No, I do not believe that college is a magic bullet for black people. Is education the answer? Yes, it always is. But education does not equal school and fewer things are more self-stultifying than the belief that it does.
I recently had a conversation with an Uber driver, an older black man, who went on and on for the first 10 minutes of our ride complaining about the behavior of young black men. It was the usual “they need to pull up their pants and stop talking ghetto” type stuff that makes my eyes glaze over.
So I asked him what he thought the solution was and he said “college.” “If our people are ever going to get it together,’ he said, “it starts with education.” So I said “Truer words have never been spoken, but what does education have to do with the notion that college is the solution for our people?” A conversation ensued where I challenged one of the most common talking points that gets lazily presented as gospel truth in discussions about what’s best for black people: “school = education.”
I not only regard this as a logically flawed idea, but I regard it as a dangerous idea that stifles the entrepreneurial spirit that I observe in nearly every young black person I meet. Black people are among the most creative people on the planet and I do not believe that traditional schooling is the best place to harness that creativity. I don’t believe that college is the answer any more than I believe that compulsory schooling is the answer.
To hear some of my initial thoughts on this topic, listen to this below clip from the latest episode of Office Hours with Isaac M. Morehouse and myself.