Date published: September 30, 2010
The following are readers' comments from DiverseEducation.com:
No Amount of PR Will Help Unless...
Guest on "An Open Letter to HBCU Presidents," Aug. 19:
I guess the open letter is not what I thought it would be. While the messaging campaign is worthwhile at some point, isn't it equally, if not more important, to fix the issues within our HBCUs before we launch this proposed campaign?
I attended an HBCU and, despite our struggles, will always display great pride in the school I attended because of the lifelong friends and memories I carry with me and the rich history that encompassed my school.
However, as a student, I also had the opportunity to observe what was wrong with our university. Students could not read, the graduation rate was dismal and many of the professors catered to what the students proclaimed their own aptitude to be, which typically meant multiple-choice tests if they got the right professor.
I think before we try to tell the world how great we are, we should improve upon our universities within. For students who are not where they should be academically, require reading, math or writing labs. Establish a mentoring program and assign professors or graduate students to lower-perfomiing students. Create a more challenging curriculum. I graduated with many students who were not good readers or writers. Require more of our professors and they will require more of our students. Upgrade the curriculum while also upgrading the students' support system. We have to be able to successfully compete with other students from traditionally White institutions when we graduate.
The author makes some good points. I just think there are more substantive, imminent issues that need to be addressed at HBCUs before we solicit others to invest in our credibility as valuable institutions. We know our value. It is our job to steadily build upon our value. Public relations is great but what good is great PR if within their own walls HBCUs aren't carrying the charge with which they were entrusted?
Inspired by Ignorance
Guest on "Of Ebonics, the DEA and the Department of Education," blog by Dr. Pamela D. Reed, Aug. 25:
You can't be serious. Ebonics is not a language that resulted from the mingling of non-English-speaking, displaced and enslaved Africans with English speakers. It's a result of ignorance and no education. You can't tell me that all African- Americans speak this way. There are many people of all races that have their own "language" when they have no education. African- Americans who have an education do not speak like that. If this were true, they would stiU hold some semblance of the "language" as does any culture that learns English as a second language.
Let the Record Show
Guest on "Fisk University Wants Court-Barred Art Deal With Arkansas Museum Approved," Aug. 26:
What has gone unmentioned in the controversy over the future of the Stieglitz collection is Fisk's record as stewards of its cultural inheritance in general. The Aaron Douglas murals and ceiling decorations - iconic images for Fisk, African-American culture, as well as American culture - have deteriorated over the past few years to a state that only restoration experts could assess. The water damage here is heartbreaking to witness. Special Collections holdings in the Franklin Library are mainly an unknown country - hidden treasures, minimally cataloged if at all, and in a state of preservation that can only be guessed at. Fisk, with a little research, could have pointed to the state of other significant art and cultural artifacts in its possession as a powerful argument against its continued stewardship of the Stieglitz collection.