Bethune-Cookman University Officials Ought To Be Ashamed Of Themselves

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Bethune-Cookman University, a historically Black university in Daytona Beach, Florida, has invited - and she has accepted - ironically titled Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to be the commencement speaker next week. I've read several articles about this because I've honestly been trying to understand and what I've come up with is that there is no understanding to be had. Why an HBCU would chose to pick a member of Trump's administration so aggressively hostile towards minority communities and, frankly, actual education, is beyond me.


I don't know if common sense is on vacation, and recent ads for damn near everything insinuate that to the be the case, but an actual Black institution of higher learning taking such a transparent stance towards ass kissing is embarrassing. That is the only plausible reason why anybody from this administration would be asked, especially Betsy DeVos, a woman who released an ENTIRE press release that explicitly outlined her lack of knowledge about why HBCUs even exist.

Let her come to the school to sit down and be educated. Giving her the country to come and speak to a legion of new graduates is tone deaf in a way that would be impressive if it wasn't so sad.

But not quite as sad as this shit:

In a news release Monday, the university said: “Much like Dr. Bethune, Founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional education experience. Her mission to empower parents and students resonates with the history and legacy of Dr. Bethune.”

Boy stop. Mary McLeod Bethune probably sat up in her grave at the comparison. Also, shit, you could say that about ANYBODY who believes good schooling is a win. There are people who HATE school who are like, "I mean, if you're gonna have school, it is important for opportunity and hope and shit." Jaden Smith would agree with that and I think he's viewed school as some sort of telepathic bridge to nowhere since he was like four. In that case, Mary McLeod Bethune and Jaden Smith…same shit.

I will extend some grace, Lord knows we all need it, and assume that BC did this for some reason that belies logic BUT was done with pure altruism at heart. Maybe Betsy said that she'd promise them a new, I don't know, research center if they'd let her come speak because nobody else wants to hear shit she has to say. I have no clue. And statements like this, "The release also noted the importance of funding from the Education Department, and praised DeVos for her charitable contributions" somewhat alludes to SOMETHING along those lines.


While there are way worse individuals to have come speak to your institution -  Richard Spencer, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Ben Casron, etc. all immediately come to mind…you know what, Ben Carson shouldn't be an option but if you HAVE to pick somebody from the administration at least he DID positively impact the world at some point and is Black even if his relationship with what slavery actually was is tenuous. He pretty much lit his entire pre-political career on fire, but I'm saying, if we ARE extending invites and shit.

Either way, Bethune-Cookman University should be ashamed. Yes, this will be a non-thing in a few weeks. Nobody is coming from far and wide to hear her speak. And it also seems like her speaking is going to happen no matter what petitions or protests exist. Plus, are you going to skip out on your graduation because of the speaker? I think not. Perhaps a flash mob style insertion of ear plugs when she started speaking could be an effective tool of silent protest. Yo no se.


Then again, my alma mater has Van Jones speaking and I guess he can't stop stepping in shit either though I'd imagine the weight of sensibility is weighing pretty heavily in Morehouse's favor in comparison. Of course, Spelman College has Valerie Jarrett and Howard University has Kamala Harris. Everybody can't win out here, I suppose.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


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