This is a series regarding Shaw resident Carter G. Woodson’s book The Mis-Education of the Negro. Find part 1 here.
So there was a problem with Black college education:
When a Negro has finished his education in our schools, then, he has been equipped to begin the life of an Americanized or Europeanized white man, but before he steps from the threshold of his alma mater he is told by his teachers that he must go back to his own people from whom he has been estranged by a vision of ideals which in his disillusionment he will realize that he cannot attain.
In a previous paragraph he wrote:
In schools of journalism Negroes are being taught how to edit such metropolitan dailies as the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times, which would hardly hire a Negro as a janitor; and when these graduates come to the Negro weeklies for employment they are not prepared to function in such establishments, which, to be successful, must be built upon accurate knowledge of the psychology and philosophy of the Negro.
In my earlier post on this chapter I took a quote about how successful African-Americans were uneducated. These were the entrepreneurs of the age. Woodson points out the problem that college graduates from HBCUs, could not work in their fields of study because they were not white. They are not prepared, Woodson contends, to work in the places where they can be hired because they do not understand their customer nor their employer, because of their education.
For the arduous task of serving a race thus handicapped, however, the Negro graduate has had little or no training at all. The people whom he has been ordered to serve have been belittled by his teachers to the extent that he can hardly find delight in undertaking what his education has led him to think is impossible. Considering his race as blank in achievement, then, he sets out to stimulate their imitation of others The performance is kept up a while; but, like any other effort at meaningless imitation, it results in failure.
There is a paragraph I’ve very temped to skip and because of that I will include it:
These “educated” people, however, decry any such thing as race consciousness; and in some respects they are right. They do not like to hear such expressions as “Negro literature,” “Negro poetry,” “African art,” or “thinking black”; and, roughly speaking, we must concede that such things do not exist. These things did not figure in the courses which they pursued in school, and why should they? “Aren’t we all Americans? Then, whatever is American is as much the heritage of the Negro as of any other group in this country.”
One of aunts, and I’m not mentioning which one as they are all still living and functioning, pushed Black culture on me. And as a kid, I totally resisted it. I wanted to watch Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, she came over and switched it to Soul Train. I like what I like, and I don’t like what I don’t like. The heart wants what it wants. Trying to guilt trip me into liking Black culture had the opposite effect. There are aspects of African-American culture and history that I love, being Afro-American myself is the cherry on top. I came to appreciate them, on my own, as an adult.