Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The HBCU Blues - Once Again Black Folks Are Working Too Hard On The Wrong Stuff

I'm starting to come to a sad realization about my people. We all too often get fired up about the wrong shit. We get all passionate about little things while the big issues go ignored until they become big enough to crush us. For example, why in the hell are HBCU's issuing dress codes and fitness codes? Are these really pressing issues that deserve priority focus?

Considering all the problems that HBCUs are currently fighting; falling enrollments, soaring costs for everything from building maintenance to tuition, campus safety issues, underpaid and overworked professors, academically ill-prepared students and shrinking endowments, I think that creating drama over student clothing choices and denying students their degree because some chart says they are too fat are really low on the list of important issues.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for folks pulling up their pants and folks being in better physical condition, but the first job of any collegiate institution is to EDUCATE it's students, not regulate them on personal life decisions such as dress and weight. HBCUs need to be more worried about raising money, finding the best professors, and get the best resources for their students, not creating roadblocks that makes it harder for their predominantly high risk student body.

Whose buying all this "business dress" clothing? My minority students and quite a few white students as well, struggle to buy BOOKS, forget clothes. And is Lincoln University going to provide personal trainers, dietitians, 24-hour workout facilities, and nutritionists to help their students make the required weight for graduation? Are they going to remove junk food and fatty foods from the cafeteria, bookstore, and dorms, to prevent their students from gaining the infamous freshman fifteen, twenty-five, or fifty pounds? Do they have the money and time to deal with the lawsuits from students that sue?

I've seen dressed up students at HBCUS before, many dressed to the department store hilt with brand new backpacks that are empty because "new school clothes" were more important than books and school supplies. College students struggle with time management just with classes, jobs, and extracurricular activities, now to ensure graduation a regular physical workout is added to the schedule. Could you see that? Girl, I can't study for that math test tomorrow, I got t0 spend an hour on the treadmill. How about mandatory study tables and hours instead, now that would be an idea.

And if I was a student at any of these colleges, EVERY single faculty member, staffer, and administrator would have to be dressed for success and lean and mean before they could point a finger at me.


DELLA REESE November 26, 2009 at 2:43 AM  

I thought this crap was stupid too. These negroes amazingly have time on their hands to come up with the specifics of all this but take 90 years on everything else. I get that the intentions behind it are genuine and in good care but still.....too much more to do ...that could have waited.

BigmacInPittsburgh November 26, 2009 at 11:29 AM  

Your points are well taken,in the same token a school is responsiable for putting the correct ideals in a students head.When we start to allow any old kind of dress code or health conditions for our children then we set our standards LOW!WHEN ONE HAS LOW STANDARDS YOU LEAVE YOURSELF OPEN TO BE USED AND ABUSED.

CurvyGurl ♥ November 26, 2009 at 11:32 AM  

Excellent points as always, Professor Tracey. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

msladydeborah November 27, 2009 at 5:00 AM  

You hit the nail on the head in this post.

Promoting healthy living needs to start long before college. I would be more impressed if the HBCU's took the time and made the effort to reach out into the community and help families deal with nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
By the time a person reaches college a lot of their eating habits and health concerns are already established. Of course, a person can always change how they do things. But to mandate that change is not the best way to handle this particular problem.

RiPPa November 27, 2009 at 5:51 PM  

I love when you bring it the way you do. Real talk: are these issues really that important? I've had a hard time of convincing a few people that they're not.

Good Blog

lyfesimplified November 30, 2009 at 12:58 AM  

I'm sad to hear this is even an issue...ugh! Most college students dont' have the money to come to school dressed like they are going to work, I know I didn't. And at LSU I walked a few miles just to get to comfort was important. Humph!



DJ Dub aka The Dubster December 8, 2009 at 2:52 PM  

Prof tracy,

As a grad of Morehouse I witnessed the snail pace in which the administration handled all of their business. My father, who is now a adjunct professor at an HBCU experienced even worse. He was hired to work at the school but wasn't given a paycheck until weeks later after he met the president of the college. WHAT? Only in HBCU's can this type of backwater pigsfoot nonsense go on. Why do we tolerate it? We relish in the idea that we for once will be surrounded by like individuals for the purpose of being enriched academically and socially. The dress code sends the wrong message. Yes, dress up for major events that makes sense. But going through the doorman for class is a waste of limited resources. Granted AAs have to work harder than their counterparts but at the same time, lets work smarter not harder.

MsBRG722 December 8, 2009 at 5:40 PM  

Like another commenter stated, your points are well taken, though I disagree with you. I truly believe that both health and image are vitally important aspects of any student's personal and professional development. I think there may be cause for alarm regarding the way the schools have chosen to handle their new more stringent codes, however, I am definitely not opposed to them.

Students must realize that school is about preparation. There is a very real expectation for professional image in most work environments. Additionally, we have to ask ourselves, if schools are not taking responsibility of teaching best practices as they relate to professional image and health, how will our young Black men and women learn the importance of these things?

aann4950 December 14, 2009 at 12:30 AM  

I agree with you, however, some of these young men are walking around with their belts underneath their underwear. I for one do not want to see your #ss hanging out of your pants. And, yes we all need to do better by our students and the students MUST do better for themselves.
A side note...Hey, GO what did you think of the Saints 13-0 victory?

eMarie January 6, 2010 at 8:47 AM  

I believe that we have come out of slavery too soon. If we think that it does not matter what we stand for. We did not reach the level of where African Americans are today by compromise. We are slipping back in time. Maybe we just need to go back to slavery until we are really ready to stand out above the rest. We had standards initially. Now what?

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