Tag Archives: Black Studies

Working Against Their Own Liberation: Why So Many Negroes Are Fighting Against Much Needed African-American Studies Programs on Black College Campuses

One of the most unfortunate things that I have learned during my time in academia is that it is full of Negroes that are of no utility to the advancement of Black America. I am saddened to reveal that those ranks are increasing exponentially. Even more disconcerting is that they frequently possess sufficient power to retard the illumination of young minds.Trust me when I say that every educational institution has several of these individuals.

There is probably no greater example of this situation than the astounding number of African-American educators/administrators who not only find no usefulness for African-American Studies but have the audacity to resist the establishment of African-American/Africana Studies programs on their campuses. Considering that I possess two degrees in African-American Studies, you can imagine my shock when a top-ranking administrator, a Negro, posed the following question. “Who wants to study black folk? What kind of job can you get because you know about black folk?”

I am confident that you can imagine my utter shock to hear an individual placed in charge of an H.B.C.U. articulate such foolishness, my only response was to eye her curiously and risk my employment by retorting, “You’re stupid.” Unfortunately, that view of African-American Studies by “educated” black folk could be considered the standard position for many. There is little room to debate that such individuals lone priority are a selfish pursuit of financial gain “by any means necessary” including, but not limited to, ensuring that future generations of Black America will lack the knowledge and motivation to issue a significant challenge to their oppressors.

I have spent many a moment attempting to unravel how these seemingly sane black people come to possess viewpoints and priorities that oppose the liberation of their people.

I believe that the path to being what I affectionately term “white minded” begins with an idea instilled by parents/grandparents that blacks are to go off to school in a desperate pursuit of getting “one of them good jobs.” Unfortunately for so many within our ranks, this singular goal creates a daunting mindset that amounts to little more than, “what is the best path to securing material comforts in America?” Make no mistake about it, most of these individuals instinctively realize that the road to success is paved by their ability to pattern themselves after, behave, and think as the dominant group does. After all, who wants to be on the losing team when there are spots, even if they are reserve spots on the bench of a championship team.

This realization that the path to success is paved by one adopting the priorities and viewpoints of the dominant group is a natural by-product of attending white institutions, accepting their history, and making their political priorities the only reasonable choice. It is ironic that the more more degrees some Negroes earn, the less utility they have to the very people who supported them during that process. Although we fail to realize this reality, the vast majority of African-American academicians have left home in pursuit of an “education” in the same manner that their colonized African kin was forced to during the heights of the colonization of Africa. History tells us that neither of the above populations has ever understood that they were being shaped and molded to one day return home and lead their educational institutions to the benefit of whites.

Such individuals naively believe that they have are credits to their Race and now possess the mental acumen to return home and “show others the path to success.” Unfortunately for African-Americans interested in politico-economic independence, this so-called “Talented-Tenth” shun any thought of building independent black institutions. Their only goal, even if they are not conscious of it, is serving whites with the hope that they will receive some tangible reward for their “leadership and service.”

Make no mistake about it, these Negroes are not only in our midst at this present moment, but busy working against the best interests of our people. They are well aware that such actions are the most assured path to tangible rewards.

I am past believing that the problems that I have with the above population is attributable to a misunderstanding. There is no misunderstanding to be found with such individuals as they are clear on what their intentions are and to whom they serve. Instead of fashioning it as a misunderstanding, we need to repudiate these “gate-keepers” in the strongest terms possible. They are sworn enemies of the people, willing to sacrifice us all in their desperate and despicable attempt to curry favor within a system of white domination. Unfortunately, their commitment to retarding the illumination of young black minds would make even the most ardent white supremacist blush.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017


Although I would love to support the recent decision by Surry Community College to offer a course on African-American History, I have grave concerns regarding a decision that many of my contemporaries are immediately celebrating. Now please do not mistake my ambivalence to the addition of the course as a sign that I have lost my desire for African-American studies, because I haven’t, however, this issue raises a host of questions that sit at the core of the education of the next generation of African-American activists. The alluded to questions are rarely posed in a culture of political correctness that causes African-Americans to obsess over a consideration of the feelings of others instead of a desperate pursuit of uplifting the race. At the present moment, Race is an arena where “fools rush in, and Angels fear to tread.”

