A second emancipation

This story caught my eye as I stood in line at the coffee shop this morning. We had just attended a ceremony for 800 graduates of York High School, Elmhurst, Illinois, among them our grandson. College tuition costs have (unreasonably) skyrocketed these past decades, and new graduates are, if fortunate enough to find employment, chained to their desks for most of their careers. Their student loans are permanent, cannot be discharged in any circumstances except perhaps death. I think the system is deliberate and abusive, a form of tyranny.

Read on for an affirmation of humanity.

Robert F. Smith, a very wealthy man, will pay off all student loans for 396 graduates of Morehouse College in Atlanta. This is in effect a second emancipation from slavery, of another kind.


8 thoughts on “A second emancipation

  1. When did making faces like that and newsmedia printing faces like that become vogue? It takes a special face to make that special face. As a teenager I remember the face to make for my brother and I was brooding face despite anything to be happy about. The problem with the face these two college grads are making is tendency holding it in place for too long while scanning around recruiting others to look at them making that I can’t believe I practice making this face all the time face. To disengage after locking eyes with your grandma would seem tricky while making that face. Maybe wink or pull my finger I guess or young Chevy Chase pratfall while saying Hi Grandma might save them.
    I just know I’d be more impressed if Robert F.’ng Smith paid off loans at Morehead State.


  2. Mark, are you being sarcastic? Honestly, I can’t tell. As the parent of a recent grad facing debt, I can’t help feeling this story is also a variation on those megamillion lottery winners, a cruel hoax used to beat us into continued submission/depression.Plus, those guys in the picture look a little old-ish for college to me…


    1. It would not be the first time I have been fooled, but nothing about it struck me odd. Now that two people are telling me it is odd, I have to think about it again.


    2. From the article:

      Robert F. Smith, the billionaire investor who founded Vista Equity Partners and became the richest black man in America, told the crowd that he and his family would pay off the entire graduating class’s student debt, freeing them to begin their next chapter, whether it was a master’s program, a position with Teach for America or an internship at Goldman Sachs, without loan payments to worry about.

      Vista Equity Partners:

      Vista Equity Partners is a U.S.-based investment firm with offices in Austin, Chicago, New York City, Oakland, and San Francisco with more than $46 billion in cumulative capital commitments. Vista exclusively invests in software, data, and technology-enabled organizations led by world-class management teams. As a value-added investor with a long-term perspective, Vista contributes professional expertise and multi-level support towards companies to realize their full potential. Vista’s investment approach is anchored by a sizable long-term capital base, experience in structuring technology-oriented transactions, and proven management techniques that yield flexibility and opportunity.

      It doesn’t need to be a hoax, but there usually is a viper underneath the grass (as the Dutch saying goes). Investors are going to invest, so in return for this “gesture” of paying off debts, the students might need to go for internships or employment with clients or related firms of this investing company.

      Which is perfectly fine in a capitalist world and all the best to the students themselves.

      But of course, probably in the background a racial plan is at play (in Orwellian speech “diversity” programs); getting more black kids working for traditionally white companies.

      From the article again:

      Many details remain unsettled, including how students will demonstrate the amount of debt they have and how it will be paid off. Also unclear is the total amount Mr. Smith will contribute.

      Mr. Smith, who was among the largest donors to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, has long been an active philanthropist.


  3. I think we all know not a nickel is coming out of anyone’s pocket to pay for anything. To me it’s like old days of announcing the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes winner. Nobody really won anything did they? How about those McDonald’s Monopoly sweepstakes games. If there was truly a winner wouldn’t it make Headline News? Even then we wouldn’t know if real. And what happened to the dude movie Happyness was based on? Robert F. Smith is convenient name for richest black man in America. I’d much prefer name like Dijon Sanders at commencement asking everyone if they have any grey poupon. Those guys in the pic look like Prince of Bel Air meets The Huxtables. And finally now for the truth. If this story is true I’m jealous.


  4. Another example of the camera taking a photo exactly at the “right moment”. Many of these small local colleges receive huge grants and donations from corporations and wealthy alumni. If you looked at the numbers many of these higher learning establishments shouldn’t even charge tuition, yet they usually raise it every other year.


    1. I am not convinced this story is fake. I have gone deep into photos in the past, tearing them apart from every angle, only to find that they are real. We can fool ourselves easily with our overly insightful analyses,


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