Here is something you can't understaaaand.
Why are people surprised at the move by Obama to cut federal monies to HBCUs? The cold hard fact of the matter is that for those who have never attended an HBCU they don't matter. Really. I was one of them until I landed at Tuskegee. Most white people who do not live in the vicinity of a HBCU probably couldn't tell you what HBCU stands for. Heck a large portion of black folk can't tell you what an HBCU is. A small portion of the black public goes to an HBCU yet HBCU's have provided the greatest number of "degreed negroes" than "HWCUs".
Did anyone not think that by buying into and promoting the race-neutral, color-blind, or whatever strategy to get Obama elected, that it wouldn't have consequences? One must realize that in the face of "race-neutrality", there is NO NEED for an entity called a HBCU. That when one is a part of the "mainstream" you are just another subgroup on a HWCU? And if there is no need for an HBCU and there is a stated desire to be "mainstreamed" why should the govt. supply money to HBUCs?
Furthermore, as anyone who has either attended a HBCU or researches them knows, many of them are on their last financial legs. Some have lost accreditation. Some face dwindling student enrollment due to the brain drain to HWCUs. The fact is that eventually there are going to be a very small group of "elite" HBCUs such as Spelman, Morehouse, Hampton (and Tuskegee I hope). Furthermore, the complexion of these campuses are going to change as the stigma of attending a "black school" dwindles and those black schools become less "black." Now I understand the mission of many of the schools (at least as stated)to provide education for those who cannot get it elsewhere but the fact is that many of them are going to go away.
Recall that many HBCUs were created to provide educational opportunities where there were none. They were created to provide education where HWCU simply refused to do so. So we've moved from a point where going to a Tuskegee was the only thing you could hope for, to Tuskegee hoping you'll attend. Today we have an African-American president, who had he been school aged in the 30's, 40's 50's or early 60's, really wouldn't have had a choice in the matter (regardless of his white mother) but to go to an HBCU. Trust me he does not value the history of HBCU's like I do or like Michelle could. Obama did not grow up in a household or region of the country where one was expected to go to an HBCU. He didn't grow up in a household as far as I know, where black folks were a part of his daily experience. Obama simply cannot comprehend what a black college experience is. And don't take that wrong. Most black folk who have not attended an HBCU have no clue as to the unique collegiate experience it is. But what is critical here is that Obama has, like a growing number of upwardly mobile black folk, gotten where he has without those "traditional" black roads. So he has no reason to feel any real affinity to them beyond whatever political capital they can bring to him or Democrats.
Understand, I've been to a Big 10 school. I've been to an Ivy League campus. But for me some of the most impressionable experiences I have had were at Tuskegee. I would not trade that experience for anything. Anyone who has not experienced years of higher education where one is NOT the spot in the lecture hall or classroom. Where the cafeteria is one big "black section", Where the barber is almost any room in any dorm. Where regardless of your political leanings you're in the same boat as your intellectual adversary.
If you haven't experienced it, then you simply won't get it. And I'm not talking about a utopia but an imperfect but unique world that those of us who experienced it would not need convincing that it's money well spent. But since we have a president who didn't go through that to get where he is, I'm not surprised.