black people and money

Dr Boyce Watkins: Here’s why black college students end up being screwed at predominantly white universities

Dr Boyce Watkins: Here’s why black college students end up being screwed at predominantly white universities

by Dr Boyce Watkins

While millions of students are being ruined by student loans and unprepared to compete in a changing global economy, black people are getting the worst of it. Many of us take on this massive debt in hopes for a better life, only to find that it puts us deeper in an ugly financial hole, and leaves us unprepared to compete.
As a business school professor for the last 23 years, I’ve observed what predominantly white universities teach and how they teach it.  I’ve always been astonished by the cost.  It just doesn’t make sense to me that anyone should pay $50,000 a year for information that would cost a few hundred dollars on the Internet.  
I’ve also found that the way black people are taught business has to be different from what’s being taught at most predominantly white universities for a few basic reasons:
1) Black people deserve to have black professors who understand them. I was a student in post-secondary education from age 18 to age 31 and never once did I have a single African American professor. This is inexcusable. My white friends got to have dozens of professors who looked looked like them.  I often found myself fighting a lonely fight as the only black man in class, trying to deal with people who didn’t understand me and sometimes didn’t like me.   This is entirely unfair and racist. 
2) Black people must learn how to build businesses, not just work for big corporations. Most of these companies are run by whites, and the data shows that discrimination is rampant, yet unaddressed. Over many decades of racial exclusion, this issue has hardly improved at all. As a result, black people lead the nation in both unemployment and underemployment, especially African American men.
3) Black people must learn business with our community’s challenges in mind. For example, many experts say that it takes 3 – 5 years for a business to become profitable. Most black people I know don’t even have 3 – 5 months before they are going to be evicted. Therefore, business models must be accelerated and modified to allow maximal use of non-financial resources (i.e. barter, family coops, etc.) to increase the likelihood of success.

4) Most business school professors have never run a business.  I’m sorry, but textbook theory isn’t always the answer for someone who is facing real world problems.  Most faculty at major white universities are promoted for research, not experience, and this is to the detriment of those students who may have to eventually start their own organizations in order to survive.
If we keep solving the same problems with the same old solutions, we’re going to keep getting the same old results. However, by allowing black people to teach other black people how to build, invest, understand business models and support one another, we can become one of the strongest communities on the planet.  It’s up to us to decide if we’re going to make necessary adjustments. 

Dr Boyce Watkins is the founder of The Black Business School and creator of the new film, “The Secrets of Black Financial Intelligence.”  To find out more, please visit

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