Recently I watched a Vice Video about a white student that chose to go to Morehouse. Morehouse is all male historically black college or university(HBCU) in Atlanta, Georgia. It is famously known for having graduates such as Martin Luther King and Spike Lee. Many students apply to Morehouse for it’s rich legacy and for the honor of becoming a Morehouse man.
HBCU’s were founded as the answer for African-Americans to receive a higher education. African-Americans were being excluded from other universities based on their skin tone, and decided the solution was to create our own universities where we could gather and educate ourselves. An HBCU gives you a chance to better your life while also celebrating the rich history of African-Americans in this country. Unfortunately, the heritage of HBCU’s are in jeopardy. Due to lack of funding, many schools are having a hard time staying afloat, and some have even become open to the idea of opening their doors to non-black students.
In the video that I watched, a freshman who was white, was attending Morehouse. He chose to apply, and received puzzled questions when he shared that he would be attending an all-black school. He discussed how there has been a bit of a learning curve with being treatedequally on campus and how it’s impacted him to be in the minority.
This past week, the Trump administration reversed affirmative action policies written during President Obama’s term. The Obama administration asked universities to take race into consideration in the admissions process. The Trump administration has moved away from these policies saying that they “advocate policies and procedures beyond the requirements of the Constitution.” This move is more aligned with race-blind admissions which in a perfect world, would work but the world is not perfect. Admission officers will still be biased based on name, location of the applicant, and school district.
Race-blind admissions will lead to the same issues that caused affirmative action to be needed in the first place. Affirmative action has led to countless minorities being able to attend the same universities as their white counter-parts. Black women are now the most educated group in the United States. The attendance of African-American students has also increased from 10% to 15% from 1976 to 2012 while the attendance of white students has decreased from 80% to 60%.
After reading these stats, it’s not surprising that the Trump administration is striving to take away affirmative action. By creating an environment where it is harder for minorities to get an education, the belief is that we won’t be able to. But we will find a way. Just like how we had to create HBCU’s so that way we would be able to have the same opportunities and a better future for our children. Affirmative action helps to even out the playing field. New York City is the most segregated public school district in the country. By allowing final decisions to include the option of race, we are helping to balance the disparity caused by segregation in schools all over the US. I am not arguing that race be the final factor, but we should be understanding that it plays a major part.
To our HBCU’s I understand that money is tight, but I would implore you to find different ways to raise funds. We need our universities that have become safe havens in the African-American community now as much as we did when they were first founded. Many argue that we no longer need universities that cater to the African-American community. Based on this current administration, I would beg to differ.
Vice Video Link: