(ThyBlackMan.com) As you may have heard, African Americans face unique challenges daily. Some of these challenges are chronic ethical issues of injustice and inequality. Others are cultural issues like family & economic structure. Cultural issues often take a back seat to the unfair treatment endured, because WE purposely put them there. At best, we haphazardly charge these cultural issues to individual misconduct and ignorance, as a way to disconnect from the issues. It’s time Black people in America stop blaming the individual for our cultural issues, and focus on implementing solutions for the social advancement of America’s most unique race.
One of the main issues is education. You would think it would be a dead issue considering we worked so hard for desegregation of schools back in 1954. So, why is education still an issue? Because Black folk have made education the scapegoat for ones substandard living and the new crutch for our crippled culture. We’ve somehow brained washed ourselves into believing that we shall overcome if we could just get that “piece of paper”. In fact, the United Negro College Fund coined that “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”, to promote higher education in black communities. No shade, but have you ever wondered why a college education is revered as the key to our progression? Why we correlate education with wealth & success and constantly advise our young people to “go to college?” These questions arise from one single misconception of higher education that Black people need to address. That is that higher education guarantees a better quality of life. It’s debatable, but here are three reasons why not…
Reason 1. Globally, the numbers don’t add up.
There are 40 of 196 nations in the world that are considered “developed”. Of the 40, only one made the World Ranking in Education top ten, Japan. The US, the richest country in the world, ranked 14th on the same poll. However, Qatar, hands down the richest country per capita, was not even ranked top 40. When we look at the numbers worldwide, higher education doesn’t mean more wealth or a better quality of life. Higher Education can only impact the quality of our lives when used proficiently.
Take the US and Germany for example. The US profits nearly 40 billion off the back of students annually and Germany, the fourth wealthiest country in the world, ranked 11th in education, recently “scrapped” the tuition fees for all universities. Both countries are thriving, but in different ways through higher education. The point is higher education can help the economic structure of black America, but we should approach it as a way to better ourselves rather than a surefire way of getting ahead. This approach to education, and life in general, would be far more beneficial to the widespread progression of our people.
Reason 2. It encourages debt.
Adults who encourage higher education without imparting knowledge on the financial decision making of the black students do more harm than good. A complete understanding of the expenses and the financial obligation needs to be vetted out making such a big financial decision. It’s not being taught in our public schools and it’s not the counselor’s job, so we as a people cannot preach higher education without teaching ourselves how to manage the debt that comes with it. Doing so demonstrates how to assertively invest in self and others. Maybe our outlook on success would change as we’d stand taller without a mountain of debt behind us.
Reason 3. It discourages independence.
Students who have no direction, and just want a quick fix to their mediocre living conditions tend to run down to admissions because they believe going to school with changes their lives. Instead of taking into account personal gifts and talents, students feel it’s just easier to enroll and take some classes. It’s sad to see Black people put more trust, money and time into college than we do our own abilities. Constantly overlooking our own gifts and talents searching for something college can’t provide. Until black people understand that higher education is meant to enhance our abilities and not a gateway to a better quality of life, education will be the reason for our cultural struggles.
For the record, I am currently a (debt-free) college student. I can truly say that education is key for my personal growth but does nothing for the social or economic growth of black people. My degree doesn’t matter at the voting booth. A degree doesn’t encourage independence to my people in the hood and it won’t encourage future generations to live productive lives. Our issues require much more than sitting in a classroom. Our issues require restructuring the mindset of an entire race. Taking a hard look at all of the issues and investing in ways to implement sound doctrines within the culture. Until this happen nationwide Black folk will remain with the short end of the stick, buying into misguided ideals of happiness and success.
Staff Writer; T.L. Kirk