“It doesn’t do good to open doors for someone who doesn’t have the price to get in. If he has the price, he may not need the laws. There is no law saying the Negro has to live in Harlem or Watts” – Ronald Reagan
Remember when Kanye West said that George Bush doesn’t like Black people after the Katrina debacle? Well, it would appear that some people are of that opinion about Obama in the wake of his now released Federal Budget as it relates to education. So why are people pissed? People are upset because in the budget, Obama & Co. has decided to cut $85 million in funding for HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities). In these economic times, where Black people are feeling the brunt of the fallout, how dare he do such a thing?
This has been the subject of discussion around the blogosphere, and in one blog in particular it was suggested that Obama truly doesn’t care about Black people. Yup, Black people were duped into voting for him is what the blog said. But hey, what else do you expect coming from a blog titled Conservative Black Woman, where the author is heartbroken because her daughter has made the decision to attend an HBCU. Yup, in her opinion HBCUs are irrelevant and they have subpar admission standards. Umm…yeah…riiiiight…
Now, I can understand this being an issue and given the way the race card is often played, there’s no doubt that for political expediency this is done as well. But see, that’s the problem. When there is a hidden agenda when it comes to any story or issue, often the entire story isn’t told. So while people are bitchin and talking about how Obama is screwing up, or is pissin on Black people in this case, they fail to tell you the truth. They conveniently add that funding for Native American college programs were cut as well (they never tell you that Bush did the same thing), while federal funds for programs targeting Hispanics have increased (which is a good thing by the way). Personally, I see this all as an attempt to further polarize the situation, and not tell the entire truth.
So what’s the truth RiPPa?
The truth is, the $85 million that he cut was in fact a temporary move when instituted 2yrs ago. But yet, the news and bloggers will give you the impression that this was something these schools have been living off of since slavery was abolished. Sure I understand that these schools need money. But to bitch about this budget cut would be like me protesting because I’m getting kicked out of my FEMA trailer 3yrs after Hurricane Katrina. The point is: these schools knew that this was not permanent and subject to be slashed within any federal fiscal budget year. But yet, Barack Obama doesn’t like Black people.
They’re also not saying or telling you that the new budget has a proposal to raise the allotted maximum of the Pell Grant. Ok, so yeah it’s only raised by $200 and doesn’t offset the $85 million budget cut; yes I know this. However, something that is not noted is that the budget includes $2.5 BILLION for a new five-year Access and Completion incentive fund to support innovative state efforts to help low-income students complete their college education. Yup, in 2010 $500 million will be spent or allotted just for that reason.
Yup, they don’t tell you that, but yet all you hear about is how Obama has cut funding for Black colleges. They also don’t tell you that the budget also makes permanent the new $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit provided in the Recovery Act. The budget also makes campus-based, low-interest loans more widely available through a new modernized Perkins Loan program, overhauling the inefficient and inequitable current Perkins program. Do I have to tell you that the economically disadvantaged students of HBCUs rely heavily on student loan programs? But yet, Barack Obama doesn’t like Black people.
I’ve touched on the subject of HBCUs and the rates of graduation recently. Given the recent press releases surrounding the issue of graduation rates, it would seem that fixing that problem would be paramount. Just keeping it real, the $85 million that was cut mostly went to programs for students and not the schools directly – indirectly, those schools got those funds from the students.
Yet you get the impression from the news that schools are the ones affected directly from this cutback. If there is a problem highlighting a decline in rates of graduation, doesn’t it stand to reason that the $2.5 billion be the bigger story? The program will include a rigorous evaluation component to ensure that we learn from what works. Instead, the story is: Barack Obama doesn’t like Black people. I mean come on now, if by somehow, this plan of action leads to an increase of the graduation rates, isn’t that a win in the long term as opposed to looking at the budget cut in the short term. Ultimately, doesn’t society, or more specicically the Black community benefit from this if it works?
I don’t know what you might think of all of this, but I think it’s nothing but the old divisive style of politics when it comes to Blacks in this country. To me, this is just another way to show or create confusion within the African American collective on this issue; it’s why Obama is always referred to as the Messiah to Black America by you know who. Sadly, people buy into what they’re fed by people with agendas (mainly the media) and they fail to explore the issue in its entirety.
The real issue or fact is that HBCUs greatly serve or meets the need of Blacks and other minorities who are from families with incomes of $30,000 per year or less. That said, it’s easy to see this as just another policy set to marginalize a group of people who are already at an economic disadvantage. But is it really? I mean hell, he’s only been in office a little over 100 days. Can we at least wait until he leaves citizens of a major U.S. city drowning before we run with those claims?
So now I ask you: Do you think it was wrong to cut the $85 million for HBCUs?