Going to school with people who look different and come from various upbringings can
be awkward at times because of the lack of understanding for one another.
At some point, this difference in backgrounds has the potential to cause a mental strain
and make school unpleasant. That’s why, for many Black high school students,
attending a Historically Black College or University is their preferred choice. Attending
an HBCU means making a conscious decision to be around students who understand
life from a similar point of view.
Although HBCUs predominately cater to Black and African American students, what
about those who stand somewhere in the middle? There are many multiracial students
attending HBCUs across the country who are sometimes overlooked when talking about
what it means to be a student at an HBCU.
So, what exactly does it mean to be multiracial on the campus of Florida A&M
University? For students like third-year mechanical engineering major Christopher
Jones, being African American and Laotian at FAMU means bringing something new to
“A pro about being multiracial here is that I have different experiences and values that
others find interesting or have not experienced,” Jones said. “There are times when I
cannot find anyone with a similar background as me and that makes it hard to relate to
According to information provided by DATA USA , in 2021, only 2.92 percent of FAMU
students self-identified as members of two or more races, in comparison to its 82.9
percent listed as Black or African American students. This drastic contrast in numbers
may be intimidating to potential or new students who are multiracial, but FAMU has
made an effort to be inclusive. There are more than 150 clubs and organizations on
campus, designed to network and foster relationships.
There are a number of students who take advantage of the opportunities to connect with
others on campus.
Third year psychology student Amelia Davis says she is proud of who she is and
doesn’t feel like she must change because she is on a HBCU campus.
“After my high school experience, I was yearning to immerse myself in my cultural
heritage,” Davis said. “I’m mixed with Black, Mexican and Italian and when I introduce
myself to anybody on campus, the first thing I tell them is that I am multiracial.”
Living at the intersection of multiple races is a unique experience. While there are non-
Black students who attend HBCUs, some feel as though students from different racial
backgrounds should attend predominantly white institutions, also known as PWIs, or
Hispanic serving institutions, also known as HSIs.
There has been an abundance of videos and discussions circulated online, surrounding
the topic of protecting Black culture and schools. This sometimes leads to awkward
situations for students like Avia Cesaroje.
“I wouldn’t say I feel unwelcome, because most staff and people are inclusive,”
Cesaroje said. “There have been situations though where I felt like an outsider and
couldn’t help but think that people were boxing me into a stereotype.”
If students who are multi-racial choose to further their education at an HBCU, there is
no reason they should feel uncomfortable or less than. It is important that no matter
what race(s) a person may be, they are able to express themselves freely and without