While having a conversation with one of my peers, they mentioned how they saw a comment saying that our school, Mississippi Valley State University, is not a real HBCU. It was a comment on Youtube, insulting our dance team. They went on to tell me how they were comparing our school to Jackson State. In the midst of this all, the only thing I could think of was, “What do they mean not a real HBCU?” Also, “What exactly determines if an HBCU is real or not?” The thing that more so bothered me was that the person who made this comment was Black. Them being Black and basically discrediting an HBCU is like a slap in the face to other black people as well as themselves. Insulting the same type of institution that you’re a part of is not a good look.
As if we don’t receive enough criticism from others on how Historically Black Colleges and Universities can’t compete with Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) or deliver higher education as they do, our own views tarnish these institutions as well. Let’s not forget that these were and are made for Blacks because there was a time when we could not receive higher education at PWIs. I think the person wanted to say that MVSU is not a real HBCU because it’s not as turnt or popular as other black universities such as Florida A&M, Howard University, Jackson State, etc. However, just because our school does not receive enough recognition, doesn’t mean that we don’t experience the same things as other schools. We are all experiencing life at an HBCU, and we’re able to relate to our peers and institutional founders. We all are receiving an education, hearing our marching band strut throughout the campus, seeing the Greek life, attending parties, and waiting in those long lines in the cafe on Wednesdays.
So when someone says that my HBCU is not a real one because they don’t believe it isn’t turnt, realize that being turnt is not the only thing that makes up an HBCU. It’s more to it than that. There is history, empowerment, and even support. There is so much more that makes up these great institutions that should not be limited to that one factor. These schools are here for you to receive an education, so don’t try to knock someone for doing so just because there school is not as well known.
To tarnish one is to tarnish all. So if you ever hear someone say how your HBCU is not a real one, set them straight. We receive too much criticism about how we aren’t established or able to live up to PWI standards. The last thing we want to do is damage our reputation ourselves.
HBCUs are beautiful, respect them.