The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Editorials

April 26, 2014

Our View: MSU black male program worthwhile

Thumbs up to Minnesota State University and its office of Institutional Diversity’s effort to improve its retention rate for black males at MSU and promote diversity through a number of educational initiatives.

The university brought in a nationally known speaker this week to talk about how we can change the narrative of the black male in society. The university hosted Tyrone Bledsoe, CEO of Brother to Brother, a nationwide organization that aims to instill a “spirit of care” among black and Latino males and also support their educational efforts.

He told a group of MSU students that it’s important to change the narrative of the black male in society that so far describes them as endangered, damaged and in need of saving. He calls this the “deficit narrative” and notes deficit narratives don’t empower anyone.

His visit was promoted in part by an MSU group formed a few years ago called the Black Intelligent Gentlemen club, which also aims to help retain black males and support their educational efforts at MSU. That group encourages scholarship and professionalism, works to break down stereotypes and encourages self improvement.

A number of groups taking up the cause are prompted by reports that show black males not only face negative stereotypes in society but also have higher numbers of prison inmates than college graduates.

Institutional Diversity at MSU aims to make the effort to retain black males more focused and strategic. The office will offer ethnic specific meetings as well as all-inclusive meetings.

It’s a pilot program that is worthwhile. We all have an interest in all races and ethnicities having opportunities to succeed in American. Education is one way to promote that.

Hate for political points despicable

Thumbs down to those who hook their wagon to crackpots in hopes of gaining political points.

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Editorials