And what does it mean for HBCUs?
A new survey from the Pew Research Center offers some statistics on elements of political culture a lot of us already knew. Republicans hate a lot of stuff that, ironically, actually makes America great.
Largely, democrats and republicans believe that big business, banks and the media are screwing over the country. And we should get together on those common ideas to make changes about how money moves and how we all are being programmed to think.
But the most interesting theme from this graphic is the section on higher education, which liberals believe is doing good to move the country forward, while conservatives believe it is damaging the country.
You take that info with a grain of salt, of course, because the rest of the chart shows that with the exception of church, there isn’t much that the heart of the GOP is actually here for. Maybe if the survey was more inclusive with perspectives on *guns, military spending and small businesses,* the survey would look a lot different.
But the part about college education jives with a lot of the news and commentary we’re hearing about education these days; we can’t afford it, if we take out loans they are too expensive to pay back and simultaneously live an actual life, and that it doesn’t help you to get a job that you think you deserve.
But higher education offers a unique element of American life, that in recent years, has spiked. Colleges are the largest, and most productive hubs of conversation about equity for ethnic minorities, protection for women from sexual assault, tolerance for LGBTQ community members, and all of the people above earning a credential that will allow them to get richer than the people complaining about their supposed ‘rights.’
One thing we have to understand about social conservatives and those who manipulate the ideology into overt racism; it is not that they think blacks, Hispanics and gays shouldn’t be here, but that we shouldn’t be here AND earning opportunities that should just fall into their laps without having to work as hard as we do.
How Industry is Killing Poor White Privilege
It used to be easy for white privilege to manifest into a half-decent job, within or close to a community where you could live around people who looked and thought like you, where you could send your kids to a school where the teachers and the students were the same.
But landmark litigation on civil rights killed all of that, and mashed poor folks of varying races together. Black poor folks figured out that if we worked hard enough, some of the jobs that white people were guaranteed could come to us. Privatized industry grew, and black people with newfound access to education and training started claiming many of the jobs that the White Privilege Network used to day-trade without the threat of minority influence or affirmative action rules.
And that most white poor white people still don’t want to go to college, but haven’t quite figured out that most of the jobs are reserved for anybody with a college degree and some relevant experience aside from being white, *you get racially-charged clamoring for issues like supporting the military, (interestingly, one of the last few industries where employees can become wealthy without higher education) for gun rights, and against increasing taxes on small businesses.*
And that clamoring looks something like this.
So What Do HBCUs Have to Do With It?
Everything. Just because the antagonistic mentality is most visible among the white working and lower-middle class, doesn’t mean that the motivation doesn’t exist in other areas of white affluence. They just have enough money and enough power to hide it well.
And even then, the right situation can get them to blow their own covers.
Black colleges, particularly public HBCUs in the south, are in the crosshairs of this kind of logic. Robert Pettinger is an elected officials in the same state that attempted to make a law for HBCUs to reduce their tuition to $500 per semester, and he will likely be among the voice in the near future that will call for the merger or closure of Elizabeth City State University, and the consolidation of Fayetteville State University and Winston-Salem State University with nearby, predominantly white institutions.
Some rich white guys with legislative power think the same way as some poor white guys with guns; they are only separated by the education and networking with sharpens the nuance to cover those racialized ambitions with data, statistics, budget lines and press releases. There have been enough profiles, investigative pieces, editorials, lawsuits, and research to draw a very simple conclusion:
Colleges require too much money from government and individuals for white people at varying levels of the economic spectrum to benefit less than black and Hispanic people. And certainly, institutions existing in direct opposition to this interest must be claimed in the name of fiscal rightsizing, racial harmony, and industrial outputs.
University of the District of Columbia President Ronald Mason said it best in a recent blog entry:
The United States that the Founding Fathers established near the end of the Revolutionary War turned out to be quite different from the initial vision they had for a nation free from Britain. The war had been fought over money and profits, and the new nation ended up being based on ways to maximize them. The U.S. became, in effect, the next generation of the Britain it had just rebelled against. Like other nations, it determined that the role of the government would be to facilitate the generation of private wealth, that the wealth would be concentrated in the hands of a few at the expense of the many, and that the wealthy few would be white. That remains the America in which we live.
And that’s why conservatives hate higher education, not because it is an industry collapsing under the weight of its own excess and the bulge of technological revolution, or even because its mission has been made obsolete by domestic industrial struggle and the rise of global economics.
It is because the benefits of white privilege have now waned for the have-nots of the demographic, and with minorities taking full advantage of its offerings, the promise of opportunity is little more than a “we’ll see” proposition for everyone involved.
And for a nation that used to promise its bounty to patriotic, hard working, honest guys who loved Jesus, the redistribution of wealth and opportunity to everybody outside of that group…well, that just ain’t American.