More on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Betsy DeVos & Shamefully Collaborating with Genocide!
by Carl Dix
March 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
It was disgusting to witness leaders of most of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) crowding into the Oval Office of the White House last week to get into a picture with Donald Trump. Trump called, and these HBCU presidents came running in hopes of securing more funding for their schools. These HBCU officials were making it known that they could be bought to help Trump blunt accusations of being racist. Look at the backdrop against which this photo op was pulled together.
The Trump/Pence regime has issued executive orders that “take the gloves off the police” (police who have been caught on video murdering and brutalizing Black and Brown people again and again); back away the Department of Justice from following through on already completed federal investigations that documented widespread police abuse in Chicago and Baltimore (because they feel this kind of scrutiny makes it harder for police to do their jobs); and reverse a previous policy of phasing out use of private prisons (because they will be needed “to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system”). Donald Trump has said that he will send in the feds to “fix” the problem of crime and violence in Chicago if the city doesn’t take care of it.
This is part of an overall offensive the Trump/Pence regime has in store for Black people. And his promises of jobs for the inner cities will in reality come down to a few jobs doled out to buy enforcers for the regime’s program—Black police, jail guards, and immigration agents—or in exchange for supporting, or at least accommodating, the reign of terror the Trump/Pence regime will enforce on top of the centuries of hell Black people have caught in this country. Trump talks about public schools being “flush with cash,” signaling an intention to destroy public education and send students to schools that train them as Christian fundamentalist robots, unable to think critically or resist. This offensive will greatly accelerate the slow genocide Black people were already being hit with.
Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ statement that “HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice” was not only flat-out wrong. It was also a hint at what kind of educational opportunities the Trump/Pence regime has in store for Black people. As funding for public schools gets diverted to vouchers for charters and private schools, the already highly segregated schools will take a giant step back. And students will be increasingly faced with choosing between public schools that are even more underfunded than they are now or Christian fundamentalist mis-education.
And all of this is being done as part of steamrolling ahead in consolidating a fascist form of rule in the U.S. As the Call to “Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime” issued by RefuseFascism.org states: “Fascism has direction and momentum. Dissent is piece by piece criminalized. The truth is bludgeoned. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory that leads to real horrors. All of this has already begun under the Trump Regime.”
Look at the meeting of HBCU officials with Trump, DeVos, and other government officials against this backdrop. The hint that there would be a chance to put their concerns before the president and there might be additional funding for their schools was enough to get officials from most of the HBCUs to flock to the White House and crowd into the Oval Office for a photo op with Trump. The actual outcome of this session was seven of the HBCU leaders getting to speak for one minute each, and a symbolic shift of responsibility for an already existing HBCU initiative from the Department of Education to the White House, plus getting into the picture.
There has been opposition to the way these HBCU officials danced to the Trump/Pence tune. The day after the White House meeting, graffiti appeared on the campus of Howard University saying: “Welcome to Trump Plantation. Wayne A.I. Frederick [Howard U’s president] overseer.” Several HBCU presidents issued statements that they were dissatisfied with the results of the meeting because they didn’t really get to discuss their concerns or present requests for funding at it. One HBCU president even made sure students and faculty on his campus knew that he hadn’t attended the meeting.
But being dissatisfied about the payback for their disgusting performance still leaves those HBCU officials standing on the wrong side of things here. Even if some money had been cut loose out of this meeting, it’s fucked up for these HBCU officials to come running when Trump called. It signals that a lot of them are ready to carry water for the fascist regime, giving it cover as it launches vicious attacks on Black people. This amounted to practice for being part of a 21st-century version of the Judenrat, the Jewish councils the Nazis set up to facilitate the subjugation of and eventual attempt to exterminate the Jews in Europe. These councils administrated the ghettos that Jews were forced to live in and even picked which Jews were sent to the camps, until they themselves got put on the trains and shipped to those camps.
There is a leap involved in going from smiling at a photo op intended to undercut the widely held, and correct, view of the Trump/Pence regime as being stone-cold racist to enlisting as an enforcer of the fascist program. But skinning and grinning with Trump, DeVos, and other members of this regime is a step in exactly that direction.
We don’t need HBCU “leaders,” or anybody else for that matter, kissing up to Trump for a seat at the fascist table. We need people to be sounding the alarm over what kinds of horrors this regime will mean for Black people, and for all of humanity, and working to build a movement aimed at ousting this regime. This is a fascist regime, and no one who is concerned about the future of Black people, let alone all of humanity, should ever accommodate or collaborate with it.
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