By: Krystle Crossman
It has always been hard for black students to get a fair shake at colleges and universities. Educational standards are better today than they were before however. Before 1964 there were colleges created to help ease racism in institutions of higher education. They are now called historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. There are 107 HBCUs in the United States today but there are misconceptions about these institutions that make people feel as though they are not necessary or that they are harmful to education. Here are five misconceptions and the real truths behind them according to Huffington Post editor Taryn Finley:
1. If you go to an HBCU you will not be as prepared for post-grad life – False! Studies from the Gallup-USA Funds Minority College Graduates Report showed that HBCU students actually felt more prepared when they stepped out into the world after graduating. Edna Medford, a historian and professor at Howard University, stated that HBCUs teach their students about their chosen fields and professions as well as valuable life skills. Medford says that they teach them about giving back to the community and fostering relationships with others. Studies have shown that HBCU students are happier in the jobs that they have after graduating than their counterparts who have attended predominantly white schools (PWIs).
2. HBCUs are racist against anyone who isn’t black – There is diversity among the student bodies of HBCUs. They do not exclude other races and do not give them less of an education if they aren’t black. These schools were built to break down the racism and segregation that was happening in colleges at the time.
3. HBCUs are no longer relevant because the racism that was around when they were built no longer exists – Racism is still alive and well. Stereotypes can destroy the experience for a black student. Teachers and other students will look down on them and feel like they are not good enough to be at the college and they will not get a fair shake like white students do. This is still a problem today and one of the biggest reasons that HBCUs are still very relevant. They create a safe environment for black students to learn.
4. There is no diversity at HBCUs – At Howard University in Washington DC there are students from over 70 different countries attending. They come from all over the world and many are not black. Most of the HBCUs are predominantly black however there are some schools such as Bluefield State College and the University of Missouri that now have more white students than black ones.
5. The education that students receive at HBCUs is not adequate – Did you know that Oprah Winfrey, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Phylicia Rashad all attended HBCUs? Did you know that HBCUs produce more black doctorate degree students than PWIs? The education that is given at HBCUs often surpasses that of PWIs. Black students get to learn more about black history. They are given important life skills that are not taught in many other institutions.