The Surry Community College course addition will be taught by Rick Shelton, a white male instructor who plans to have “students analyze how the African-American identity, born in bondage, changed with the rise and fall of slavery in the United States, they will also be pushed to view blacks beyond the traditional stereotype simply as victims and will explore the ways in which black women and men took control of their lives to leave a lasting impact on America’s history and future. Upon completion of the class, students should be able to analyze significant political, socioeconomic, and cultural developments in the history of African-Americans.” My considerable consternation regarding this course being a representation of African-American Studies is found in this statement.

It ‘s not hard for me to pinpoint my reservations regarding this matter, I simply take significant issue with African-American Studies courses that defang the discipline via curricular offerings that recall Black America’s storied past without any intention of preparing the next generation of black activists for action. Put simply; I abhor courses that are little more than academic exercises whose objectives could be achieved via trivia cards. At the core of my fear is that if African-American studies courses are not led in the correct vein, they are minstrel-like, meaning white history courses in Blackface that no longer serve as training grounds for the next generation of “Race men and Race women.” The continuing need for politically astute and historically knowledgeable African-American youth to lead the struggle for “the liberation and salvation of the black nation” leads me to cringe at the Surry Community College course offering.

Mr. Shelton’s hope that “upon completion of the class, students should be able to analyze significant political, socioeconomic, and cultural developments in the history of African-Americans” falls well-short of the activist training ground that is African-American studies at its best. Make no mistake about it, the failure to use African-American studies programs as a training ground for the next generation of social activists’ works against any future progress toward the advancement of Black America.

I hope that you comprehend why I look at this situation as a double-edged sword. I do take delight in the appearance of an African-American studies course on yet another collegiate campus; however, I also cringe at the fact that it is in no way intended to be used for the uplift of Black America.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017.


I remember the conversation with noted Princeton Scholar Eddie Glaude as if it occurred yesterday. In fact, I can tell you the exact date the interaction occurred; it was October 20, 2004. That date is so prominent in my mind for one simple reason; it was the night that the Boston Red Sox miraculously defeated my New York Yankees for the third time in as many games to snatch away what appeared to be a destined trip to the World Series.

Although I had never met Glaude, a Morehouse alum, before the moment that I picked him up from the airport and he excitedly asked, “So did we get them tonight?” I took for granted that Glaude was a eddie-glaude-3proud black man, meaning that he would never support a team such as the Boston Red Sox. However, I quickly learned the error in my thoughts moments after I sadly responded, “Nah, bruh. The Red Sox got us tonight.” To my utter disgust, Glaude began to kick his feet scream, holler, and pump his fist as if he had just won the lottery. It was at this moment that it dawned on me like a pile of bricks that Eddie Glaude was a damn Red Sox fan; my utter disgust did cause me to stop my car.

I will tell you this much, every fiber of my being wanted to excuse this ‘brother’ from my vehicle, however, I knew such an action would be extremely unwise as Glaude was in town at my request as a guest lecturer on the campus of Prairie View A & M University.

It was in the wake of Glaude unveiling his loyalty to the Red Sox that I decided several things regarding our time together: (a) I would not speak to this representative of Red Sox nation unless necessary, (b) I vowed not to abandon my commitment to the initial commitment.

It was he who broke the deafening silence between us with what I thought was a peculiar query of, “So, why have you remained at Prairie View? You have so many other places that you could go, why stay there?” Desperately attempting to honor my commitments mentioned above, I tersely responded, “It’s the student’s brother, the students.”

The subsequent deafening silence that filled my vehicle was not only appreciated. I enjoyed the deafening silence that emerged with this individual who had somehow morphed into a sworn enemy.

In time, I realized that Glaude was somewhat delighted to have an up close view of the pain that his Red Sox had done to the spirits of a Yankee fan. I also understood that it was his duty as a member of Red Sox nation to aggravate his rival with endless banter.

