By Kerwin Holmes, Jr.
I honestly don’t mind calling historical schools by the designation Historically black college or university (HBCU). I applaud the term mind, body, and soul. But I will not call them “black” colleges.
Recently I saw a social media app that had the advertisement for “supporting our black colleges and universities.” Yeah, people call me black all of the time, I look black, I have African ancestry, I attended an hbcu, I am a third generation hbcu attendee in my family, and I am tired of seeing these advertisements of assumed moral posturing.
And I’m especially more tired of their wording and meaning.
HBCU’s are not “black” colleges. They are not schools for black people. They are schools that, as I mentioned before, (are not only forever set in number because the conditions for their creation no longer exist, but also…) were created precisely because Americans of African descent could not always attend schools of higher learning. So, in response they executed their American freedom with the help of Republican activists and other goodwill donors to create schools for themselves.
Let us pause to consider this.
So now, many of these schools still have persons of mostly African descent in them. In fact, earlier in my life I disdained such schools because I saw them as segregation hell hole reminders from the past. When I was forced to attend one because at other schools apparently graduating 9th in your class with advanced courses isn’t good enough, I discovered that I was wrong. Dead wrong.
And also right. Some people really want to keep these places black only/majorly. And I honestly have no idea why in God’s green, great Earth that they would. I mean, apart from the financial aid office (some of you get this joke) HBCU’s generally have some of the greatest minds in their professoriate. Now, I was a history major at my school, and I may be biased but I can tell you with sincerity that the greatest education that I got from my school came from History.
And guess what? My department was diverse in itself. We had a Latin American professor who was a white English descent guy (a residential alien). We also had an Ethiopian who taught African History, a half Jewish teacher who taught us Ancient History and Modern History in the rise of secular humanism, and others.
We also had white students, Asian students, African students, Caribbean students, European students…and within each of those monikers enough diversities to each start their own UN.
Put blankly, the caliber of scholarship and environment at HBCU’s isn’t by far stellar extreme, but it is by far too good to be regulated to some trope about supporting “black” schools.
(I mean, if even historically white schools like, say, Auburn, put in for social media and t-shirt adverts calling for supporting “white” schools, the same miseducated people pushing for this that I’m speaking against would be calling foul louder than a referee serving in a NBA pro game where Meta World Peace is on the court.)
So put quite blankly, stop with the whole “black” school nonsense. You’re hurting the advertising of every school that you claim to be supporting, including my own. And nowadays the majority of us can get all of the help we can get, for real.
Can’t anybody change history, so stop living in perpetual fear as if the strong history of HBCU’s, schools literally built in strength and for strength, are weaker than some college frat’s identity when they throw a party but invite the Q-dogs.
Ain’t nobody got time for that!