You know, there's nothing I like more than to start a post with an epic quote...lol.
"There was two kind of slaves. There was the house negro and the field negro. The house negro, they lived in the house, with master. They dressed pretty good. They ate good, cause they ate his food, what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near their master, and they loved their master, more than their master loved himself. They would give their life to save their masters house quicker than their master would. The house negro, if the master said "we got a good house here" the house negro say "yeah, we got a good house here". Whenever the master would said we, he'd say we. That's how you can tell a house negro. If the master's house caught on fire, the house negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house negro would say "What's the matter, boss, we sick?" We sick! He identified himself with his master, more than the master identified with himself. And if you came to the house negro and said "Let's run away, Let's escape, Let's separate" the house negro would look at you and say "Man, you crazy. What you mean separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?" There was that house negro. In those days, he was called a house nigger. And that's what we call him today, because we still got some house niggers runnin around here. This modern house negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He'll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about "I'm the only negro out here. I'm the only one on my job. I'm the only one in this school. -Malcolm X
This past week I became engaged in a considerably spirited debate about predominantly white institutions (PWIs) and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The Black Salvage published a post about this issue years ago though the article centered around a biased Baltimore Sun piece and more or less, the societal view of HBCUs but in hindsight, I realize I didn't really investigate a very interesting dynamic in all this- the perspective of Blacks who look down on HBCUs, many of whom have an inherent sense of superiority because of their acceptance and attendance at PWIs.
For what it's worth, I don't have a problem with PWIs or HBCUs in any collective sense. I think you should go to whatever school best fits your needs and your wallet. That said, you can't throw out baseless, unvalidated claims and think that I won't challenge your ignorance (read: stupidity). The argument began when a Twitter acquaintince of mine, who is Black, implied through multiple tweets containing thinly veiled shade, that because he was a PWI, George Mason University specifically, that he was by default in a better position than those at HBCUs.
I'm used to this idea- during my senior year in high school some of my peers mocked me for applying to Morgan State University (an HBCU). One went so far as to say, “nobody is going to take you serious when they see your resume”. These were all Black kids and for many of them, getting into the University of Maryland was again, a sign of status. (no disrespect to the U of M)
What a lot of Blacks who perpetuate these ideas fail to realize is that there are countless HBCU alum doing 100 times better than they could ever hope to. Scratch that, there are countless people doing 1,000 times better than them with no degree at all. When I bring this up and ask them to account for it, they begin retracting previous statements and talking themselves in circles. Now, if we lived in a world where every PWI graduate ended up more successful than every HBCU graduate taken together, there would be nothing to discuss but that's clearly far from reality.
Now, I'm not saying that some HBCUs aren't up to snuff but the same is true of countless PWIs and let's just be real, if you are a successful kinda' man or woman, you're going to be successful at a black school, white school, or no school at all. We now live in an age where a lot Black people want to feel like somebody without putting in the work to be somebody. A PWI is no free ride to success but tell that to the New House Negro and he will laugh at you. See, the New House Negro can graduate from a PWI and go on to do average things and live an average life but because he went to what is in his mind, a “white” school, he is inherently better than you and all that you've done without contest. I thought to name-drop the many outstanding HBCU graduates that have gone on to become statesmen and media moguls and music legends high-ranking military officers and world-renown scientists to prop up my point but do I really have to?
More than 100 years ago, runaway slaves risked life and limb trying to learn how to read in secret. Of those who survived, many were harassed and lynched for starting and maintaining some of the first Black colleges. Attending an HBCU in some respects made me feel like I was apart of something so much bigger than myself. I have often wondered if I would have had the courage to take the risks and make the sacrifices of many of my embondaged predecessors. Maybe I'm getting too deep. Or maybe...I'm speaking on things that I cannot possibly expect the New House Negro to understand.