The Maverick’s Rant on Black Colleges

20 Nov

‘Nothing New When It Comes to Black Folk’

I gave only brief deliberation on whether I should open this week’s Real Talk, Real People show on Blog Talk Radio with a rant or just do things the way they’ve gone since we started this thing in early October.

The reason why I’m in this mood is because we had planned to do a show on black colleges. I wanted to discuss what was good and what was bad about them in 2008.

My basis for the show was because I’m a product of a black college, Texas Southern, in my native Houston, and I have several relatives who have either attended or earned degrees from these institutions, including an uncle who is a tenured instructor at one. I even have a nephew by marriage that attended Hampton and finished with honors; he was asked before leaving to be one of the school’s poster boys for its promotional material. He parlayed his success there in Virginia to attend Yale, where he earned a master’s of divinity.

When I include the years that I covered black college athletic programs as a sports reporter, I’d like to think that I have a very intimate knowledge of what’s good and bad about them.Well, let’s just say that I’m glad I had the temerity to keep it moving like I do our shows on Thursday nights because not a single school that I contacted – and we’re talking close to a dozen – agreed to participate on our panel.

Not a single school that I contacted even bothered to call me back out of courtesy to say that they would or would not participate. The only response that I received was an e-mail from an uppity female school of communications chairperson who suggested that I contact her school’s marketing and communications officer.

She also used the $20 word “concomitantly” in a sentence while suggesting that I needed to narrow my focus on my “broad, albeit interesting topic.”Let’s just say that I was tempted to send her a reply using that same word, concomitantly, which means as paralleled to, along those lines, etc., in a less-than-cordial way.

The problem I have with certain black people, particularly those in institutions of higher learning, is that they’re always complaining why they get negative media attention when they’ve done nothing to change the climate that they’ve created for themselves. As I shared with another person before deciding to just blog the way I felt, many black colleges do themselves a disservice in the way they are so inept in running their places.

How many times you’ve heard of school presidents and administrators at black colleges being investigated for fiduciary improprieties? How many times you’ve heard stories about the school’s academic performance being so poor that they’re on the brink of losing accreditation? How many times you’ve heard about the school’s alumni crying poor that nobody’s giving them any money?

The short of it is if these schools ever learned how to treat people in a professional way; if these schools ever conducted business in a credible way, free of scandal; if these schools stop acting like they’ve got theirs, you get yours, maybe an alumnus like myself might be willing to send them $20 for the first time since graduating 20 years ago.

Instead, what I’ve consistently seen over the years with black colleges are the following:

* They don’t return phone calls.

* Referring back to my media days, they’ll talk condescendingly to a reporter (and depending on what outlet they represent), they’ll try to tell you how to do your job.

* Most are cowards and will nut up on you, refusing to talk; they’ll refer you to others within the school, having nothing to do with what you’re trying to accomplish.

* Like with many black customers that I’ve dealt with, they want to interrogate you with a bunch of questions on your professional and personal history only to say they have to think about your request to speak with them. Of course, they never make themselves available to give you that answer.

* Most have the wrong strategy about media. Instead of taking each opportunity as one to develop goodwill, they’ll shine off most outlets over and only skin-and-grin for the largest of the media outlets even when the coverage is predictably negative. Translated, those same “negroes” rather stick their noses up in the air and settle for having always to explain for their follies and misfortunes of perpetual incompetence and insanity.

* What they fail to realize is that most credible media outlets could care less about them, anyway, and they’d rather deal with them only when the story that’s being generated from their school is too big to avoid. Few black colleges are regarded with having their acts together.

I now find it ironic that while I worked towards securing panelist commitments for the planned show I actually related some of these common flaws about black colleges to somebody who works in a sports media relations office. The individual agreed with everything I said, noting that I had been preaching to the choir.

But guess what? After all that, even he failed to even call me back. I merely shook my head once I realized that I had no show on black colleges and I decided to do something with a grown-and-sexy theme.

–Posted By Sam B. Redd to Straight From The Maverick


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