The Miseducation of Black People

Posted by


Those who gravitated to science and technology built great wealth in most recent history. The best examples are the creators of Facebook, Microsoft, EBay, Dell, Google, Yahoo, Apple, AOL, etc.  Liberal art track or the humanities, which majority of Historically Black Colleges and Universities offer, have not proven fruitful in this very competitive job market. Unfortunately, HBCUs continue to perpetuate the same education platform that they inherited from the Jim Crow area that delegated blacks to liberal arts education with the believe that they were not capable of other academic endeavors.

According to Forbes Magazine, among the 15 most valuable college majors, 14 were in sciences, technology and mathematics. According to BBC, 26 April 2012 report, “In the next 10 years, there will be 1.2 billion young people looking for work and only 300 million jobs to go around.” Black people are the last one to be hired and the first to be fired. Therefore, the frightening reality is that things are going to get worse for black people!

The recipe for wealth is simple either you are born into it or you make it yourself. For example, early white settlers in Texas unlike black settlers were allowed to claim 5,000 acres of land anywhere in Texas. Consequently, Black people were not able to build generational wealth and were not able to pass wealth from one generation to another.

Entrepreneurs and innovators such as Michael Dell, and Bill Gates were a product of new age technology, which is lacking in HBCUs. Black people were left out from both aspects of the wealth building processes because of racism and an education system that does not prove to be an innovation incubator.

Many of the HBCUs are maintaining a curriculum implemented by their white patrons, which is primarily designed for teaching liberal art education, whether such education is relevant or transformational or not.

When India gained its independence, it was the first order of Mahatma Gandhi to establish technical and engineering schools. This strategy is propelling India to become an economic juggernaut. China graduates more engineering students than the U.S. and continues to emphasize the use and access to technology to propel the growth of its economy. Many Asian countries including India, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and others know that the only way to catch up with the west is by leveraging technology.

The very reason blacks have not made significant gains in Africa or in the U.S. is primarily for the reason that they don’t leverage or emphasize  the use of technology like Caucasians, Chinese, and Indians, Israeli’s or other advanced nations.

The governments in Africa and the rest of black people get their cue from others what is good for them and about their institutions. Current institutions and colleges are molded from the days past. Blacks willingly or grudgingly accepted the religion and the value system of the West and East, as well as the perception about their identity, status in society, educational system. Because of this distorted reality, Black institutions in Africa and in America produce fewer engineers per capita than any group. There are less and less engineering and IT blacks students in most graduate schools than ever before.

The situation in Africa is no different. The African continent also lags in leveraging technology. Some dictatorial regimes like former colonial masters limit access to technology to their citizens in order to limit their ability for mass communication. Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world is one such example. Due to conscious efforts on the parts of its leaders to deny the estimated 85 million citizens’ access to the Internet, only about 700,000 of its citizens have access to slow Internet connectivity. While many leaders in the rest of world are trying to advance the living conditions of their citizens by harnessing the power of technology, backward and vision-less leaders in Ethiopia and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa keep their citizens in the dark and under the yolk of abject poverty.

Black people will never be able to catch up or improve their standard of living or standing in society unless they leverage technology and entrepreneurship. Parents of the new generation need to emphasize and become fanatic about the advantages of using technologies and start believing in it as their child’s life and future depends on it.

Entrepreneurship and technology has to be a tool to liberate black people from their second-class status economically and psychologically. Blacks have to be identified with something relevant, as people of technology instead of other negatives stereotypes coined for them by others and sold to the rest of the world.

This biased categorization is not their own choice; it is an amalgamation of factors such as legacy of slavery, legacy of Jim Crow education, lack of access to good education and jobs, and the continued discrimination, and miseducation.

The negative stereotypes will not go away without revolutionary actions by leaders of black churches, political and academic institutions. All black churches should have a technology center teaching cutting edge technology, programming, engineering and science in their churches as a tool to liberate their people from mental bondage of the past and poverty. It is too serious to ignore it given the number of black people in jail, unemployed, which is directly related to historical factors and the continued miseducation.

Black people have no choice but to adopt technology and entrepreneurship as their only way to economic salvation on earth. Black leaders and black academic institutions should rise to the challenge and adopt science, information technology, and engineering to uplift and save the next generation from the predicament of the past. Most of encourage parents to inculcate in the minds of their children the advantage of science over sport and other fields of study.

Dula Abdu has been active supporter of bridging the digital and economic divide in U.S. and in Africa.  He is a former JPMorgan Chase Banker and Adjunct Professor of economics. He can be reached at


Post Title: The Miseducation of Black People
Author: dula
Posted: 27th June 2013
Filed As: Events
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

This blog is gravatar enabled. Get yours registered at