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Africana Studies should be a must at HBCUs

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

HBCUs should be the hubs for African Americans or any students wanting a quality education as well as an introduction to true Black history—an aspiration, which should be paramount in understanding the role of a beautiful and persevering people. America is a tapestry of different people with different cultures and traditions that should be known and respected. This knowledge should be inclusive as we come together as a nation representing all its citizens. However, we all know that (as it stands now) our educational system is built on indoctrinating everyone to a Eurocentric perspective, although the powers to be claim to be bringing everyone to the table under the disguise of promoting diversity. But they are only continuing to promote and encourage Eurocentric assimilation.

One of the biggest dilemmas facing so many Blacks is their lack of understanding their true history and the beauty of their greatness. One of the greatest obstacles facing many Blacks, especially from disadvantaged or improvised communities, is low self-esteem and a propensity to expect less or wrestle with crime because of an educational system that negates or dilutes their importance and relevant contributions to mankind.

Our educational system has yet to recover from a history where Blacks were segregated or barred from schools, with integration taught and systemic racism engraved in all our businesses and institutions. Even today, this in a problem. Not being exposed to African Studies puts Blacks in a position to continue to be devalued and exploited. Being denied African Studies in our institutions, especially our HBCUs, is a disservice in promoting equality, truth, and knowledge of self to the young Blacks in our country.

Colleges are supposed to offer us venues to grow and be productive. But all too often they offer a designated Eurocentric curriculum, stifling the minds of conscientious and creative Black students demanding truth. In the United States, Blacks and people of color are introduced and inducted into a Eurocentric dominated curriculum depriving them of cultural and academic inclusion. This practice continues on even in HBCUs. If the students are not exposed to an Afrocentric curriculum where they can find their true selves and learn of their true worth and potential to achieve unlimited greatness, they continue to be manipulated by a system aimed at creating subjugated robots.

HBCUs that do not have strong African Studies programs as required credit are doing their students a grave disservice and are no better than White institutions continuing to peddle a White agenda. African Studies should be ‘mission essential.’ Anytime you have an HBCU apologizing and diluting its Blackness to appease Whites, you may need to look at the administration leading that HBCU. HBCUs should not have to apologize about being predominately Black—especially considering they came about because White colleges and universities refused to admit Blacks. You don’t find PWIs (Predominately White institutions) apologizing for being predominately White.

HBCUs must be cognizant of Black college presidents backed by Whites acting as puppets to dilute the schools’ Blackness in favor of making Whites feel better about attending. HBCUs have never discriminated. But if you feel comfortable in a predominately White environment, there are plenty of PWIs you can attend. HBCUs with strong African Studies programs should be the place Blacks should be able to attend and be de-programmed from a Eurocentric curriculum that subliminally keep students willing victims.

HBCUs without strong African Studies Departments are inadequate. They deprive students of knowing and loving who they are. You don’t have to apologize for having an Afrocentric perspective. You don’t find too many Blacks making excuses for their Eurocentric perspective keeping them mentally imprisoned.

Many PWIs are seeing the importance of African Studies departments and offer degrees in the study to attract Blacks from HBCUs, offering White students a glimpse of the truth in a country so engrossed in hiding it with false narratives. It is a slap in the face of an HBCU when surrounding PWIs have stronger African Studies programs. When all is said and done, who is better in introducing African Studies than people who are representative of that race?

Blacks making excuses to appease the guilty consciences of Whites by minimizing African Studies are doing the Black community as well as the world a grave disservice. We cannot talk about making progress in this country promoting inclusion if we don’t have knowledge of African Studies.

(Written on behalf of the Save TSU Community Coalition [STCC].)

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