During Glaude’s banter, he shared that there were relatively few African-American students at Princeton University. There was eddie-glaudesomething in his voice that related a bit of disappointment at the absence of more African-Americans at his Ivy League institution. I am confident that African-American professors working at predominantly white colleges and universities eventually realize that the endless resources and opportunities that come with their association to such places come at the steep cost of not having many African-American students to absorb their genius. Many of these lily-white pillars of higher education have been by-passed by African-American collegians who are understandably seeking the social comfort of an HBCU. It was at this moment that I abandoned my petty pouting session regarding the Red Sox victory and decided to engage Glaude regarding this matter.

I remarked, “You know; earlier you asked ‘Why do you choose to stay at PV?’ I think that you will receive your answer once we get to campus.” From my perspective, Glaude needed a refresher regarding why African-American Professors working at HBCU’s do what they do; for the vast majority of us, it is akin to a religious calling. I hoped that his time on the PVAMU campus would remind him of his time as an undergraduate at Morehouse College.

I knew that Glaude was totally unaware that his arrival on the PVAMU campus was a highly anticipated event for the students who populated my five courses. When Glaude learned of my teaching load, he just shook his head in disbelief. I already knew that such duties were unheard of at Princeton. To my and my student’s delight, Glaude had agreed to lecture in one of my survey courses before his main presentation.

From what I learned via his writings and speaking with others, Glaude hailed from the same tradition that so many other African-Americanmelvin-tolson professors and I hailed. Put simply, we yielded to the call to teach and unintentionally took a vow of poverty for the higher purpose of serving our community as educators. Melvin B. Tolson, the character portrayed by Denzil Washington in The Great Debaters, provides an appropriate description of the duties of an African-American professor when he stated that he was “…here to help you to find, take back, and keep your righteous mind because obviously, you have lost it.”

I was excited that Glaude agreed to lecture in my class for a host of reasons, the most significant being that the student-body was so interested in African-American studies that we were forced to move my class to the largest auditorium on campus.

To Glaude’s shock and my delight, more than 900 students were in attendance. The assembled black and brown students were anxious melvin-tolson-1to hear the genius that this brother from Moss Point, Mississippi, would bestow upon them. If I could have captured the various facets of this moment, I would have and then used it to explain to all who asked me the annoying question of why do you work at an HBCU.

I was pleased, yet not surprised, when Glaude walked onto the stage, viewed this sea of black and brown students perched on the edge of their seats prepared to absorb his wisdom, paused and pointed in my direction before stating, “Dr. Jones, I get it. I understand why you have made a choice to remain here. Wow!!!!!!!”

Later in the day, Glaude revealed that his impromptu commentary flowed from a rush of emotions that resulted from seeing those attentive black and brown faces waiting to absorb his genius; I knew that the scene harkened his mind back to his time at Morehouse College.

Life has taught me that it is at moments such as this one that educators find the most significant and long-lasting reasons for choosing this line of work. The satisfaction of knowing that you have helped one of your own learn something that will aid not only them but also succeeding generations is immeasurable. And Lord knows that each succeeding generation will need individuals who will help them “…find, take back, and keep (their) righteous mind…because obviously (they) have lost it.”

It is on behalf of those educators who are positioned on the front lines of this never-ending battle against ignorance and not knowing that I am asking you to do something that will encourage this population of servants immeasurable. Contact your favorite teacher/professor and thank them for all that they did to help you realize that you desperately needed to reclaim your righteous mind, because even you realize that someway, somehow, you lost it somewhere in your life.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2016

Why I Am Not Shocked, but Definitely Saddened by the Recent Occurrences of Racism on THE Ohio State University Campus

If you were to ask any student that I have taught over the past 13 years at Prairie View A & M University, they will tell you ohio-state-universityunequivocally that I am extremely proud to be a four-time graduate of THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY. My experiences at that incredible place are a crucial aspect of who I am at this present moment.

It was on THE Ohio State University campus that I grew from a somewhat reckless young man to a responsible adult male who learned, often via trial-and-error, important life lessons that govern how I view the world and choose to live my life. I am quite simply a ‘Buckeye’.

