Philip N. Henry: African-American Studies important

February 12, 2013 

Afam studies important

It is strange that in the midst of traditional African-American History Month, African-American scholars are faced with another scandal that soils the image of a discipline that has struggled since the 1960s to break from its shackles.

As indicated on the Feb. 6 opinion page (“McAdoo a UNC victim, not villain”), Michael McAdoo, a former UNC football player, was told by academic counselors that he would major in African-American Studies because it didn’t conflict with football practice. We now know that players were guided to this department and its rogue professor for independent studies classes and predictable grades.

While a rogue African-American professor played “you get an ‘A’ for enrolling” with the UNC athletic department, African-American Studies is not a joke, though the image portrayed in this instance is disturbing.

When we see young men with their pants hanging down prowling our streets and killing each other, it is not a joke. We need young people who want to be historians, artists, anthropologists, musicians and, yes, football and basketball players. But they need to be challenged, taught and mentored so that they can help tell the story of African-American heritage, become strong role models and participate in leading the next generation.

Philip N. Henry


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