With the overwhelming majority of university students identifying as liberal, Republican students are often seen as the outsiders, especially on HBCU campuses.
On Aug. 19, 2017, two white teenagers on a trip to Washington, DC stopped for lunch at Howard University wearing “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats.
The teenagers were “harassed” by Howard students for their open support of Donald Trump, according to tweets by @allie_vandee, who was one of the teenagers wearing the Trump paraphernalia.
10 days later, a man and woman (it is unknown if they are students or not) on Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) campus were seen wearing these same hats.
They were harassed as well, with some students saying the campus police were called to remove them.
A few students made open calls to violence against them, much like the social media posts seen about the teens on Howard’s campus.
Both Howard and FAMU are predominantly black and predominantly liberal.
In Trump’s America, the divide between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party has expanded greatly because of his failure to denounce white supremacist groups that support him.
As shown by the two incidents mentioned previously, his ties to white nationalists do not sit well with many, especially black liberals.
Niche.com, Inc. is a company headquartered in Pittsburgh that runs a ranking and review site. Based on student rankings, Howard University is the only historically black college or university (HBCU) listed in the top 50 on Niche‘s ‘Most Liberal Colleges of America,’ while FAMU is listed as 533 out of 678.
The white nationalists’ support of Trump not only makes it seem as if he adheres to their same beliefs, but also causes people to infer that his many supporters and the Republican Party are allied with white nationalists as well.
This causes a common distrust and even dislike of Republicans and conservatives amongst liberal HBCU students like FAMU student Deion Jenkins.
“Republicans don’t have the best interest of black people, the typical conservative thinks that black people don’t have enough because we don’t do enough. They don’t have intentions of helping people, they favor the rich,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins stated that he doesn’t know any republicans on campus, so he can’t tell if they’re ostracized or discriminated against.
Program Assistant of the Legal Scholars office and current graduate student Marquise McMiller knows all too well the stigma that comes along with being a Republican on FAMU’s campus.
“Just because we’re in the same party doesn’t mean that we all believe the same things,” McMiller said.
During McMiller’s 2017 campaign for FAMU SGA president, he said his opponents would even use his political party affiliation as “ammunition” against him.
McMiller hopes that FAMU Democrats and Republicans can come together and be accepting of one another despite political beliefs.
“It’s okay to think differently and be different, that’s what makes us collectively FAMU. We bring different ideals from different places and we don’t all have to agree, but we should all be respectful,” McMiller said.