U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Monday evening that HBCUs are “pioneers of school choice,” forgetting the painful history of racism that led to African Americans being barred from public universities and denied access to equal schooling, reports the Atlanta Black Star.
From Atlanta Black Star:
Social media erupted in a tizzy after DeVos issued a statement that some say shamelessly misrepresented the context under which historically Black colleges and universities were established.
In her statement, the newly appointed governess of education called HBCU’s “real pioneers of school choice,” omitting the fact that Black Americans were barred from attending white universities and thus forced to create their own. The statement also failed to consider the stringent Jim Crow laws that kept racial segregation alive and denied African-Americans access to equal education. “[HBCU’s] are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they’re afforded greater access and greater quality,” DeVos wrote. “Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”
…“HBCUs” took the top spot among trending topics on social media Monday evening following DeVos comments. Some lashed out at the education secretary for suggesting that HBCUs were established as a better alternative to predominately white universities, rather than acknowledging that the racist school system left African-Americans with no choice.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ms. DeVos seemingly backpedaled on her offensive statement Tuesday afternoon, reports the New York Times. However, the damage was already done.