Mayor of Birmingham advises Black athletes to avoid Alabama colleges if anti-DEI bill passes


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By Curtis Bunn, NBC

University Alabama football
College football is big in Alabama, but some wonder whether Black athletes should look elsewhere (By Matthew Tosh – originally posted to Flickr as DSCF1556, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Randall Woodfin, the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, said on social media that if state lawmakers passed a bill barring diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs in the state’s public schools and universities, he would encourage parents of minority student-athletes to select colleges in states “where diversity and inclusion are prioritized.”

Woodfin was reacting to the state Senate’s approval this week of a bill that would also bar public schools from affirming “a divisive concept,” such as teaching that “slavery and racism are aligned with the founding principles of the United States” and that “fault, blame, or bias should be assigned to members of a race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.”

The bill would require a House vote before it can be signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican.

In Alabama, which is nearly 27% Black, college football is big business, with rivals the University of Alabama and Auburn University historically among the top programs in the country. In his post, Woodfin asked the “leadership, athletic directors and coaches” of those colleges whether they supported this proposed law. As of Friday, the schools had yet to publicly respond. 

Woodfin continued: “To the parents of minority athletes who are helping their children decide if they want to play sports at those institutions: Would you be cool with your child playing at schools where diversity among staff is actively being discouraged?

“Although I’m the biggest Bama fan, I have no problem organizing Black parents and athletes to attend other institutions outside of the state where diversity and inclusion are prioritized. If supporting inclusion becomes illegal in this state, hell, you might as well stand in front of the school door like Governor [George] Wallace,” a famously staunch segregationist.

Finish the article.

Diversity efforts might struggle in the wake of affirmative action’s end, which is why some people point to HCBUs as an option.

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