Bethune-Cookman University Officials Ought To Be Ashamed Of Themselves » VSB

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Bethune-Cookman University Officials Ought To Be Ashamed Of Themselves

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Bethune-Cookman University, a historically Black university in Daytona Beach, Florida, has invited – and she has accepted – ironically titled Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to be the commencement speaker next week. I’ve read several articles about this because I’ve honestly been trying to understand and what I’ve come up with is that there is no understanding to be had. Why an HBCU would chose to pick a member of Trump’s administration so aggressively hostile towards minority communities and, frankly, actual education, is beyond me.

I don’t know if common sense is on vacation, and recent ads for damn near everything insinuate that to the be the case, but an actual Black institution of higher learning taking such a transparent stance towards ass kissing is embarrassing. That is the only plausible reason why anybody from this administration would be asked, especially Betsy DeVos, a woman who released an ENTIRE press release that explicitly outlined her lack of knowledge about why HBCUs even exist.

Let her come to the school to sit down and be educated. Giving her the country to come and speak to a legion of new graduates is tone deaf in a way that would be impressive if it wasn’t so sad.

But not quite as sad as this shit:

In a news release Monday, the university said: “Much like Dr. Bethune, Founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional education experience. Her mission to empower parents and students resonates with the history and legacy of Dr. Bethune.”

Boy stop. Mary McLeod Bethune probably sat up in her grave at the comparison. Also, shit, you could say that about ANYBODY who believes good schooling is a win. There are people who HATE school who are like, “I mean, if you’re gonna have school, it is important for opportunity and hope and shit.” Jaden Smith would agree with that and I think he’s viewed school as some sort of telepathic bridge to nowhere since he was like four. In that case, Mary McLeod Bethune and Jaden Smith…same shit.

I will extend some grace, Lord knows we all need it, and assume that BC did this for some reason that belies logic BUT was done with pure altruism at heart. Maybe Betsy said that she’d promise them a new, I don’t know, research center if they’d let her come speak because nobody else wants to hear shit she has to say. I have no clue. And statements like this, “The release also noted the importance of funding from the Education Department, and praised DeVos for her charitable contributions” somewhat alludes to SOMETHING along those lines.

While there are way worse individuals to have come speak to your institution –  Richard Spencer, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Ben Casron, etc. all immediately come to mind…you know what, Ben Carson shouldn’t be an option but if you HAVE to pick somebody from the administration at least he DID positively impact the world at some point and is Black even if his relationship with what slavery actually was is tenuous. He pretty much lit his entire pre-political career on fire, but I’m saying, if we ARE extending invites and shit.

Either way, Bethune-Cookman University should be ashamed. Yes, this will be a non-thing in a few weeks. Nobody is coming from far and wide to hear her speak. And it also seems like her speaking is going to happen no matter what petitions or protests exist. Plus, are you going to skip out on your graduation because of the speaker? I think not. Perhaps a flash mob style insertion of ear plugs when she started speaking could be an effective tool of silent protest. Yo no se.

Then again, my alma mater has Van Jones speaking and I guess he can’t stop stepping in shit either though I’d imagine the weight of sensibility is weighing pretty heavily in Morehouse’s favor in comparison. Of course, Spelman College has Valerie Jarrett and Howard University has Kamala Harris. Everybody can’t win out here, I suppose.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at

  • Alessandro De Medici

    What’s in it for the school?

    Outside of …

    ***I died when I realized this is where the college activists got it from.

  • They should just let her talk… for about 30 seconds, then blast some Trick Daddy over the speakers until she leaves.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      *Trina because Trick Daddy still getting sideeye for the black women catch-up comments. Shout out to slip n slide tho.

    • You know my vote is for “Can’t Fuxk With The South” or “JODD” or “Naan.”

      Actually, a southern mix.

      • You could just go with Akinyele.

        • Zil Nabu

          A little Put In Ya Mouth would be good for her.

    • Alessandro De Medici

      I mean if we have a license to be disrespectful:

  • Objection

    Why an HBCU would chose to pick a member of Trump’s administration so aggressively hostile towards minority communities and, frankly, actual education, is beyond me.

    It’s rumored that Marcus Garvey once met with the head dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Sometimes it may be a good idea to listen to your enemies talk. Sun-tzu once said, “Know your enemy and know yourself and you will always be victorious.”

    • panamajackson

      So invite her to the table. Sit down and talk to her and find out if there’s an actual bridge. Extending an invite to speak at a school’s graduation is something altogether different, especially by a woman who literally called HBCUs pioneers of school choice. She has no idea why they even exist.

      • I almost forgot the “pioneers” thing. Yikes, she is clueless.

      • Janelle Doe

        What of use could she possibly say?
        *waiting for the late night shows and their draggings

      • Objection

        She has no idea why they even exist.

