Racists Threaten HBCUs Because Black Excellence Threatens Racists

The one thing that scares white supremacists more than integration is Black success on Black terms

Tim Wise
6 min readFeb 6, 2022


Image: Founder’s Library, Howard University, NCinDC, Flickr, Creative Commons license

White supremacists are far from supreme, and at some level, I suspect they know it.

Surely they must be able to see, as the rest of us do, that those who most loudly proclaim the superiority of the white race are always first-rate losers who have never accomplished anything.

Truly superior people, whatever we take that to mean, don’t need to tell you how special they are. And they definitely wouldn’t attribute their greatness (however defined) to something as absurd as skin color or ancestral lineage.

Only losers do that.

These are the kind of people who haven’t ever accomplished anything, for instance, in the realm of science but figure that since Stephen Hawking was white, there’s still hope for them.

These are the kind of people who couldn’t write a play to save their lives but figure that since their family came from England, and Shakespeare and Marlowe were Brits, that’s good enough.

It’s as if they looked at their history of unemployment, mediocre academic performance, and busted personal relationships, noticed the utter humiliation of it all, but then opened up their Ancestry.com wall, pointed to some French nobleman from the 18th century — who’s like their 12th cousin six times removed — and said, “ah, how sweet to have the blood of Versailles traveling through my veins.”

It’s precious hearing folks like this talk about how inadequate and inferior Black people are.

Because that isn’t what they really think at all.

They’re worried about the exact opposite.

I mean, if you really thought Black people were inferior, you would want to compete directly against them just to rack up some easy wins, right? But no, segregationists didn’t want to take the chance. They tried to keep Black people out of their workplaces and schools.


So they would only have to compete against the best and most challenging competition?



Tim Wise

Anti-racism educator and author of 9 books, including White Like Me and, most recently, Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights, December 2020)