Here’s Why Black Educators Are Needed Everywhere And Not Just At HBCUs
When posed with the question “do you ever wonder why your professors don’t look like you” last week at the end of seminar, I was taken aback, first mainly for the simple fact that I attend an HBCU and majority of my professors, along with faculty I encounter have been black, and second because it struck a nerve within me since I have been considering a career in higher education. When I expounded on this question and really dug deeper into why this question was asked and why it was offered with such a random abruptness at the end of class, I kept asking myself ” what did she want us to take out of this question? ”
There are about 3,000 Colleges and Universities in The United States, of those 3,000 only 3% are HBCUs, so that’s roughly 90 schools and out of those 90 schools holds 96% of America’s black faculty . Let that sink in
This brings me to observation number one : Black educators are needed everywhere, Not just at HBCUs. Living in a day and age where only 1 out 33 classrooms has a non – white teacher, and nearly 84 % of America’s teachers are white it is vital, that we begin to produce more Black Educators, because “If HBCUs disappear, so would most of the nation’s black academics” (Valerie Strauss, 2015 ). Growing up from elementary all the way up through high school ,with the exception of coaches, I’ve had two black teachers My fifth grade math teacher and my high school Choir Director. In the classroom there were always less than 5 black students and I was normally one of the very few, if not the only black girl, but when I got to college that all changed, Therefore leading me to observation number two : African Americans are underrepresented in Academia, but especially in STEM fields. Looking back on my college career now as a senior, I noticed majority of my professors have been black, with the exception of about 10 of them. Of those ten non- black professors they all had one thing in common; They taught in STEM or STEM related fields. This was a conflicting thought for me, because to know that HBCUs produce 27% of African-American students with bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields, and that out of the top 50 institutions for educating African-American graduates who go on to receive their doctorates in science and engineering, 21 of those 50 institutions are HBCUs.
In conclusion, bringing me to my third and final observation : Not all are called to teach, but black students need to know that black teachers exist. With the sky rocketing enrollment of black students in all levels of education across the nation, and with the increase of high school, and college graduates we are being shown 2 things; 1. black kids are eager, capable, and willing to learn and 2. we need positive role models of our own inside our classrooms to be able to educate our own. Attending a HBCU has taught me so much about
black culture and history that I never or briefly knew existed, because it wasn’t exposed to me in the classroom growing up. Although, I did have parents who taught me majority of the black history I knew prior to attending college, I can’t imagine the things I could have accomplished or the confidence I would have had if I was being taught the history and culture I know now growing up.
Not all are called to teach, but I certainly believe that more blacks are, and for whatever reason that may be holding us back we must find the passion within ourselves to want to give back that knowledge we might have had to find on our own, we have to desire to be more than a month out of the year, or one decade taught out of the centuries we learn over and over year after year. So, as we continue on and excel in our career fields and in our lives, really ask yourselves Why didn’t my teachers look like me and how can I really change the future through my career?
“I realize that not every youth gets an equal chance at becoming successful. Some never get a chance at all. And not every young person believes that tomorrow can be better than today or that they deserve a chance to be successful. It is not right that with all our resources every young person is not afforded the opportunity to be the best they can be if they want to. Our communities are hurting. Our systems need fixing. We can’t wait on the government, institutions, social programs and policies to meet the needs of our communities. It is in our hands.” (Ludacris)
Rachel Williams37 Posts
Rachel is a 21 year old Management Major at Prairie View A&M University and aspires to one day own her own event planning company. Rachel has a passion for community involvement and uses blogging as an outlet to voice her opinions and inform the public about topics pertaining to religion, relationships, health, beauty, fitness, music, and other "trending topics" from an open and relatable perspective. She just recently started her own website called "Don't Forget The A", a blog and a brand that encourages individuality, confidence and healthy living as well as focusing on the importance of living to make a difference through giving back and leaving a legacy. She plans to earn her Masters in Public Administration to help her advance her career in community engagement and event planning.