        This is why I called her “your enemy.” Yes, college is the perfect place to fully understand your enemy. Listening to your enemy right before you go out into racist corporate America might not be a bad idea.

      • Alessandro De Medici

        True, commencements are almost always about honoring the achievements of students and speakers. What has she done, to deserve honoring from an HBCU? It would be different if some RSO invited her to just give a random speech (I’d defend that). But this invite is the school itself doing it.

  • JulianWithTheRedCorvette

    That check the BCU board of governors got must be nice.

  • Mary Burrell

    Betsy De Vos this is epic proportions of messed up. What kind of fu**ery is this?

  • I saw that! I couldn’t rock with that choice, but honestly I don’t know much about the lady and would be interesting in what may come out her mouth this time.

  • Giantstepp

    The commencement speaker’s gig is a big deal and a highlight (for the most parts). Considering the climate surrounding her and the administration-I don’t get her invite either.

  • Diego Duarte

    This is why liberals and progressives have the hardest time winning ANYTHING. You already have the Right pushing as far as it will go, even to the point they’ve now normalized talks of White Supremacy and ethnic cleansing. They’ve done their best to normalize this narrative.

    What’s the Left doing? Helping them normalize it even further by extending this sort of bridges. Nobody wants to be labelled “divisive” or “hostile” towards this administration.

    I say, when are the leaders and respected figureheads of the Left going to grow some balls (or ovaries) and start challenging this sort of BS?

    Nobody has an obligation to be “nice” or “play nice” with the enemy. Just saying.

    • Hugh Akston

      Don’t tell them that though

      Because you know they good peoplez so we gotta be noice to dem

    • Sadly, most of the leadership in Black colleges is old school conservatives that vote liberal but preach every conservative view.

      • Hugh Akston

        Sad truth

        The older class that is

        Let us all remember

        • Alessandro De Medici

          49:47 ratio of black people who identify as Liberal and Conservative.

          Voting doesn’t tell you much about ideology.

          • Diego Duarte

            This doesn’t surprise me. It’s a thing in colonialized countries as well. It’s often the discriminated groups that tend to be overwhelmingly conservative, because forced evangelization WAS a part of colonization.

            • Alessandro De Medici

              The term “conservatism” has had different meanings over time, it used to mean those in favor of monarchical systems of government as opposed to Democratic/Republican, but the desire for conservatism, stems from resistance against change and it is not something unique to Europeans, it would’ve probably existed in different forms, but it would’ve still existed. Also conservatism is a major issue in many middle eastern nations, and it usually takes the form of fundamentalism, as opposed to more progressive or liberal policies, which are viewed as being western.

              Furthermore, evangelicalism, outside of the West seems to have grown at a faster rate, outside the West at a faster rate than it ever did during periods of colonization. Christianity is the fastest growing religion in South Korea for instance, but there’s little to no evidence that is has much to do with European colonization or a desire for it. The desire for foreign religions always amazes me, especially in America and the attraction of Buddhism to liberals and progressives…but it seems it’s not unique to only white hipsters.

              I think it’s a mistake to assume that it’s mere discrimination that leads to conservatism, for most of human history it has been the norm. The idea of embracing constant change, progress and overthrowing outdated ideas isn’t the norm in human history.

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          • cyanic

            Black people vote overwhelmingly democrat because the opposition party is overtly hostile towards them.

            • Zil Nabu

              Which basically allows both parties to ignore us. It’s almost like they planned it together and we’re held hostage. I think we need to ignore hurt feelings from the hostility and fully participate in the two party system if we ever want the government to truly be responsive to our needs.

              • cyanic

                No financial incentive to uplift black communities in any significant way for the established white supremacist power structure we deal with stateside.

                • Zil Nabu

                  Even though they try to minimize our voting rights, let’s be clear that our turnout put Obama in office and gave him Democrat congress for his first two years. Our votes also kept him in office. We can MAKE elections for a party when we show up. Let’s say that Kasich or Paul had gotten the Republican nomination and they were able to pull Obama level turnouts and get 15-20% of the Black vote all of a sudden you have a block that people are fighting over like they’re trying to fight over the white working class right now. It is easy to take a group for granted when you know that either they’ll vote for you or just not show up. It neutralizes our political power.

                  • cyanic

                    They stay invested in not wanting us to vote.

              • *bloop*

              • Spicy Kas

                Racism aside i’m more liberal than conservative. Not religious, pro gun control, pro choice, pro social safety net. Neither party practices small government.

              • “M”
        • I_AmU

          After this photo-op my daughter snap chatted a pic of what some students had written at the entrance of Howard: “Welcome to Trump Plantation Head Overseer Wayne A.I. Frederick(HU’s current pres). And at the Invocation ceremony a group of students protested being sold out. Former Morehouse president John Silvanus Wilson Jr. stated “We got played”. He went in on his memo to The Morehouse College Community:

        • Cortlandt Franklin

          I was thinking of this picture while reading this article!

