As I walked into my first Honors class here at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, I came to a realization. I was the only black male in my Honors course. This was the first time that this had happened to me, seeing how I attended a majorly black high school. I am welcoming to all people of any background so I easily made friends in the class, however, I couldn’t get that one thing out of my head. Time moved on, and months flew by, and I began to realize that this was probably going to be a frequent thing in my classes here at U.N.C.G.
When I would go home on school breaks, I would hang out with my high school friends and we would discuss “college life” and school-specific things that stuck out to us. Eventually, my friends who attend an H.B.C.U (Historically Black College or University) would throw verbal blows about how the students at P.WI’s cant to relate to anything that goes on at their institution. There was nothing that I could throw back at them, other than facts about my university. I just smile and laugh while I realize that most of the things that my friends would say, would be true.
One of my classes during this Spring Semester helped me understand the effects of toxic masculinity. How certain things such as showing emotion, being helpful or having manners can be seen as “feminine” or “less masculine”. As a black male, the weight of having to prove myself weighs a toll on my mind. Seeing how I attend a P.W.I makes me feel as if I have to prove myself to other black males who attend various institutions just to prove my “blackness” and also my manliness. If I fail to do so, I’ll easily have my “black card” revoked by society.
The show “Dear White People” has opened up my mind to a lot of things that were flying past my head while I walk around my own campus. Don’t let the title fool you, it isn’t just from the perspective of people of color. The show actually revolves each episode around one character, and how they experience the things that are occurring in their lives.
This topic is one that is debated about on various platforms. I often see my peers going back and forth on social media about how the H.B.C.U experience is better for students of African descent than the experience at any other college or university. Some of the arguments have reasoning, and I do agree that attending an H.B.C.U offers various cultural opportunities that other colleges simply can not offer. However, I believe that students of this generation should support each other simply because we are all aiming for the same goal: a degree.
I love my university. The Black culture at my university may be small, but it makes it tight-knit and more like a family. Every Wednesday, people of various races and backgrounds gather around our Moran Commons to enjoy the sun and music. This is one of the great times where my campus embraces our differences. We no longer focus on what is on the external, but as students of life.