Yes, I am black and I go to a predominantly white institution (PWI). I am from Houston, TX where there are two very popular HBCUs in the area and surrounding areas–Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M University. Instead of applying to those two, I had my heart set on The University of Texas at Austin. It was the prestige, it was the reputation, and it was the athletic program. It was THE University of Texas at Austin and I just had to be there.
Once I made it to UTs campus I was in for an experience on and off campus. I had a feeling of what was to come even before I even set foot in Austin. While I was excited when I got my acceptance letter, my peers did not share the same enthusiasm. “Why you wanna go to that white school?” “So you don’t want to be around black people?” “So you wanna be white?” That was just a few of the statements I heard the spring and summer before college. I honestly could not understand why the mean-spirited remarks were coming from, but I quickly reassured them that I would still remain the same.
The thing is, the school I chose to go to does not make me any less black. To be honest, after taking a few African and African Diaspora Studies class, I am probably more in tune with my blackness than any of my peers that chose to go to HBCUs, talk about a change of events.
In addition all of the negative talk from my black peers, I have to deal with just being black at a PWI. Because being the only person that looks like you in a class full of 300 people is something you do not get use to. Having people purposely give flyers to the person before you and the person after you and ignore you doesn’t get any easier. Being self-conscious about the way you wear your hair because of the constant stares isn’t a fun experience either. Being the assumed voice of every black person in America when the subject of race in the US comes up, isn’t really on my bucket list. Basically what I’m saying is, as a black person at a PWI, we go through enough so please stop making it worse with your negativity.
Oh and another thing…United Negro College Fund…why only black students that attend HBCUs are eligible for your scholarships? Because I chose to go to a PWI, I am not worthy of a scholarship? It’s a bit disheartening and actually quite disappointing.
But I will step off my soapbox and continue my PWI education. I graduate in May and no matter where my degree comes from, I will be a young black woman with a college degree.