Thursday, November 11, 2010


Is it really progress?
Sure, the recent win by HBCU students Jonecia Keels and Jazmine Miller over other entries by students from M.I.T. and Harvard in AT&T's Big Mobile Campus Challenge is nice, but is it the norm?
If HBCU's are really that good - why the need to compare themselves to traditional stalwarts Harvard and M.I.T?
If HBCU's were really the ish - wouldn't Harvard and M.I.T. feel the need to get all excited because they beat Spelman?


DPizz said...

Why are you posing nonsensical questions? Of course Harvard and M.I.T. - pretty much globally - are perceived to be vanguards in higher education. Whether this widely-held perception is actually true or not is another question. Alternatively, the general perception of HBCU's is that they are lessor instituitions (though I happen to know that there are a lot of companies that regard these schools highly and recruit aggressively). Again, perception not necessarily having any relationship to the actual truth.

Given this perceptions environment this is a huge PR achievement for the HBCU students even though they may know their skills were always on par with the stalwarts. This same environment also explains why Harvard and M.I.T. wouldn't feel the need to get all excited about a win over an HBCU, they have already been crowned, why would there be any elation over beating up a perceived peasant.

Alabama would not give a fuck about beating Boise St. but Boise St. would shit their pants again if they happened to beat Alabama. Even though almost every indication is that Boise is just as good as the leading schools from BCS conferences (every indication except quality in-league competition - a point that I would not discount if I were making a footbal argument). Okay, Alabama might care a little as Boise as elevated its perception over the years.

So yes, this is progress. A win in a BCS bowl. A big win for how HBCUs are perceived generally (though some insiders already know about the quality of some HBCUs).

Val said...

If Harvard or MIT win this competition next year then they will brag that they beat Spelman, this year's winner.

Many of us know and have known that Spelman is a great school, so this win only re-enforces that.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ DPizz - Okay, the football arguement works for me.
Back in the day, Florida and Miami had to consistantly win against teams with longer and better traditions.
One win was not enough as upsets happen all the time.
To use another sport as an example, is a win in this competition just a case of Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson?
Or is it just the first of the Ali-Frazier fights?

The aplication itself (as it is now used) is limited because it only caters to those seeking information regarding an HBCU.
But the model seems sound.
Expand it by featuring other groupings; Pac 10(12) schools, Ivy Schools, Catholic schools, whatever... .
The model itself could be used to capture a market beyond that of HBCU's.

@ Val - No one is saying that some HBCU's don't produce the best graduates.
I'm just waiting for the day that these schools (and other Black institutions) are the standard by which others are judged.
When this is the case, they will then get the same funding as established Ivy schools.

DPizz said...

ahahaha lol @ Buster Douglass analogy!

I don't know if the general perception of HBCUs will ever change, we have a Black President and people generally still have a dim view most Blacks (rightly or wrongly). But like I said, amongst people who really care about the quality of these institutions, such as recruiters, you will find many of the top US companies recruiting heavily at these schools. Don't know if it's in part to meet quotas or not, but the feedback I've heard was that it was because of the quality of the candidates.

I can say anecdotally in my own experience that almost all the people I've had occasion to work or interact with from HBCUs were of the highest caliber. There were a few that needed to significantly step up their game too.

I agree with your points about the application, although I did not read in detail about the application itself.

Anonymous said...

Every university, in some way, shape, or form, compares themselves to Harvard--including predominately white institutions.

brohammas said...

I'm with the others in that ANY school would be all in a tizzy to beat those kids in Cambridge.
I also have on good authority that certain schools can beat Alabama and still get no respect. Trust me on this one.

Spelman and Morehouse are great schools, but right across the quad is Morris Brown wich is a shamble and disgrace. Not all HBCUs are the same just like all traditionally white schools arent the same.

DF said...

I guess I see it similar to you. I get tired of these scenes playing out over and over. Like the Great Debaters was really a win for the race as a whole.

In the bigger picture it's a comparison between races but more subtle. Of course the HBCU will take that and run with it because ultimately they need to get enrollment up. Now that's no different from any other school showing they are Division 1 and usually plays in a Bowl game.

I only get disappointed because it obviously shows a inferiority complex. Like you said does Harvard jump in the air for beating a HBCU or do they already think they are superior. Once we mature a bit we'll stop comparing and just start producing.

Just like all these guys in the government seem to have come from Goldman Sachs. I didn't know who they were but if I was a stock broker I would try to work there primarily because I can see what they have produced.