Have you ever stopped and looked around your campus? Ever stood on the steps of the library, looking toward Lee Hall and felt an immense amount of pride? Hold on to that feeling because according to some critics, Historically Black Colleges and Universities are deficient and on the way out.
When I told a Tallahassee taxi driver last year that I was majoring in English education he laughed in my face. “Are you serious,” he guffawed. “English at the A&M? More like ebonics!” His ignorant comment opened my eyes to the way some people view HBCUs.
This exhibits a problem. People have to be educated to the fact that HBCUs offer a better education than any majority white university.
Although FAMU wasn’t my first choice – or even a possibility until I was offered a scholarship – I quickly rejected my other options after I visited. The opportunity to attend a HBCU with such a great reputation was too good to refuse.
Many people doubt the value of the education I’m receiving here at FAMU but if I had to choose again, I wouldn’t go anywhere else. From class discussions on interracial dating and black-on-black racism to homecoming concerts featuring Ginuwine and T.I.P., nothing could compare to my college experience so far.
I recently read an article in the online version of the St. Pete Times that voiced doubt about the future of HBCUs. Citing financial problems, declining enrollment and “fierce competition” from majority white schools, the writer scarcely touched on one of the major reasons hundreds of thousands of black students are drawn to HBCUs- an escape from a mainstream white culture. Because we are taught by a majority of professors who look like us, have come from the same places we have and have suffered the same things we will, we thrive and become educated, responsible citizens.
Some may say that this chosen segregation is a hindrance to our development?
Graduates of HBCUs are more confident, prepared and ready to give back to their communities than any minority graduate of large white universities, because they are surrounded by faculty and staff who believe in their success.
Just go to any FAMU home football game to witness the great dedication and continued support of our alumni. From restaurant owners to Wimbledon winners, FAMU has proven there’s nothing its graduates can’t do.
Until majority white universities and colleges can care as much about the future of their minorities as they do their white-black ratio, HBCUs will remain the strongholds of higher education for black students for centuries to come.
Marie Frasier, 20, is a junior English education student from Columbus, Ohio. She is the Opinions Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.