3 Reasons Why Ivy League Schools Need Scholarships for Black Students.
For the Young, Gifted and Broke..
When I came to America I had to learn the lingo.
What we in South Africa refer to as “transformation”, is called “diversity”. I had to stop myself from saying “darkies and blacks” to start using terms like “people of colour.” Also since this is a majority white country, terms like “white minority capital” became superfluous.
In one of his clips Trevor Noah said the 2 things he wishes Americans could import from South Africa are 1. Candour in discussions about race and 2. Normal sized chicken. I agree vehemently, especially with the latter.
We can keep putting lipstick on this pig, by coining more flowery terms- but the bottom line is:
There aren’t enough black people in spaces that matter.
I chose my school, Cornell Tech because it offered so much more than a general LLM. It offered the ability to intersect between the world of business and technology- which are spaces not traditionally explored by lawyers. I also chose it because of its reputation as an Ivy League school, and because the alumni I had met made it sound really great.But chile, those school fees!
This Black History Month of 2020 (20-plenty) we can’t accept that broke is synonymous with black. Let’s activate the Young, Gifted and Black! Here’s why:
- Do it for diversity/ transformation in the classroom
My class has students from every continent, except Australia. When my classmates from Indonesia, Sweden or Nigeria makes a contribution- it gives me a new context of understanding. I really enjoy learning about business practices and work cultures in other jurisdictions.
I was in a class that is taught by a professor of Indian descent, and I saw how the Indian students were to participating more than in other classes, because they were speaking to someone who wouldn’t say to them “you will have repeat that again for me.” When you see someone who looks like you in a position of authority, it normalises success.
At Cornell Tech, I am 1 of 10 black students, and thats counting using the one drop rule. This means someone with a really strong tan by have been incidentally included. Its not yet uhuru, or in the words of Ms Parks:
2. “Arlan Hamilton is doing it.
In her words “Its about damn time.” If you are unaware of the straight talking, patriarchy dismantling and underdog champion Venture Capitalist Arlan Hamilton- you are missing out on an opportunity to marvel at the resilience of the human spirit.
In summary, Arlan went from being homeless and living on food stamps to starting a fund that has made investments into 120 companies. Her belief is that the underrepresented are always underestimated — so her job is to support them by any means necessary. From funding startups founded by people of colour and the LGBTQ community at Backstage Capital, to her podcast where she candidly documents her journey to making her first $1 million in personal wealth and on 5 May 2020 she’s giving us all a piece of her in her book aptly entitled “Its About Damn Time.”
In partnership with her mother, she launched the first scholarship for black students at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. But wait, there is more- they also launched at scholarship at her mother’s alma mater Dillard University. A few days ago she announced that they would be adding 2 more scholarships for black women- including a student learning learning to become a commercial pilot.
Arlan doesn’t have a university degree. What she is doing isn’t paying it forward, she is paying for it. Period.
In all this badassery, she found time to come and hold a fireside chat with us last year. She was kind, gracious and she made it very clear to a bunch of grad school students whose success metrics are jobs as Product Managers and Consultants that “life isn’t linear, explore your interests.”
She isn’t giving from her excess millions like others have the ability to, but she is investing in a future she wants to see.
What type of Cornell /Harvard/ Brown/ Columbia, etc do we want to see?
3. Just do it.
To my knowledge, there is no currently no scholarship set up specifically at Cornell Tech, and this would be the first. It would be the first scholarship, and it would be for black students to come to Cornell Tech to study anything they want. All degrees at Cornell Tech are interdisciplinary — and students get exposed to technology, business, informatics, law, etc to varying degrees.
If seeing black people in STEM matters to you; do it. If seeing black people in the financial world matters to you; do it. If seeing black lawyers on deals matters to you; do it.
For the finer details, you can get in touch with me to put you through to the higher ups that will give you all the information you need.
I am on 3 scholarships, but its simply not enough and I am still fund raising. If you can help me, that would be nice- but let’ s adopt the entrepreneurial mantra of “move fast and break things”. By breaking down the system that keeps black students out of Ivy League schools. Then something can really startup!