Monday, May 19, 2008

By request, my thoughts on the Morehouse Valedictorian story…

Okay, this bitch didn’t attend a historically black college or university but this story still jumped out at me.

As someone who has always been one of the few POC in every school environment through college…blink…I found the story of a white student's experience at Morehouse very interesting.

And let me be clear, I’m not bothered that the story of Morehouse graduating its first white Valedictorian made the news.

What bothers me is that I’m a news junkie and I can’t remember CNN ever covering the Valedictorian of a HBCU before.

Mayhap an exploration of that should be added to the Black in America segment line-up.



Unknown said...

I blinked. I didn't notice this story in this morning's CNNHD lineup, and I find it interesting that the reporter pushed the idea of an Anglo-American "understand[ing] what it means to be a minority"-- a slight suggestion that a few years at a HBCU is some automatic license to "blackness." Ignoring the slight, congratulations are due the young man, and I respect one of his reasons for choosing Morehouse-- a richer perspective and experience as a African-American Studies major. I wish that I surprised at some of the outcry about his success. One day, my people are going to shake their fears; a White valedictorian is no more a sign that Black men are getting lazy on Morehouse College's campus than a Black valedictorian at Harvard or Yale is a sign of trouble or impending doom.

We have to duck the drama. CNN? They could use a good chin-check...

Anonymous said...

Hang on - you lost me. How does "understand[ing] what it means to be a minority" tie into to suggesting a license to blackness?

(and what double-0 would that be again?)

I grew up in Detroit post-riots. I understand what it is like to me a minority. My childhood didn't give me a license to be black. What it did give me was an appreciation for people beyond their shades, and a willingness to ask questions instead of tiptoe around the PC "hush that's not polite" du jour.

Speaking of asking questions, I cannot write the CNN clip for a black valedictorian at Harvard or Yale without coming off ultimately as a "behold! A walking dog!" idiot. Tossing it to the vast ABB readership, how exactly would your newsclip read? "Harvard graduates 1st AA valedictorian" I'm okay with, but past the headline it gets dicey and starts smacking of patronization.

"Harvard University's 2008 valedictorian, John Huxtable, graduated first in his class this week. Son of successful New York physicians Cliff and Clair Huxtable, he is the first person of any color than pasty beige to lead the Crimson in GPA since the school's founding in 1066. A two-letter, 4-year varsity coxswain and guard on the basketball team, Huxtable credits a strong work ethic, clean living, and private schools to his success..."

I saw a nightly newscast clip about the Morehouse story, and I don't think there is any increased laziness in evidence. The young men interviewed in the story impressed me (they were all very well-spoken, one might say...) and as a hiring manager I would be thrilled to interview them. Their pride in their school and themselves was evident - when one of them talked about being "Morehouse Men" it clearly meant something. When so many college students equate pride of college with post-game rioting when the football team wins, it was refreshing.

Bobby_2010 said...

I go to Morehouse, and I'm from the same hometown as the Valedictorian, and I for one am proud of him...but then again WHY are people saying he majored in African American Studies(I am one)?? I'm the president of the AAS majors club...and I know every one of the majors...he's not one. He was an Economics major. But I do understand why he chose Morehouse College, it is a great school no matter what your race/ethnicity.

Shark-Fu said...

Hey Bobby 2010!

Thanks for the clarification.

And best of luck with the Afro Am. major...fantabulous!

Anonymous said...

Well I guess it scared the Caucasian Corporate Media that a bunch of white men were going to start actively courting Black people because we're supposed to be inferior. Also there were 2 valedictorians this year, so the guy is a co-valedictorian. But the story would not be as interesting I suppose - to them.

Unknown said...

Riley, my "understand[ing]" comment was directed toward the reporter's opening paragraph. You may realize that living in a Black community doesn't entitle you to claim a complete understanding of the Black experience in America, but more than a few reporters tend to send an opposite message as they write this kind of story-- or leave out details that push skewed story angles.

I need to see who the other valedictorian is-- since the story didn't mention him.

Unknown said...



Hello there!

Did you catch the quote by the white grad when he said that going to Morehouse was like doing a study abroad program!!

Oh please.

Thanks for letting me blow my trumpet!

William Edward Merritt, III

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