In light of a recent letter sent to Black student organizations at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, students at Florida A&M University say that they have yet another reason to add to their list of why they chose an HBCU.
“It’s disappointing to know that the people from my communities are being treated this way,” Aaliyah Roberts said. “No one deserves that. At FAMU I feel wanted and my talents and skills are cherished. I have never felt like I didn’t belong.”
A part of the letter reads, “We look down upon you, we instantly know in all manners from your language which most of you still speak in some broken form of Ebonics or to ghetto-speak to where you’re from (third-world sewers in America bought and paid for by the U.S. taxpayer) to how you live (like hoodrats) to how you appear (fro hair, big lips, black skin) you are different.”
Lauryn Stoney, a chemistry pre-med major at FAMU, says that she has no words in response to the letter. She agrees that attending an HBCU was in her best interest.
“This makes me very upset that this is not broadcast for the world to see,” Stoney said. “We know that racism is still going on but this is a mess. This is exactly why I left my PWI to come to FAMU. I couldn’t deal with stuff like that.”
Journey Daniels, a sophomore political science major, addressed the portion of the letter that states, “Every cry, every whine, every demand stems from a place of rejection. You must beg the rest of society to accept you and allow you in because otherwise we would never interact with you.”
“I feel like this letter is a direct reflection of what they see in themselves,” Daniels said. “There is no way that a Black person minding their own business is automatically seen as attention seeking or in need of validation. Yes, we are expected to be hired at jobs run by these people but it’s for our sake, not for their stamp of approval.”
Daniels says that whoever wrote the anonymous letter simply wasted their time.
“The real question is, don’t they have anything better to do?. Why is it that we can’t live without being harassed and disrespected by people that we don’t think twice about,” she said.
Stoney voiced appreciation for the culture and home-like environment at FAMU.
“I will say, every school has their problems,” Stoney said. “But I’m so glad that I can count on my fellow Rattlers to show up for me. It’s my home away from home. I can only imagine what those students may be going through.”
A slew of comments on social media addressing the email encouraged parents of African American students to send their children to an HBCU.
One comment on Twitter read, “Despite this vile, unoriginal, letter of blatant hatred, there is a tone of jealousy in it, too. Jealousy of Black excellence, not just at Umass-Amherst, but throughout the country, too. Music, sports, art, literature, business, religion, you name it. Future college students and parents, I urge you to go where you will be nurtured; a HBCU.”
Students at FAMU are in agreement that their decision to attend a predominantly black school was among the best choices they could make for themselves. Incidents like this solidifies their love and appreciation for their school.