What is the state of today’s black college student?
Today’s black college student is now confronted with the growing problem of HIV/AIDS, incarceration and separation among themselves, which did not exist on such a large scale throughout the 60s and 70s.
Black youth represent 65 percent of HIV/AIDS case among American youth ages 13-19, according to http://sev.prnewswire.com/health-carehospitals/20050204/LAF05504022005-1.html.
AIDS in America is rapidly becoming a black disease, according to http://blackaids.org. “Nowhere is that more apparent than among young African Americans,” explained Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute.
Not only are black youths a high percentage of HIV/AIDS cases, but according to the U.S Department of Justice’s Web site, 67 percent of the prison population is young black males – black males are only 13 percent of the overall U.S population.
Black college students are also facing a 42 percent low graduation rate according to http:// jbhe.com/features/50_blackstudent_gradrates.html
Despite these overall problems, I remain optimistic about the current state of black students. At Florida A&M University it was good to see a lot of students participate in the Jena 6 protests. It seems that a lot of students are passionate about the political and social issues when the opportunity presents itself.
However, not every student on campus feels the same way. Some think some activities like modeling troupes, dance troupes, and other campus organizationsare exclusive and create division among blacks on campus.
According to FAMU professor of history and political science, Jeffery Mills, today’s black college student faces more complex issues than students of the past.
“Students today, not unlike students of previous generations are faced with tremendous challenges and tremendous opportunities,” Mills said. “They are faced with the challenges of trying to negotiate the troubled waters of oppression, racism, sexism and scarcity, while at the same time the recipients of opportunities for education, advancement, and understanding.”
Mills said black students need to work toward developing systems within their communities, which are founded upon love and equality. Values that could not be easily identified in today’s society
Today’s black college students are in a good state overall.We need to continue to strive to do what we can to stick together, so that we can help advocate change that will better society as a whole.
Amir Shabazz is a senior philosophy student from Fort Myers. He can be reached at Luvgarvey@yahoo.com.