Dear Black Students of HBCUs,
We love you! We did not forget about you. But why do we seem to feel hated by you for our college of choice?
By Jayla Johnshon
Within the most recent weeks on Twitter, there has been a heavy debate between black students that attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and black students that attend Predominantly white institutions (PWI).
One of the specific Twitter accounts tracking this feud is @Hbcuhive. On this account, black students that attend PWIs have been called “brainwashed oreos,” “ignorant,” “a coon,” and much more through direct tweets from the account as well as retweets the account has posted.
Like many that choose PWIs, I had a thought process of making the proper choice for collegiate experience. If I am going to school for journalism, why would I not attend one of the top 3 ranked schools for journalism in the Southeast region if I was afforded the opportunity?
One of these schools are the University of Georgia, and the average tuition is $26, 000. The closest HBCU to Riverdale, GA that I had the opportunity to attend were Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College with the average cost being $40,000. These schools did not offer a degree in Journalism.
In lieu of this outrage about recent tweets shaming black students at PWIs, freshmen that recently entered UGA were interviewed to assess their opinions about the tweets as well as give personal testimonies on encounters with family and friends about their decision for college.
“I chose attending a PWI over a HBCU to challenge myself and remove myself from my comfort zone.” said Morgan Kidd, a pharmaceutical sciences major. “From Pre-K to 12th grade, I attended solely African-American schools, so I felt a PWI would prepare me for the real world better than HBCU with regards to cultural diversity, rigor, and resources. A lot of people outside my immediate family shamed me for choosing a PWI saying that ‘I’m betraying my race.’”
After showing him some of the tweets that called black students at PWIs negative things such as “brainwashed oreos,” Kidd replied, “ I think a college is a personal decision and shouldn’t determine your ‘blackness.’ I haven’t read the thread on twitter, but it sounds like they’re putting down our race.”
Armani Kardar, an intended Broadcast Journalism major, made his opinion sweet and simple.
“I’m not paying $50,000 for a black experience when my whole life is the black experience.” Kardar is from Metro Atlanta, and his closest HBCUs were Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College. When Armani was showed the tweets with negative references to black people that attended PWIs, he said, “I feel that it only creates a divide among us. We can never be “black” enough for our own people, and that’s sad.”
Cathara Spencer, an intended Management Information Systems major, said “I’ve grown up in an all black community for my entire life. In total I’ve probably gone to school with about 20-45 white kids in 14 years of schooling; I’ve had very little diversity in my life. I wanted a change.”
She continued, “UGA was my top choice not because of their lack of diversity, but because they were the highest ranked in Georgia and I wanted to stay in state for the Zell Miller scholarship. No one has directly shamed me for choosing PWI over a HBCU, but they’ve definitely questioned me. Each time I tell them that a HBCU-type community is nothing new to me, I make sure to tell them how I wanted a change for college. The business world is not all black, and I need to make sure I’m prepared for that.”
Spencer said that she was aware of some of the hate black people attending PWIs was receiving on the HbcuHive Twitter account.
When shown some of the specific comments, Cathara said, “That’s disgustingly inaccurate and offensive. I feel like so many people just assume I don’t wanna be black because I didn’t want to go to an HBCU. Besides, how am I supposed to have black pride if half the community is pushing me away. I am no less black than anyone else just because I don’t surround myself in ‘the culture’. There could’ve have been black people just as brainwashed out there in a HBCU thinking nothing else matters outside of the black community.”
Here we are, black students of PWIs trying to make strides, just as big as white people. Hear our cry! You want an inclusive black community that you say HBCUs demonstrates and offers, but you make us an outcast and will not include us through your usage of negative phrases to downplay us as only “brainwashed” individuals or “simply a number”. We still love you, but damn…can you love us too?