Considering my close association with THE Ohio State University, I am quite certain that you can understand how disturbing it was to read a communication from a former professor detailing horrific occurrences of prejudiced behavior aimed at “Muslim, Black, Latino, White, LGBT, and Asian students. They have endured threats, physical assault and intimidation, jeers, and a range of indignities. Even in their classrooms.”

The communication went further to relate the following shocking event.

A Black female student was actually called the N word in her class yesterday, and no one–not even the professor–acknowledged it. After expressing a point in class, a White student responded to her by sayingit’s n—ers like you that are the problem in this country.And the professor said nothing.

In light of these horrific incidents, there is a part of me that unconditionally agrees with one frightened student’s statement of “this is not my campus anymore.”

As much as I would like to form a united front with the current students in regards to their collective angst, shock, and bewilderment ohio-state-university-7regarding these terrible things occurring on what many consider the hallowed grounds of THE Ohio State University, to do so would be a partial truth and therefore a lie. I agree with a segment of reasonable people that it is truly tragic that such things have occurred at an institution of higher learning; however, I am neither surprised nor shocked because similar events occurred during my lengthy tenure and association with that beloved campus.

My exposure to racial animus on THE Ohio State University campus began the moment that I moved into Park Hall, my dormitory, when two students were in the throes of a horrific fight behind the white student allegedly calling the African-American student, the ‘N-word’, later that year, someone ripped my best friend’s Black History poster depicting the ‘Final Supper’ of his door and scribbled the ‘N-word’ in the spot that it previously hung, and as a bourgeoning revolutionary majoring in ‘Black Studies’ and American Race relations, I received the ultimate early birthday gift when the L.A. riots occurred April 29, 1992, the day before my birthday.

Although Race was never an ‘unspeakable unspoken’ topic on THE Ohio State University campus, it usually was reserved for private buckeye-football-2moments when you were not before mixed-company at the Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center. However on the night of April 29th, 1992, the dorm room, and the spaces around it, that I shared with Pete Jirles, my white roommate who is also one of the finest people I met during my collegiate years, became the epicenter for a robust inter-racial no-holds barred discussion over America’s most stubborn social cancer, Race. Many of us fervently attempted to express our feeble understanding of the history and present role of Race on not only the campus, but also the entire nation until we were not only exhausted, but also the sun began peeking over the horizon. Now I am not certain of what we actually solved during that impromptu meeting, however, one thing is for certain, no one involved in that discussion walked on egg shells regarding the issue of Race, the Rodney King verdict, or the L.A. riot for the sparse time that we had left during that ‘quarter’ of study.

That is THE Ohio State University that I remember, a place where students dialogued, discussed, argued, and challenged one another regarding important societal topics, and I seriously hope that it will return once again after the shock and subsequent fury on both sides of the aisle surrounding the recent Presidential election subsides. Make no mistake about it, THE Ohio State University is most certainly not a ‘perfect place’ however, it is ‘a little slice of heaven’ for those flawed individuals who were privileged enough to experience it.

Anyways, ALL OSU alumni know the truth about this magical club that we are most fortunate to belong to, that undeniable truth is that, “there are only two kinds of people in the world, those who are and those who want to be BUCKEYES.”


Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016




I had not heard from Floyd for approximately a week, although such a lengthy period without any sort of communication was unusual, I was not particularly concerned because he had shared with me his excitement at going out of state to see a distant relatives daughter graduate from college. Making the venture even more alluring to Floyd was the fact that the young lady was matriculating from a Historically Black College.

During our last communication, Floyd expressed equal amounts of excitement and reservation regarding the prospect of “being around so many of my own people.” As I am certain that you can imagine, I was more than eager to hear what Floyd’s experience was with being around so many of his own people, a population that I must remind you he seemed to offend with the slightest effort. I greatly anticipated our next meeting; however, I would never let Floyd know how eager I was to hear about his experiences.

