The argument in this debate is is it better to go to your instate Predominately White Institutions than go to a HBCU–will a Black student have a better education and social life in one than the other.
There are several arguments AGAINST HBCUs:
- They’re party schools
- A student at a HBCU wouldn’t understand how to react around people of another color.
- They’re undersourced: the school doesn’t receive enough funds from alumni.
While I think the above factors vary from school to school, I gotta say they are very good arguments. But they are arguments used by student who only went to HBCU Homecoming Weekends instead of, say, a Monday or Wednesday in a normal week.
I used to think the very same thing about HBCUs.
My identical twin sister is a Spelminte alum. I went to the University of Central Florida where Black students was only 13 or 14 percent of the population.
I took a trip to visit her during the homecoming weekend. Fortunately for me, I had an opportunity to walk the campus and go with her several classes. What I saw was totally different from what I expected. I expected the party, the rude students, the lovely black radicalism that Spelman and Morehouse are known to have.
But they receive the same education as we do. The buildings are not run-down. The grounds were kept nice–they have MONEY.
The only difference I saw was that the school instilled in the students a sense of pride in their community and culture.
This is something I rarely saw at UCF–a institution where assimilation is the ultimate goal. At Spelman, these girls were taught that Black IS beautiful and will always be beautiful. They wore their skin and rocked their afros with pride. They were taught that building up the community should be the responsibility of every young Black person.
But, I was taught these very same things as well at UCF.
I sought out the African American Studies program because I wanted to get in touch with the cultural and intellectual thought of my people.
Socially–it’s the same. Students party on the weekends and study during the weekday just like students at a PWI.
So, what is my conclusion?
Neither institution is better than the other. A Black student can get the same amount of education at a HBCU as they would at PWI. Neither institution is under-funded. The social life is about the same.
However, in order to get the same amount of social conscious, intellectual and cultural thought as you would at a HBCU, you have to search for it at a PWI.
I don’t think we as Black students who went to PWIs should degrade HBCUs just because of what we THINK goes on at them.
I would caution Black students who never went to a class or been on a HBCU campus other than to go and party at their Homecoming Celebrations to be careful what they say about HBCUs.