This is not a precursor for another PWI (Predominantly White Institutions) vs. HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) debate.
I’ve done enough “defending” for the day, and this blog is not a place for hostility.
That being said…
I’m afraid I might not have the opportunity to get my old gold blazer.
The blazer, recognized from a mile away and donned by the current year’s Golden Class during the week of Homecoming, is more a cherished milestone than anything else, but I’m looking forward to it.
The blazer, a signal to everyone around that you not only received your degree, but LIVED 50 years after your graduation to reap the adorning benefit.
Honestly, with the way things are going lately I should really say, survived.
– You received your degree and survived for another 50 years. –
If you didn’t know, my beloved HBCUs are in danger.
I’ve realized, I’m scared they won’t survive another 50 years.
If you’ve read the “Purpose” of this blog, then you know I graduated from The Prairie View A&M University. A university written into the Texas constitution as being first-class, and built on land that use to be a plantation.
Land that use to be home to slaves who worked in fields, were whipped and raped as punishment or a cruel pleasure, learned to read in secret, and grew strong with soul food.
Land stained with blood and tears of our past, and featuring shadows of strange fruit hanging from the tree branches.
Word to Billie Holiday.
However, it is also land that is now filled with beautiful black bodies learning to be doctors and nurses, educators, writers, actors, architects, researchers, engineers, and so much more.
This story of triumph repeats 121 times, all across the nation.
121 institutions of higher learning that soared regardless of the issues that tried to stop the takeoff.
Despite having that knowledge and an enormous sense of pride, I went to sleep last night with a heavy weight of pity for those who see HBCUs as a mere punchline.
Why did my HBCUs rise so high, only to be undervalued by those they exist to serve? What do you mean your child isn’t going to attend a school full of hoodlums? How can you say it’s a “party school” if all the parties happen in the surrounding town? Are you sure there’s a lack of diversity? Do you even know what you really mean when you use “diversity” as an excuse? Do you really think the campus looks unkept? Have you even visited a campus to see for yourself? Were you serious when you proclaimed that the curriculum was leagues below the standard of a “normal” college?
You must have been joking.
You were probably kidding when you funded those PWIs significantly more money than the HBCUs down the street. Or when you tried to merge that HBCU with that PWI next door, and give them credit for nationally recognized programs that they didn’t create or build. Or when you tried to take those accreditations away without any legitimate reason to do so.
I’m positive it was done in jest, but as a whole we are not amused.
We are not amused, and I’m scared I won’t get to share in the legacy of the old gold blazer.