Floyd and I played phone tag for the better part of the Monday that he returned as he was attempting to get settled back in from his trip and I was busy rushing around the city gathering opinions regarding Houston’s fast-approaching Mayoral election. When we finally spoke on the phone, we agreed to meet, per Floyd’s demand the following day on the campus of Rice University. As always, Floyd’s insistence that we meet at Rice, an elite private school with a dubious racial history, conveyed that the location held some significance to him. I could not for the world of me figure out why Floyd wanted to meet at such a location.

Unbeknownst to many, the institution currently known as Rice University was originally governed by charters that forbid the school from admitting anyone other than “the white inhabitants of Houston, and the state of Texas.” Although the institution originally known as Rice Institute was unusual in its practice of admitting white male and white female students, however, such peculiarities were not extended across racial lines as it was not until 1963 that Rice University’s Governing Board bowed to Civil Rights Leaders pressure to integrate the vaunted academic institution. In time the original charter governing Rice University was modified and racial integration occurred.

Despite its sordid racial past, I had been invited to participate on several panels at Rice University and was therefore familiar with the pretentiousness of the white folk and the appalling and wholly unnecessary elitism of the few Negroes that had been invited into its lily-white environs.

I thought it strange that Floyd would choose to meet on the equivalent of an Ivy League campus that is woefully devoid of a significant African-American presence. I knew that the few African-Americans who worked at Rice University were the kind of people that well-to-do white folk are comfortable being around; you know, the kind of Negroes who would consider it impolite to bring up issues of racial bias and racism in certain venues, if they raised them at all. One thing was for certain, Rice elites, regardless of their race/ethnicity, looked down their noses at figures such as myself, not to mention working-class African-Americans such as Floyd B. Foolish. Put simply, Floyd with his lack of education and boorish social graces and my tendency to issue polarizing commentary on racial matters regardless of the venue most definitely solidified us as Lawrence Otis Graham would state, not “their kind of people”.

For me there is just something about the city, I find it to be a living breathing entity whose moods and landscape change on a moment-by-moment basis. It is this affinity for urban America that leads me to take the ‘Metro Rail’ every opportunity that I can; anyone who has ever used public transportation, be it a bus or train, can attest to the fact that you never know who or what you will encounter during your travels. In my opinion there is no more efficient means of learning about grassroots people than by availing yourself of public transportation. Consequently, on the agreed upon date, I parked my car outside of the Ensemble Theater at approximately 9:00 AM, stopped by The Breakfast Klub and headed toward Rice University via the train with my breakfast in tow.

Knowing that I was not scheduled to meet Floyd until around 10:00, I figured that I had ample time to relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery that Rice University offered in spades, I planned to watch the sun rise out of the East side of campus while consuming my breakfast that I had procured from the world-renowned Breakfast Klub, Houston’s most trendy breakfast spot.

Unfortunately for me, I was not even half-way through my sumptuous breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and sausage before I saw Floyd B. Foolish’s familiar silhouette as he strode towards my location dressed in a plaid button down shirt, khaki pants, and his signature shiny black dress shoes from the East side of the campus. The sun’s positioning made it appear as if Floyd was literally emerging from the Sun.

Before I could acknowledge the still approaching Floyd, he jokingly shouted from approximately 100 feet away, “And I know that you didn’t think to get many none. Just like Black people.” I just smiled in Floyd’s direction as he continued his slow approach over Rice University’s carefully manicured lawns. I hoped that he already knew that his early arrival wouldn’t cause me to ‘wolf’ down my sumptuous breakfast; I intended to enjoy every morsel of this uncommonly flavorful food. Floyd quickly settled next to me on the bench and joined me in staring silently out at Rice University’s uncommonly beautiful campus.

I appreciated Floyd’s silence, even if it were not born from a modicum of politeness and understanding that I had yet to finish my breakfast. I knew Floyd too well to think that he would ever display such levels of consideration; I was certain that his silence meant that he was plotting or scheming upon something that he had yet to articulate or put into action. As was his tradition, Floyd was not going to execute his plan until he was good and ready.

Once I finished my breakfast, I tapped Floyd’s leg and told him, “Let’s take a walk. I want to take in every piece of this beautiful campus.”