        • Linda Pritchard

          This photo makes my teeth itch.

      • Diego Duarte

        What are these people hoping to accomplish? Miss America’s naïve vision of “world peace”? Or perhaps they think they’ll miss out on those gas chambers by being the equivalent to the Warsaw Ghetto’s “Jewish Police Force”?

        • Some people will swallow a lot of kool-aid to be “the good negro”. I’m not sure that this is what happened here but it seems like the most plausible explanation. Perhaps the deal with the devil has been signed and this is the first of things to come.

          • Diego Duarte

            Hopefully it’s just a blunder on their part. More than likely the individuals at the top sold out for more funding.

          • Alessandro De Medici

            Some people are just politically ignorant.

            • Ignorance is giving them too much credit. Some people just want to ride with the devil.

              • Alessandro De Medici

                I wouldn’t mind accepting that, just need to see a receipt.

              • Janelle Doe

                Tell them Cog.

          • “M”
            • You can’t ban protesters. They are there because people don’t want them there.

        • Also, a lot of it is internal politics. As radical as they talk, they are well plugged into the Black Establishment, they’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. A lot of HBCU/Black Church/Black Nonprofit politics operates from this premise. We just have different ways of attacking the same enemy.

      • NikkiFree Wiggins

        So true. Sad but oh so truthful!

      • !!!!!


      One fact of history is that Malcolm X and even Dr. King never played nice with the enemy. They protested, organized, and even used self-defense to fight bigotry.

      • Diego Duarte

        People even forget Dr. King’s straight up communist quotes, and try to peddle respectability politics despite the fact that he was murdered over it.


          When I was in high school, no one taught me the revolutionary side of Dr. King. When I got older, I learned of this information. Dr. King praised democratic socialism. His allies were socialists from A. Philip Randolph to Norman Thomas (who was a socialist that Dr. King praised). Dr. King didn’t believe in Stalinist Communism because Dr. King said that it included ethical relativism and a crippling totalitarianism. Respectability politics ultimately doesn’t work since a perfectly uplift human being can still be oppressed and murdered regardless. So, more people have to understand that Dr. King and Malcolm X including Ella Baker were militant human beings who desired change.

          • Diego Duarte

            Of course you wouldn’t be taught that. It’s not until college that most people gain access to this information. They want to keep you as ignorant and complacent as possible.


              I agree with you.

          • I_AmU

            I cannot stand the white-washed version presented of Rev. Dr. MLK presented today. He was still non-violent but owned/carried a gun. Additionally he stated he could not answer young Resilients question as to why they should fight for a country who denied them basic human rights. His inability to justify american hypocrisy was the genesis of The Poor People’s Project. His ideology shifted. He signed his death warrant by denouncing the Vietnam War, championing worker’s rights and attempting to accelerate the rate at which tangible change was made.


              You’re completely right. The Dr. King of the 1960’s was a whole lot different than the Dr. King of the 1950’s. Whereas back during the 1950’s, Dr. King wrote a lot of information questioning the capitalist order, by the late 1960’s, he overtly questioned capitalism in public. One example is his August 1967 speech called the “The Three Evils of Society” speech which was delivered in Chicago. It’s found in Youtube and it shows him opposing the Vietnam War, opposing poverty, defending workers’ rights, and desiring a change in society. Dr. King also wrote that people have the right to defend their homes and he would forsake pacifism to fight the Nazis if he was an adult back then. He exposed the bourgeois American hypocritical mentality of claiming to promote democracy, but denying democratic freedoms from African Americans. The Poor People’s Campaign was his final campaign to try to end poverty.

              • I_AmU

                Educating oneself is the most powerful weapon. It must be continuous. Whether within traditional academia, reading, other people’s opinions, listening to the accounts of people who were actually present or by any means necessary.



                  • I_AmU

                    Right back at ya!

                    • Mary Burrell

                      I learn so much from you.

                    • I_AmU

                      Literally that is the kindest compliment anyone can give to me. You have made my day. Thank you very much. Peace & Blessings

    • BlackMamba, Achexual

      Thank you. Fascists and racists don’t give a f*ck about your rights or speech, why should you care about their’s?

      • Diego Duarte

        They’re straight up throwing pregnant Latinas into the equivalent of concentration camps in Arizona (Arpaio), and straight up lynching Black children in Mississippi (boy who was found rolled up in a matt some months ago), and these people are worried about the fascists right to free speech.

        Are you serious???

    • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

      It’s always on the left to be the peace makers.

  • siante
  • Mary Burrell

    Next thing you know Rachel Dolezeal or Omarosa will be speaking at these HBCU commencements.

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