Yvette Carnell: Howard Univ. Student Asks For Gov’t Help and the Entire World Gets Amnesia

by Yvette Carnell

The right wing is having a field day with the Howard University student who said to Sen. Rand Paul,  “I want a government that is howard student rand paulgoing to help me fund my college education. “Already the quote is up at  right wing rag Drudge, and pretty soon, some black folk will undoubtedly begin to cower and ask, “why he gotta go say that on TV and make white folk think we want a hand out! We ain’t all welfare queens!”

You should feel sorry for both the Pavlovian bell ringers and hand wringers, since neither group  is espousing a view based on any historical premise.

The truth is that the Howard student, Keenan Glover, didn’t go nearly far enough with his comment. In that sense, Glover wasn’t nearly as harsh as he should’ve been in his demand for government assistance.

Here’s what Glover should’ve said: “I want a government to help me in the same way that the Homestead Act helped white people, and propelled them into the middle class.” 

And if you don’t want to use that particular piece of legislation as your example, then just pick something else. History’s full of these sorts of examples. That’s because for the majority of this country’s history, affirmative action has been……….. white, not black or brown. The disparity between white and black Americans, which still exists in this country, widened after the Second World War, largely due to government policy which granted specific privileges to white citizens.

New Deal legislation, which pulled whites out of poverty, was written to handicap blacks by Southern Democrats who ensured that one of three things happened:  1)  African-Americans were left out of  the legislation altogether 2) the administration of the policies was placed in the hands of local Southern racists 3) there was no anti-discriminatory language added to the bill. So European immigrants flourished while African-Americans, especially those in the South, were relegated to poverty.

Given that context, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Howard student, or any other black person for that matter, insisting that government provide help to blacks, especially considering how much of helping hand Uncle Sam has given to whites.

But don’t take my word for it. Dr. King made the case for government help much better than I could ever have hoped to. Watch MLK’s video here.

Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill and campaign staffer turned writer. She is currently an editor and contributor to Yourblackworld. You can reach Yvette via Twitter @YvetteDC or on Facebook.


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  1. What happen to pell grants and student loans that everyone pretty much qualifies for? Being black myself with 19K in student loans I can't see why he can't help himself.

  2. I think what got so messed up about the student's statement, was that people thought he was looking for the kind of government assistance that suggests dependency on government. That's not how I take it though, and it seems a lot of people agree. A government of the people, by the people, for the people, should work for the Well-being of the nation as a whole, right? So if the people want the government to be small but able to advocate for Freedom, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then government should be more than willing to insure that very rhetoric…right?

  3. This country has been inhabited by the white man for 300 hundred years but this country is much older than that so before you call someone else stupid wake up yourself.The white man stole it from the poor Indians who were here when they got here.

  4. Anyone who posts on this article without considering WHO has the largest amount of educational debt is being insincere and actually socially violent. Oh also very stupid. As a nation, we have several MILLION students of every single color you can imagine who are in mortgage-level debt just for attempting to gain a higher education. This kid was black, yet he asked a question that every single student would ask and our collective answer will illustrate our interest in our future as a country. Stupid countries dont last very long.. we are less than 300 years old and a LONNNGGG way from several thousand.

  5. I attended and graduated from a HBCU and went on to receive my MBA from Berkeley “UCB”.

    I never paid a cent! I always had cash in my pocket.

    You don’t have to beg and plead to the government to pay your way through school. It’s not the responsibility of the government to put you through school in the 1st place. Hundreds of millions of dollars are available to you if you take the time to locate them, and make a request, scholarships are plentiful and easy to obtain.

    If the Democratic party was and are still so opposed to the new deal and the betterment of blacks, why do we continue to give them our vote? You do realize the Republicans passed both the civil rights bill and the voting rights bill don’t you?

    We should be playing both parties to get what we want, instead the Dems have played us by taking our vote for granted and making us dislike the other party! They win without even trying.

  6. Delwyn Xavier Campbell

    You made a good point Yvette. His question would have had much more punch if he would have phrased it the way you did. In the end, He gave the right a hanging curve ball, and they will swing for the fences on it.

  7. Information is power. No matter what side of the argument your are on, if you are not armed with facts (Truth) to make your point or counter propaganda, you are going to look foolish, like a liar or your truth will be easily distorted. Study, study, study, read, read, read.