“Diversity U” HBCU EDITION By: Aaliyah Price, Spelman College

By September 25, 2019 Voices of Change 3 Comments

Do HBCU’s have a diversity problem?

HBCU stands for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Have you heard any of these statements before?

“HBCUs don’t successfully prepare their students for after graduation because the outside world isn’t made up of ONLY black people”.

“I would NEVER go to an HBCU”.

“HBCUs are only for BLACK PEOPLE”.

“HBCUs have NO diversity”.

Whew! Some won’t believe how many inaccurate comments and presumptions are made about HBCUs from what I like to call OUTSIDERS! The most stereotypical comment that I hear often is about the lack of diversity within Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These comments most often come from our peers and black communities that attend predominately white institutions (PWI’s). What if I say that their assumptions about HBCUs are completely WRONG and invalid- would you agree?

HBCUs are more than diverse, in fact I would go out on a limb and even say that HBCUs are the pillar of diversity. Colleges like Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta University, Howard, Florida A&M, NC A&T, etc. have people on their campus from all cultures/walks of life. That includes race, ethnic groups, religion beliefs, etc. We have a mixture of all types of people. So, it makes me think of what context these “outsiders” are using when they speak on diversity especially in a school community that doesn’t even closely concern them.

I got questions!!! Are we not diverse enough because there are more black than white students? Are we not diverse enough because we don’t have D1 athletic teams? Are we not diverse enough because we learn about black culture when in reality, we’ve spent years learning about the culture of those who oppressed our ancestors, and continue to oppress our people? Are we not diverse enough because HBCUs aren’t following the unwanted expectations that others have placed on us? Or are we just not diverse enough because having campuses full of black and brown leaders makes the world uncomfortable? You tell me.

3 Comments

  • Kayla says:

    Before coming to college, I was one of the non-believers. I didn’t understand how a school made up of primarily black women could possibly be diverse. Since beginning at Spelman, I’ve learned that HBCU’s are diverse in a unique way. There are many experiences that black women have in common such as being catcalled by strangers or being told our box braids are not appropriate in professional settings. However, there are many ways in which our experiences differ. We do not all have the same political views, or interests. Spelman is a melting pot in and of itself. Spelman students come from all over the globe and the idea that all of our experiences could be even close to identical is ridiculous. HBCU’s allow students to recognize the diversity within the black community, and I am so grateful for my Spelman experience for helping me recognize that.

  • Anthony L. Felder says:

    Blackness is not a monolith!

  • Jahi Flowers says:

    I remember when I was a senior in high school, eagerly waiting to move 8 hours away from where I was raised (and brainwashed) to attend a school that reflected every value that I saw within myself. I also remember how many of my close friends and family members weren’t very supportive of the idea of me going to an HBCU. To this day, it bewilders me to accept that a lot of individuals agree with this negative connotation towards HBCUs and what they have to offer. But now as a sophomore at Morehouse College, I begin to realize that many people accept what they are conditioned to believe and that it is only through persistent advocacy and open-ended conversations that their perspectives will begin to reflect the numerous rewards of attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

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