The Desk

August 12, 2010

Effects on Perception of Quality

There’s a thought that’s been plaguing me for several weeks now. Unfortunately, there’s not been a lot of time to research it in light of the other things that require completion before moving on to a new challenge. However, it is an issue that really does require unbiased study and then action.

The matter is whether those who graduate from historically black universities and colleges are perceived as having a better than average (general population, not ethnic population) education and therefore bring to the bargaining table above average skills and knowledge.

From my understanding of Post-Civil War America, freedmen (and women) had few educational resources available to them. Education was the key to actualizing the benefits of being free and leading a powerfully productive life. There is an argument that the first teachers were (and still are) marginally qualified compared to their White counterparts. But our nation has as one of its cornerstones the promise of free basic education for all. Those who founded the Black universities were essentially educated people who had struggled to excel in the environs of universities where their acceptance was tantamount to Shannon Faulkner’s at the Citadel. But many graduated with distinction.

Here we are in the 21st Century, more than 150 years later. The color of one’s skin still dictates one’s the first impact acceptance of one’s abilities and professionalism. Sometimes, actually many times, even with meaningful conversation and above average diction and vocabulary, the overall condescending treatment still cancels opportunities and relegates the potential human capital (and business solution) to the recesses of the arena and then exclusion.

Again, there’s been scant time to actually research some of the information that would form the answer to this question. It’s worth discussing from many perspectives: the recruiter, the job candidate and job seeker, management at all levels, educators and students, and ultimately our global neighbors. How is a person who has been educated (or seeks education) at an historically Black university or college perceived? Are they seen as the person of color who presents with some of the best qualities available? Are they still viewed as marginal? Does where they were educated even matter?

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