As we began our stroll through the campus of Rice University, I issued a bit of social commentary that was aimed at getting Floyd to share why he had chosen this location to meet. “There are so few of us on this campus.” As a Revolutionary Nationalist, I was not disturbed by the paucity of African-Americans on this campus as it was never intended to educate our people about what I considered the only worthy subject there is, how do we liberate ourselves, collectively, from the multiple politico, economic, and social ills that have historically afflicted us. Such a political perspective forced me to sigh and rhetorically state that “We should focus upon building our own educational entities and leave a place like Rice to white folk.” I most certainly sided with Malcolm X when he asserted to integrationist-minded Negroes that “Only a fool would allow his oppressor to educate his children.”

Floyd, staring ahead at some nondescript building, responded by reminding me that “we may need to send our children here because in the end this is the ‘white man’s world’. He runs it, decides who is going to be included in it, and just as importantly has the power to determine who will be excluded from it. When you really think about it, powerful whites are kind of gangster with theirs as you’re either going to get down with their program or get rolled over by it.

Although I understood from whence Floyd’s pessimism emanated from, I remained a good measure away from sanctioning integration, let alone assimilation, as a strategy that would secure ‘the liberation and salvation of the Black nation.’ I personally could never understand why so many Blacks, including notable national-level Black leaders, thought that if they were able to get physically closer to whites there would be an instantaneous improvement in not only their personal lives, but also the larger African-American community.

Prior conversations with Floyd had informed my compatriot that I stood with the likes of Marcus Garvey, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Claud Anderson, and Louis Farrakhan, among others, in believing that the placing of African-Americans political, socioeconomic and educational futures in the hands of a hostile exploitive white population was the apex of lunacy. There was no balm for Black misery to be found by living next to your historic enemy and oppressor.

I honestly cannot think of a more reckless decision than the adoption of the flawed political programs and constructs that integrationist-minded Civil Rights Leaders attempted to execute during the late-fifties and early-sixties. With hindsight there is clarity, and with that clarity it seems impossible that Civil Rights leaders did not recognize their desperate attempts to integrate with whites would come at the steep cost of the Black community’s financial infrastructure. Put simply, Black leaders traded away every viable tangible chip for a theoretical equality that only existed on the nation’s law books, yet was never diligently applied by a largely indifferent government.

As I expected, not even the sheer beauty of the campus that we were strolling through would deaden Floyd’s natural impulse to interrupt me. However, even I was surprised by the theatrics Floyd used in a desperate attempt to emphasize his opposition to my recent points regarding Black self-sufficiency in the areas of economics, politics, and education. As he was known to do from time to time, Floyd expressed his disagreement with antics that reminds one of an 18th-Century minstrel show.

Now you do know that white folk run the world? Considering that they run the world, isn’t it common sense that the best way to get some of that power is to learn what they know? I cannot for the life of me understand why y’all are so hung up on learning about Black stuff when it will never translate into either money or power. And don’t you dare deny that this whole thing is about money and the power.

Now please tell me why I should pay any attention to this Black stuff when whites are running the world?

It was at this moment that I desperately attempted to elevate Floyd’s thinking by highlighting notable black thinkers/writers and institutions that were diligently working to uplift our people.

However, the moment that I began extolling the virtues of Black Colleges such as Howard University, Spelman College, Prairie View A & M University, and Hampton University, Floyd began vigorously shaking his glistening head from side-to-side.

Over a calming wind that was freely blowing across the Rice University campus, Floyd began to tell me, “Now don’t you dare try and tell me about those Black Colleges. That is something that I know a little something about.

Floyd, I had no idea that you graduated from a Historically Black College.

Floyd responded with the following quip, “You don’t know about it because I never went to no college. However, as you well know, I was just at one of these so-called centers of ‘higher learning’ for Black folk and let me tell you something. If we are expecting for them to save our people, we may very well end up back in slavery.

