Peace Fam (no pun intended…I represent the AU),
In the midst of the wild, irrelevant, raunchy, and abundantly silly trending topics, I saw 2 today that sort of stuck out: #theAUC and #iLoveFamU. Now, as an alum of the AUC (shout out to Clark Atlanta!!) I always find these debates really interesting. I mean, truth be told, beyond geographical location, is one school really that much better than the other?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having school spirit and supporting your institution, but most of these types of debates go far beyond having school pride and “representing”. I’ll keep it real…when I’m not physically in the AUC, I’ll represent it if necessary. But on campus, most of the students representing the institutions in the AU don’t even like each other! I have friends from Morehouse and Spelman and we all get along very well. But they will tell you the same thing. Make the mistake of asking a young lady from Spelman if she goes to CAU and see what happens! Additionally, I have friends that have attended, graduated, or transferred to and from HBCU’s across the country. And in most cases, the similarities are far more abundant than the differences. Most of them are located in under-developed, low-income areas of the city. Some are so ducked off into the landscape that you might miss them if you were moving fast enough. The student body is usually made up of the same characters – those that came to learn, those that came to party, the ones that came to pledge, the couple that just wanted to get away from home, and the few that knew how to juggle a few of those roles at the same time. The few friends that have experienced both an HBCU as well as a majority school all have almost identical critiques. They say that the majority schools are much more efficient in the areas of financial aid, student loans, and pretty much anything that happens in those offices that HBCU alums hate going to. On the other hand, the relationships that you have the opportunity to establish in the smaller, more intimate setting that is the HBCU are priceless.
As many times as I’ve witnessed (and participated) in this debate about which HBCU was better, one thing that almost never comes up is how we can improve them. How can we work together to build stronger schools? How can we establish richer alliances and relationships with other HBCU’s? How can we increase academic averages or graduation rates? How can we get more exposure in corporate america? The truth of the matter is, regardless of how awesome I think CAU is, few people in corporate america even know it exist!! I have found myself all too often explaining what CAU is, what the significance of a HBCU is, and answering questions that graduates from majority schools probably never have to answer. So, my question to you is, how can we shift the focus away from the differences (at least the trivial ones) and focus on similarities and solutions? Is there a need to do so?
And with that, I’m out!!
* PS — Congrats to my brother for getting accepted into grad school!!! I’m proud of fam!