I am concerned about the mayor of Chicago’s proposal to build a new $251 million Malcolm X College. His reason for doing so seems to be the same reason that was established years ago – to train students for careers in health care. Wikipedia describes Malcolm X College as “at the forefront of meeting the growing health care needs of the community. In that capacity, Malcolm X College offers the largest selection of Health Science (career) degrees and certificate programs in Cook County.”

Do we need a new building to do the same thing?

No, this is another way to undermine the black community. He is hoping that a state-of-the-art facility will blind us to the fact that he is focusing on keeping black students in a box. A career in health care doesn’t give students ideas for other careers. If a student wants to become a writer, engineer, lawyer or actor where would he or she be able to attend school? Some of the City Colleges practice institutional racism. Malcolm X is one of the City Colleges that black students feel welcome and comfortable at. There should be an expanded curriculum that prepares students for other choices. That will allow them to become something other than some kind of medical technician and a certified nursing assistant.

If the mayor really wants to help black students get a fair education, he would immediately spend the $251 million to broaden the curriculum and hire qualified teachers to teach at the present Malcolm X. Other City Colleges have good English, math and humanities teachers. For example, Humboldt Park Vocational Ed Center of Wright College, located at 1645 N. California Ave., has a good English teacher. Some years ago, I tried to enroll as a student to audit a class. But I got the run-around. I did attend six weeks of English classes before I left. Why didn’t they want me there? Probably for the same reason a biology teacher at Wright College told me I had to leave his class. I remember he said that Wilbur Wright College was for white students and the school was building a new out-of-reach campus for people like me.

I see Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan as another way to keep black students under-educated and earning low-wage jobs with limited growth and advancement opportunities.

Sandra Johnson