A Letter To My Fellow HBCU Alumni

Posted: November 14, 2015 in Welcome

To my brothers and sisters that got the game all twisted right now:
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) are NOT the solution for ALL people of color.
This week, we’ve witnessed students at Yale, Vanderbilt, Ithaca College, and Mizzou make their voices heard to the administration regarding conditions on campus. Instead of supporting them, many of you have said:
1. Well, they should have attended an HBCU.
2. It’s an HBCU right down the road that they can attend.
3. Why would you go where you’re not wanted?!?!
The HBCU experience is BEAUTIFUL; I would not trade my time at Texas Southern University for anything. However, I also have peers that desired a different experience that was equally rewarding. So, while my refund check might have been late, they might have experienced isolation or bias in some manner. BUT we all have our crosses to bear.
At the end of the day, attending an HBCU isn’t going to resolve the racial incidents experienced by students of color at PWIs; it’s just not. Moreover, white people don’t own these institutions – THEY DON’T BELONG TO THEM – and the suggestion that black or brown faces shouldn’t occupy those spaces (at PWIs) supports that skewed logic of who belongs where and who owns what.
Whether it’s Harvard, Swarthmore, Smith or Reed College, if Black or Brown students want to attend, THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT. Should they be allowed to be harassed because someone disagrees with their presence? NO! Should I criticize and kick them for picking the whitest college in America, and then complaining about a racial incident? NO.
Support them. Remind them that racism is alive and well, but fleeing to another situation isn’t always the answer. If said institution is the institution they desire to attend, don’t let nobody run them off.
Texas Southern University, an HBCU, exist today because the University of Texas at Austin Law School rejected Heman Marion Sweatt because of his race. Had Heman attended Howard Law, as opposed to applying for the law school in his state, Thurgood Marshall might not have such a strong case in Brown v. Board of Education. (The influence of Sweatt v. Painter in the Brown v. BOE is interesting, it’s a reach but you get the point.) Good things can come from fighting against institutional racism that benefit EVERYONE. But nothing comes from silence and retreat.
As graduates or students of HBCUs, it’s imperative that we support our fellow students of color in this perilous time.
They need us, and we need them.A

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