My 2019 Black History Month Experience

My 2019 Black History Month Experience As A White Woman

My experience with black history month as a white girl on a PWI's campus.


As some of you may know, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position on Clemson's Orientation Ambassador team for this coming summer. We go through training for a lot of different aspects of student and college life, such as how to approach sensitive issues, how to respectfully interact with people from different backgrounds (sexual orientation, culture, race, ethnicity - you name it), and how to make ourselves aware of the struggles each of us are facing on campus, even if they don't affect each individual person.

Part of the way we make this happen is by going to one multicultural event per month and writing a short paper about it. It's a way to get us out of our comfort zones, to take our blinders off and realize that everyone's experiences, both on campus and in life, are so different.

As a predominantly white institute (PWI), Clemson still has a lot of work to do when it comes to diversity, especially including, appreciating, and honoring different races and cultures. This is a place to start.

Clemson has the Gantt Multicultural Center that puts on multicultural events every month throughout the year, regardless of whether or not its a history month or an awareness week. Harvey and Lucinda Gantt were Clemson's first two African American students, both enrolled in 1963. Through the Gantt Center and a couple of co-sponsors, Clemson had over ten different celebrations, presentations, and events to honor and appreciate black history.

Gantt Multicultural Center

Gantt Multicultural Center

Gantt Multicultural Center

While I wasn't able to attend all of the events last month, I was still able to sit with my black classmates and try my hardest to clearly and earnestly listen to them and understand the reality of what they go through every day. I could never understand exactly how they feel or put myself in their shoes, but that won't stop me from trying to understand my role in our campus's dynamic and how I can consciously use it to support my classmates and make it known that I want things to change for them and that I'm willing to go leaps and bounds outside of my comfort zone in order to do so.

The main event I was able to go to last month was David Banner's keynote speech. It was really eye-opening to see and hear how black people and white people have such different ideas of racism and the different instances where sometimes we need to meet in the middle, sometimes white people need to do the work, and sometimes white people need to understand that black people know what they want more than we know what they want. There are so many fine lines and grey areas surrounding racism in the United States, on college campuses, at Clemson. Banner's speech really opened my eyes to what I should and shouldn't do while trying to support Clemson's black community and the black community all over the world.

I hope that in the coming months and years I can learn more about different cultures, lifestyles, and experiences, and be more and more able to live in a way that reminds me and others to be respectful and supportive of everyone no matter what.

Popular Right Now

6 Major Health Benefits Of A Crazy Road Trip

Take that sick road trip you've been wanting to go on, it's actually super good for your health.


We all have a crazy adventure planned, that we live out solely through our Pinterest boards. It wasn't until recently, when I myself took the trip of a lifetime with two of my best friends, that I realized how good road trips can actually be for both your mind AND body.

Driving = Hippocampus Expansion

Taylor Kellogg

Driving, especially long distances, helps your brain with spatial reasoning. A Sunny Afternoon explains that driving actually helps this region of the brain make calculations and increases brain power. Kinda like sudoku... but on wheels.

New places, faces and experiences = MENTAL WORKOUT

Taylor Kellogg

Think of all the cool things you will see, the hundreds of different people you could meet, and the awesome places you'll explore. This overload of new information to process will help your brain build its capacity.


Taylor Kellogg

Fresh air and sunshine is the key to bettering your mind, which leads to bettering your body. Not only do your lungs get a break from pollution-filled air, but the sun boosts the Vitamin D levels in your body to put you in a better mood.

Good company = good mood.

Taylor Kellogg

Choose your travel buddies wisely. Yes, you'll be stuck in the car with them for a LONG period of time, but they also can help with your mental health. The happier you are and the more you laugh, the bigger boost your serotonin levels will get.

You (most likely) will get a lot of good exercise.

Taylor Kellogg

OK, hear me out... I know being cooped up in the car on a road trip isn't very good exercise. It's so important to pick a place that features some sort of physical aspect (I just took a hiking trip to a few national parks in Utah) so you can stretch those legs.

Your mind will thank you for finally going tech-free.

Taylor Kellogg

We're all obsessed with our phones (you are... admit it). Going on a road trip is the perfect way to go unplugged and give your eyes/mind a rest. Less smartphone/email/social media time means less stress.

If you need some backup for convincing your parents to let you go on a road trip, show them this article. You're welcome and travel safe!!!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

For My Friend Who Made Me Feel Like A Burden When My Mental Health Was Deteriorating

And to a hypocritical ex-friend.


Dear Jessie,

I really thought you were my best friend in high school.

We spent a lot of time together at school and outside of school, getting into deep conversations and bonding. We'd go shopping on the weekends or chill at your house and paint and watch "Friends".

But apparently, I was wrong about you.

You cut me off as a friend freshmen year of college for no reason.

You judged me based on someone else's opinion, decision, and experience. And I wasn't even in the wrong. Adam was my boyfriend before Sierra's, and she was dating someone else anyway.

Apparently, you also spoke badly about me behind my back and had the audacity to say that I talked badly about you behind your back, when I didn't. I think the only bad thing I said was that your little sister was annoying, which you also said yourself.

I never talked badly about your religious beliefs, and whoever you heard that from was wrong. And I'm 95% sure it was Jacquie who told you or started that rumor. Come on, she tried to break you and Sierra's friendship, and everyone's friendships, because she was a petty, jealous brat and you know that!

Honestly, I think all of this was just an excuse to get rid of me and our friendship. And I think you especially did this because my mental health wasn't so great. I was depressed a lot and you treated me and my condition like a burden.

Which wasn't fair; you had depression and anxiety and I was always there for you. Never once did I treat you like a burden.

You made me out to be the bad guy Jessie. You refused to admit your own mistakes, and instead falsely pointed the finger at me.

And for that, I will never forgive you.

Related Content

Facebook Comments