Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Responsibility of HBCU's to Justice

To what extent do HBCU's have a responsibility to be just in their investments, transactions and interactions? In a recent report released by the Oakland Institute, Spelman (a Black women's college in Atlanta, GA) was listed as one of several U.S. universities whose investments are being used to displace African people from their land...the little land still remaining in their hands.  See this brief report summary:

In what other ways are HBCU's invested in the destruction and exploitation of African people, land and resources? In what ways does Howard University, Lincoln, Texas Southern, and the many other historically black colleges and universities contribute to and/or benefit from the harming of innocent women, men and children? 

Reality check:  Those who strive to be good capitalists cannot avoid participating in harming others.  The people who serve as trustees of colleges and universities represent the upper-middle and ruling classes.  Their economic interests shape their values.  And their values inform their actions.  When the aim is extracting profit from an interaction, the actions taken to fulfill the aim necessarily cause harm to others.  (Profit = getting more out of an action/interaction/relationship than what one puts into it.)  So trustees, with no regard to human life, blindly (or knowingly) sanction investments where it can get the greatest return.  And greatest returns come at the greatest costs.

So in this case Spelman, an HBCU, has chosen to sit at the table of destruction with those who seek to further carve up and digest Africa's resources.  What land grabs mean in this moment in history - unlike the colonial era when human labor was needed - is death of the most brutal kind.  It comes under the guise of aid and with the blessing of African leadership.  Under these conditions, black life is completely expendable.  And this is utterly unacceptable.

The fire that erupted in the hearts of the men who slayed the commercial farmer in Tanzania (, is bound to spread as people's livelihood continues to erode.  The correct response of African people worldwide would be to stand in solidarity with Africa's poor and working people to take charge of their lives, communities, and nations; to support their plight to meet basic needs; and to continue a course of development that reflects the best lessons of history, while forging a future of our own creation.  The incorrect course of action is continuing to destroy Africa's people, land and material resources. It is this course of action that must be stopped.

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