Keep my HBCU Out Yo Mouth

You know that high school cheer that goes, “get fiiiiired up! GET FIRED UP!” Well, as soon as I read the description for the Blackish episode “Black Math,” which started off by saying, “when Junior is accepted to Howard and Stanford…” I already knew that I was about to get fired the f*ck up. Why they gotta go and do that?

But, I like Blackish and I usually think the show does a great job addressing issues facing America and Black folks today. So I placed trust in Kenya Barris and Anthony Anderson, and I watched the episode.

Now, I don’t know which ashies were writing this bullsh!t, but I do know that both Kenya Barris and Anthony Anderson need an ass whoopin. As a matter of fact, neither one should be allowed to come back for homecoming…ever. Yes, the creator of this show went to Clark Atlanta University, and the show star and Executive Producer went to Howard University, and yet and still, both of these ashies were comfortable with the misinformation and pure stupidity portrayed in this episode.

The setup: ****SPOILERS**** [Junior is admitted to Stanford and Howard. Dre wants him to go to Howard and Bow Stanford, which she says is the “obvious” better school. Dre takes Junior to visit Howard and the trip is seemingly a disaster. Bow points out to Dre that he had a hard time reintegrating into the “white world” (What is that, you ask? Exactly.) upon graduation from Howard. Dre recalls that he did get dissed in a job interview and have problems identifying some white person song when he started working, apparently because he went to Howard, so he seems to agree with Bow. Junior actually loved Howard because of the diverse blackness of it and wants to go there. Bow is salty.]

My indignation started out with a simple strongly worded Facebook post about how my HBCU experience did not isolate me from the white world, but rather taught me to appreciate my own. But, the more I thought about it, the more I started to simmer and boil over the fact that we are really still having this discussion. HBCUs v. The White World, apparently. I mean, the same people who are out here protesting and and mad when folks is on their campus burning Negro effigies or attacking Black students or rubbing period blood on their Black rommates’ belongings are the ones who will talk out the other side of their mouth about HBCUs. If you don’t get your ole Strayer University ass off my damn timeline talking all that chitter chatter…! Yea, I said it. Because these Negro Spirituals* kill me. In my hometown of Savannah, GA, they would trash Savannah State and end up at Armstrong Atlantic State University. Never heard of Armstrong? You and most of America. But it’s populated with many ashy Negroes who feel better than because they are on the other side of town from the “Black school.” BOY BYE. Them same Armstrong Negro Spirituals was over at SSU homecoming every year like clockwork, tryna be out and front…take yo ass back to Armstrong, boo. At least the Blackish writers had the wherewithal to pit Howard against Stanford.

Listen, I’m not saying that you can’t go to a PWI. You can do whatever you want, different strokes, etc. But what you not gone do is come over here talkin’ crazy about my HBCU or any other HBCU just because you went to wherever the hell. My HBCU celebrated its Founder’s Day yesterday, marking the 137th year that Spelman has shaped some of the finest Black girls in the country into amazing Black women. So is Blackish trying to tell me that Alice Walker couldn’t make it out in the “white world” after leaving Spelman? Keisha Knight Pulliam? Bernice King? Stacey Abrams? Rosalind Brewer? Pearl Cleage? Marian Wright Edelman? Dovey Johnson Roundtree? Tayari Jones? Me?

Yes, that is how Spelmanites look when we pause reading you and your HBCU hate just long enough to lay an intellectual smackdown. Are we still that simple and brainwashed to think that the “white” world is the “real” world and the world of Black shit like African Diaspora and the World classes, swag surfs, homecoming turn ups, step shows, English classes that feature Zora Neal Hurston and Toni Morrison, slam poetry nights, the yard breakdancers, SGA campaign low blows, crying in the Financial Aid office (sorry, I didn’t mean to trigger yall)…well all that is just fake, I guess. Not worth our time. Won’t get you a job. Won’t teach you some white boy song so your white co-workers will like you.

Who knows where I would be had I not attended an HBCU. I’m a pretty driven person, so maybe I’d be in the same place. But I wouldn’t have had the exposure to Black writers that has inspired my own writing. I wouldn’t have book club every month with my Spelhouse friends. I wouldn’t have had my Atlanta law firm internship, one which opened my eyes to the world of law firms, that was exclusively for Spelman students. I wouldn’t have met my best friend. I wouldn’t have the words of my school’s hymn etched onto my heart and the bonds I formed at that school tethering my spirit. I wouldn’t have had to cuss the Registrar’s office out over my transcript the other day, but I digress.

HBCUs have filled a gap in Black America for over a hundred years, well before the “white world” would deign to have us in their schools. The very idea that HBCUs are subpar or irrelevant, or even that the “white world” is our goal destination, shows that the gap they fill is just as wide as ever. That’s the Black Math that ain’t adding up to me.

*Negro Spirituals is my Southern Belle euphemism for “niggas.” You can use it if you’d like. You probably will. @ me, though.


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