In 2017, then-ESPN commentator Jemele Hill made the news when she claimed President Trump was a white supremacist.
I don’t know who needs to hear this but condemning white supremacy in a speech isn’t proof Donald Trump has changed or become more presidential. He’s still a white supremacist. He will still demonize and dehumanize people of color because that’s what he truly believes.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 5, 2019
Well, the sports writer has a new declaration, courtesy of her inaugural piece in The Atlantic: All black athletes should leave “white colleges.”
See for yourself:
Very proud that my first magazine piece for @TheAtlantic is appearing in the October issue. Been working on it for some time. Here it is —> Why Black Athletes Need to Leave White Colleges https://t.co/orCDWF8UkT
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 5, 2019
It’s strange that we seem to be going back to the 1940’s — many are deciding there are only two races: white and non-white (now “people of color”). And now Jemele wants a return to segregated schooling:
Black athletes have attracted money and attention to the predominantly white universities that showcase them. Meanwhile, black colleges are struggling. Alabama’s athletic department generated $174 million in the 2016–17 school year, whereas the HBCU that generated the most money from athletics that year, Prairie View A&M, brought in less than $18 million. Beyond sports, the average HBCU endowment is only one-eighth that of the average predominantly white school; taken together, all of the HBCU endowments combined make up less than a tenth of Harvard’s.
As for black students attending mostly-Caucasian universities, does it count for anything that America is predominantly pale?
Maybe not to Jemele.
She believes the “black professional class” needs schools that aren’t white:
Why should this matter to anyone beyond the administrators and alumni of the HBCUs themselves? Because black colleges play an important role in the creation and propagation of a black professional class. Despite constituting only 3 percent of four-year colleges in the country, HBCUs have produced 80 percent of the black judges, 50 percent of the black lawyers, 50 percent of the black doctors, 40 percent of the black engineers, 40 percent of the black members of Congress, and 13 percent of the black CEOs in America today.
It sounds as if, if a black person wants to attain success, they’ve got to avoid the mainstream.
As for the athletes, don’t the best among them land hefty NFL contracts due to their notoriety on the Big College circuit?
Either way, Jemele believes light-shaded institutions of higher learning don’t feel safe to a portion:
Some black students feel safer, both physically and emotionally, on an HBCU campus — all the more so as racial tensions have risen in recent years. Navigating a predominantly white campus as a black student can feel isolating, even for athletes.
As conveyed in her piece, basketball player Davon Dillard confided to Jemel that, at a black university, he was even able to slightly let down his guard. Here he is:
“Going to a school where most of the people are the same color as you, it’s almost like you can let your guard down a little bit. You don’t have to pretend to be somebody else. You don’t have to dress this way, or do things this way. It’s like, ‘I know you. We have the same kind of struggles. We can relate. It’s almost like you’re back at home in your neighborhood.”
What’s the bottom line? Here’s Jemele’s last paragraph:
If promising black student athletes chose to attend HBCUs in greater numbers, they would, at a minimum, bring some welcome attention and money to beleaguered black colleges, which invested in black people when there was no athletic profit to reap. More revolutionarily, perhaps they could disrupt the reign of an “amateur” sports system that uses the labor of black folks to make white folks rich.
It seems to me that we’d do better to eschew a return to the days of separate water fountains.
How about instead we move it up ’til at least the 60’s, when a man championed people being judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character?
Maybe one day.
As for now, some seem intent upon killing that dream.
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