Dr. deGregory, in understanding your response I say this. We as African-American’s are the only race outside of italians (Mafia) that were if one does something wrong it casts aspersions upon every single institution within the black diaspora.
But linking these 3 individuals to the over 100 HBCU’s that exist in America is a far reach. Now if the statement was more in the line of African-Americans have to seek justice for our own and as well as whites when transgressions go on. But to say that HBCU’s somehow provides a breeding ground for this “rape culture” and male misogyny is baffling. The HBCU missions and direction is to take the students cast away by society or not allowed to enter white majority institutions and provide them a platform to learn, grow and educate themselves in a nurturing and “safe” environment. In doing so, thousands if not millions of alumni proudly say they are graduates of HBCU’s.
In my experience at attending an HBCU is that it is that. It delivered the goods as far as striving, working hard, protecting the black family and providing for those with less.
Now these three individuals that you discussed (using them as a representation of others with less than stellar character). Two of which were acquitted of their supposed crimes and one is still under investigation. Toxic black respectability for me does not start with them nor end with them. Let’s start with Jesse Jackson, Bishop Eddie Long, the various preachers supporting Donald Trump, Armstrong Williams, Al Sharpton, Benjamin Crump. These individuals are the go to people when black america needs a spokesmen. None of these people speak for me because each one I named all have flaws far greater than the HBCU’s they attended. These are individuals, that every time they show up on t.v. knocks black respectability down a notch or two.
Effective black leadership and continued build our institutions and revising or destroying some traditions I agree is needed sometimes to build a stronger institution. But right now as all the HBCU’s face there is not enough resources to go around. Yes, HBCU’s live in a world in which it is an either/or situation. Either I provide for the students who choose to come or do I seek a greater voice in social issues. HBCU’s have huge amounts of social capital but very little financial capital to be all inclusive. You argue one goes with the other but which one gets precedent? South Carolina State would love to increase social capital within the state of South Carolina but its financial state hinders that. Elizabeth City State University would love to increase its social capital within Northeastern North Carolina but right now it is under assault from the GOP led state legislature that slashed its tuition to $500 and now have to operate under this feast or famine regime..
Individual transgressions are just that individual they do not reflect upon the cultures of HBCU’s..