Is Trump the best thing that’s happened to HBCUs?

Is it really possible that Donald Trump is doing more for Historically Black Colleges and Universities than previous administrations? According to many black educators, all signs point to Yes, even better than under Barack Obama.

How is this even possible? And why haven’t you heard about it? (And especially, why haven’t students of these colleges and universities heard about it?) Listen in for my thoughts on this.

Mentioned links:

Historically black colleges view Trump administration warily, but also with some optimism

Historically black colleges and universities [Wikipedia]

Protesting Notre Dame students walk out of Pence’s commencement speech

Explaining what a “cut” is in Washington, DC:

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Show transcript

It’s often said that, in politics, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. You do me a favor, I owe you one. You vote for me, I’ll help you out. However, let me describe one relationship, across 2 presidencies, that this doesn’t exactly fit for.

There are groups of schools called HBCUs; Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These are schools, created before 1964, with the intention of giving African-Americans a chance at higher education, when racism was reducing or preventing those opportunities. They accept students of any race, but they do have a rich tradition in the black community.

In the Source of All True Knowledge(tm), Wikipedia, I found this interesting line, “Most HBCUs were established after the American Civil War, often with the assistance of northern United States religious missionary organizations.” I just find it interesting that, the more you know about history, the more you realize that the idea that religious people are against science, or learning in general, is laughable. And while you’re at it, check out the backgrounds of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, and others that were founded hundreds of years earlier; all of which have religious roots. That’s just a side point, but I do like to bring it up.

Anyway, so these HBCUs were very hopeful when America elected its first black President; Barack Obama. From the Los Angeles Time article, linked to in the show notes, is this statement from Walter Kimbrough, president of one of these schools, Dillard University. “For Obama, people expected him to come in and fix everything — especially for black people.… But he never campaigned strongly for HBCUs.” So much for hope and change; Kimbrough hoped, but nothing changed.

But here’s the point; African-Americans voted for Obama in huge numbers, but nothing came of it for HBCUs.

Then came Donald Trump, who the Left painted as a racist from the get-go. Now as I’ve noted on this show before, any Republican is painted as a racist by the Left, but Trump even more so than in the past. My thought is that it’s mostly because of some of those who supported him, and not so much what he’s actually done. That’s a debatable point, but regardless, we were led to believe that this man had a white, pointy hood with eyeholes and a Confederate flag in his desk drawer, ready to be pulled out at the next opportune time.

Given that, how do the HBCUs see him? Trump came in with no expectations placed on him by this group, but some black educators have been pleasantly surprised. Kimbrough continued, “So people now want to see what’s going to happen because he’s coming in saying he’s going to be the president for HBCUs. It’s a very different perspective, but it’s still the first 150 days, so we’ll see what happens.”

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit that helps provide financial assistance to students who attend black colleges, is certainly encouraged. “In the first four months of this presidency, the Trump administration has been far more responsive to our community than the past administration. I, for one, judge people by what they do — not what they say.” So what has Trump done to engender such hope?

Taylor notes, among other things, the bipartisan spending bill Congress passed and Trump signed this month, which includes an expansion of Pell grant eligibility to year-round. Obama’s budgets only allowed for 2 semesters. Further, Trump’s budget proposal left funding for black colleges and universities untouched, while the Department of Education budget was cut 13.5%.

But here’s the point; only 8% of African-American voters went with Trump, and many black educators say that he’s done more for HBCUs than previous administrations, including Obama’s.

You’ve probably not heard much about this. As I said, I’m working from an article in the LA Times, but most folks don’t get their news from newspapers these days, least of all students. And so we get actions by them at Bethune-Cookman University, a black university in Daytona Beach, Florida. During a commencement speech by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, some students booed her, or stood up and turned their backs. You didn’t scratch Trump’s back, he is scratching yours, and this is the thanks he gets. Yeah, well, you’re welcome.

By the way, this whole dissing commencement speakers isn’t a black thing; it’s a student thing. Notre Dame is certainly no historically black university, but Vice President Mike Pence had students walk out of his commencement address. Now, if they’d walked out of an address by Obama, that would’ve been racist. But anyway, a Facebook friend commented on it this way. “Trump in the Middle East, Pence at a U. S. university commencement. One went to hostile foreign territory to address intolerant, dogmatic extremists. The other went to Saudi Arabia.”

As just a side note – well, another side note, I’ve done one already – I mentioned that the Department of Education’s budget was “cut” in Trump’s proposal. You need to understand what a “cut” is in DC. It’s not how you or I define the word. The assumption in DC is that the budget increases every year. If you get $100 this year and if we’re expecting that you’ll get $106 next year, that’s the baseline assumption. If, however, someone suggests that you only get $105 next year, well then that’s a “cut”. Remember that when you start hearing dire predictions from the Left about how Trump’s budget will kill old people and destroy education. I have a 6-minute video in the show notes which describes this a little further. You need to understand the DC vocabulary.

Well, it is early in the Trump administration, but there are still encouraging signs that he’s not as racist as the media and the Democrats make him out to be. And he’s not shouting it from the rooftop, because that’s how it should be done. Besides, if he did, that would just prove to some people that he really is racist, akin to saying, “Some of my best colleges are black.” So you won’t hear about it, but it’s happening.

Filed under: EducationRace Issues