Realizing that I was just waiting for a pause so that I could jump in and rebuff what I considered Floyd’s outlandish assertions, Floyd refused to pause to take a breath, thereby blocking all opportunities to interrupt what was most certainly an opening statement in what would invariably transform into a larger debate. Floyd had argued and debated for so many years that he was undoubtedly a veteran. So I was forced to listen to what had quickly turned into my intellectual adversary biased depiction of Black college students, faculty, administrators, and alumni; apparently a single visit was sufficient to convince Floyd that he hated everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, about Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

And I’ll tell you another thing, the entire time that I was on that campus for my great-niece’s graduation, all I witnessed was a bunch of YOUR people dancing and stomping around in a circle like they had been sent back to some African village, skipping classes, and standing around the campus, like these fools in the hood do on street corners, shucking and jiving. And they managed to achieve all of this without carrying a single book. I often felt like I was at a filming of Soul Train, not an institution of higher learning.

I doubt the truthfulness of Floyd’s assertions; he most certainly had a tendency to be a bit extreme in his characterizations of things he viewed in a negative light. I highly doubted that Floyd had not seen any students carrying books and to be honest with you, such mischaracterizations of African-American students were an inherent danger for subsequent generations as it not only misinformed them regarding the preparation and effort that were needed to succeed at the collegiate level, but also caused those who were already in possession of a prejudiced view that discounted both the inherent intelligence and work ethic of Black folk in all arenas to seal off many areas of opportunity that African-Americans had earned.

Damn it man! I am telling you that the entire library was empty, I mean every floor and every chair. Those kids were dancing around to rap music, the girls were wearing booty shorts, and the boys’ pants were sagging. There was so much booty being shown that it looked like a crack fest.

I involuntarily laughed at Floyd’s final quip of it being ‘a crack fest’. However, I was not unduly swayed by any of Floyd’s statement because I knew that it was not beyond him, in fact, prior behavior made it seem quite natural for him to exaggerate, especially when the action benefited him during the heat of a verbal joust. Put simply, I doubted the veracity of his assertions.

Desperate to intercede against Floyd’s mischaracterization of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, I explained to him that he was most certainly witnessing Greek fraternities and sororities ‘strutting’, a way of representing their organization and honoring those members that came before them. When I shared this information with Floyd, he simply shrugged his shoulders and mumbled something about, “That wasn’t no damn Greek cultural expression. It damn sure was an expression of Niggerdom.

To my dismay, Floyd was nowhere near done in what appeared to be a quest to run down Historically Black Colleges and Universities as he turned his commentary toward the physical facilities that he found, or more specifically did not find, on the campus that he visited. “I mean to tell you that every building, and I do mean EVERY building, was rundown. None of the classrooms that I went to had technology in them, and don’t get me started on the fact that these Negroes are still using chalk boards. Hell, they used chalk boards when I was in elementary school. I bet you won’t find no damn chalk board on this campus right here.

I found little that I could rebuff Floyd with as he was largely correct in his voluminous criticism of the physical facilities that one finds on most Historically Black college campuses. Oftentimes, it appears as if the facilities have not been updated since the institution opened.

Although I could have pointed out issues such as unequal funding that Black colleges have historically received from both State and Federal Government entities, I knew that there would be no convincing Floyd of such things. It was at this moment that Floyd went for the knockout blow with the following query. “If Black folk are able to run their own institutions, as you say, well then tell me why are they so run-down? After what I just saw, I would be willing to bet you any amount of money that there isn’t a single Black college that can compare to this beautiful campus right here.

Instead of continuing this disagreement, I decided for the sake of my own sanity to drop the matter.

As is his usual way, Floyd took my silence to mean that he had actually won this debate. Ever the ungracious victor, Floyd remarked that “Black people had better stop wasting their time and money attending Black colleges and go to where the true learning occurs; a white campus.

I thought it better to drop this matter before I ended up strangling ‘Foolish Floyd’. I realized that he would never comprehend how and why his position was horribly flawed, as well as the unadulterated fact that this nation desperately needs Black colleges to not only exist, but also expand and improve upon the services that they offer their multi-racial student-body. Despite what Floyd stated, I still believed that Black colleges held the potential to save the race, particularly when one considers that they have consistently provided access to higher education for those who would never have gained admittance to institutions of higher education such as Rice University.

Unfortunately, such points were not, and sadly never would be, considered by individuals such as ‘Foolish Floyd’.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016