Why I’m Not Here For the Historically White Institution and Historically Black College and University Comparison Right Now
by: David Turner
1.) White supremacist capitalist cis-heteropatriarchy lives all across the planet, especially here in the United States. Whether it’s racial terrorism or respectability politics, it’s alive and well.
2.) Let’s not live in an ahistorical vacuum. Black students at HBCUs had to fight for Black Studies and Black curriculum, the same way students at HWIs did. Many of the same methods were employed, and many students from HBCUs were central in integrating the south.
3.) Let’s not fetishize Black education like it was really made for us. White philanthropists were central in creating normal schools to domesticate Black folks and turn us into obedient citizen subjects. Resistance to that narrative, from critical educators and critical students, made Black education something different.
4.) Black students on both types of campuses have their resources taken from them, or they don’t exist. Racism is more than ideological and physical, it is also economic, and the same way Black studies programs and cultural centers see cuts to funding on HWIs, HBCUs see that on the federal and state levels.
5.) On both HBCU and HWI campuses, a pre-professional culture exists that attempts to domesticate Black student activism into some form of neoliberal “engagement” that makes good employees, not good community builders.
6.) Homophobia, ableism, rape culture, colorism, transphobia, class and social status, and an uncritical engagement with the intersections of identities exists on both campuses, causing people who are not heterosexual, economically advantaged Black men to experience HWIs and HBCUs in unique and violent ways.
7.) Being able to live in your truths as a Black person in a racially welcoming climate is a beautiful thing. That can politicize you, and make you an agent for your people. Being Black in a racially hostile climate, and living through the daily microaggressions is a horrible thing. It can politicize you, and make you an agent for your people.
We should be figuring out how to collaborate and get free, not tell other Black students that “they should’ve went to an HBCU” or “my campus gives me money and yours doesn’t.” Neither, in this day and age, will save you.
And I’m out.
David is Ph.D candidate at UC Berkeley. You can follow David here on twitter.