PWIs Claiming To Be HBCUs The New Trend In Cultural Appropriation?


Before you try come at me sideways trying to debate about PWIs and HBCUs let me share these brief disclaimers:

1. I am not here to debate on whether HBCUs or PWIs are better

2. I am in fact not an “angry” HBCU student who “can’t take a joke”

3. I know the definition of Cultural Appropriation, so please don’t try to inform me with your googled definitions

Now back to my article… It all began Tuesday Evening November 7, 2017 when I saw that UNT was trending on my timeline for claiming to be an HBCU during their durag day and other homecoming festivities. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen topics like this trending and we definitely all are familiar with the never ending controversial debate over PWIs and HBCUs, if you aren’t familiar with this particular incident here’s some tweets to catch you up to speed


I normally don’t get involved in these debates because I find it to be very pointless, but for some reason I just couldn’t shake this one. There were a few topics I would like to shed insight on after going through these tweets.

First off, There are  roughly 7.1 billion people in the world and 1.3  billion are black. As my psychology teacher Dr. Wilson once told me this means, “there are 1.3 billion ways to be black. ” Further meaning, going to an HBCU or PWI doesn’t make you any more or less better or blacker than the next black person and if you’r a person who claims that it does you simply need help.

Second, HBCUs were not created to set the academic bar lower than PWIs or make it easier for blacks to enroll. They were created because whites didn’t want us around them, so we had to create schools for us and by us. As a result, it is ignorant to say that majority of HBCU students attend HBCUs because it was a last resort, or that it was the only school we could make it in to. Granted, this may be the case for some and maybe our GPA, and test score requirements might be lower than our counterparts, but for individuals like myself who graduated with honors, or top 10% of their classes, and got accepted to every school (pwi and hbcu) they applied to, it’s very degrading to make that assumption. People choose HBCUs for a number of reasons, and those choices should never be downplayed.

Third, the jokes are simply just getting old. To make all these jokes about HBCUs(when you don’t attend),  then to  claim that your black community at PWIs makes it an HBCU, then to write it off as “its just a joke” when people get offended is no different than other races wanting to say the N word as a joke or seeing it as just a word. Just like we don’t truly understand the struggles or advantages of other races, HBCU students don’t understand the struggles and advantages of PWI students just as PWI students don’t understand the struggles and advantages of attending HBCUs. So, instead of making jokes about one another we should try and help each other out and unite th.

In closing, this debate is tired and pointless. Instead of feeding into Inter/intra racial stereotypes, the ideas of PTSS (post traumatic slave syndrome) and dividing our race over issues as such, we need to come together and celebrate the advancement and achievements of our race as a whole and stop trying to find ways to set ourselves apart, because as we continue to divide ourselves we leave room for others to come in, conquer and capitalize off of our weaknesses, we diminish the value and seriousness of our culture, and as a result we become the joke to others when we argue about how black we are, or anything else that falls into this debate…

Rachel Williams48 Posts

Rachel is a 21 year old Management Major at Prairie View A&M University and aspires to one day own her own event planning company. Rachel has a passion for community involvement and uses blogging as an outlet to voice her opinions and inform the public about topics pertaining to religion, relationships, health, beauty, fitness, music, and other "trending topics" from an open and relatable perspective. She just recently started her own website called "Don't Forget The A", a blog and a brand that encourages individuality, confidence and healthy living as well as focusing on the importance of living to make a difference through giving back and leaving a legacy. She plans to earn her Masters in Public Administration to help her advance her career in community engagement and event planning.


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