Black, Democrat prof: Reagan did more to help black education than Obama
A black, Democratic professor blames President Obama for the disenfranchisement of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), and credits Ronald Reagan for taking a stand for the education of blacks.
Dr. Jahi Issa, a former history and African Studies professor at historically black Delaware State University (DSU), has written a series of articles discussing education at HBCU’s, which he began researching in 2006. The latest titled, “ The Ethnic Cleansing of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Age of Obama: How HBCUs are Turning White,” discusses President Obama’s funding cuts to HBCUs and how his policies have seemed to displace black professors with non-black replacements.
"[I]t was conservatives, the father of contemporary conservatism, President Ronald Reagan, who signed for the protection of HBCUs."
“When President Obama came into office it seemed as though the progressive, liberal Democrats [had] some type of concerted effort to accelerate the removal of African-Americans in these schools,” Issa told Campus Reform. “But it isn’t just the HBCUs. Now under President Obama we are starting to see the decline of African-Americans in traditionally white schools. It didn’t start with Obama but it did accelerate with Obama.”
In 2013, HBCUs threatened to sue the White House over newly instituted requirements for the Peer Leadership Uniting Students program, or PLUS—an initiative that supplied direct funds to minority undergraduate and graduate students and their families. The standards, determined by the U.S. Department of Education, disqualified many students and families and funds were pulled without warning, leaving many without financial assistance.
According to HBCUDigest, cuts in federal grant funding and the changes to the PLUS loan program, have cost HBCU’s $300 million in two years as of 2013; which it categorized as “one of the worst stretches in history for public HBCU support.”
Issa says the current lack of funding and support for HBCUs could ultimately remove blacks from their own culture and reverse what historical progress they have made.
“If it continues at its present course, the most democratic ethic group in America’s 300-year quest for freedom would be aborted,” wrote Issa in his article. “African-American education will be destroyed! African-Americans as we know them will cease to exist. History can repeat itself and African-Americans can be re-enslaved.”
The professor credits Ronald Reagan as being the first U.S. president to institute a White House advisory specifically for HBCUs.
“African-Americans need to know that it was the Republicans, it was conservatives, the father of contemporary conservatism, President Ronald Reagan, who signed for the protection of HBCUs,” Issa told Campus Reform. “He did that. It wasn’t the liberal Democrats and Republicans need to point this out throughout this upcoming 2016 midterm election. They have to make this known because a lot of people don’t know this.”
The initiative Issa refers to is Reagan's 1981 Executive Order 12320, which expanded upon a previous program instituted by Jimmy Carter and created a federal effort to strengthen HBCUs.
Issa told Campus Reform that people need to “stop being silent” and advised the black community to come together and discuss solutions to the problem.
“For some strange reason the progressive, liberal, African-American elite are going with this policy of eliminating African-Americans out of these HBCUs,” Issa told Campus Reform.
President Obama began cutting funds for HBCUs a few months into his presidency, and the professor claims that Obama has done little to combat the “corporatization of HBCUs.”
“The political agenda is to cleanse America’s most democratic ethnic group of the American process to upper mobility and that is un-American,” Issa told Campus Reform. “The first African-American president that I supported, that millions of other African-Americans and young people supported for progressive change. Why he would do this under his direction? It’s dumbfounding.”
Issa believes that every racial and ethnic group deserves a right to their own education system, and references Hispanic, Native American, Catholic and women’s colleges, saying an attack on HBCUs is also an attack on the Constitution and people’s constitutional rights.
Issa was reportedly arrested back in 2011 at a student protest. Delaware State dismissed Issa, whose case was declared a mistrial this past September.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaggieLitCRO