Best Clips From TV's Hottest Shows


More Daily Drama >>

Get Closer to BV

  • slider Image
  • slider Image
  • slider Image

BLACK MUSIC NEWS
The latest news and updates on a multitude of music stars.
Check It Out!

BLACK MUSIC NOTES

       

MEN OF MCCAFÉ SEARCH
McDonald's continues its nationwide search to find five community-service minded black men during this year's CIAA tournament.


LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN

       
 

Find a Message Board

Discover conversations on everyone from Barack to Beyonce. There are nearly 50 forums, so click on a category below and find the right one for you.