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Op-Ed: Black students in Californian should consider attending an HBCU

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#OpEd #Black #college students #Californian #attending #HBCU


Selecting a university is a big resolution, and every spring 1000’s of seniors throughout California commit the subsequent 4 to 6 years of their life to a brand new faculty. I hope lots of them, particularly Black college students, won’t make the identical mistake I did by ruling out all traditionally Black faculties and universities.

Whereas the Golden State boasts wealth and jobs, instructional and financial alternatives are far out of attain for most of the state’s Black residents. When Black Californians do enter into school, even at racially various establishments inside the state, they are more likely to report having experienced blatant racism, racial microaggressions, feelings of isolation and normal impressions that their establishments aren’t excited about their well-being or flourishing.

HBCUs present a substitute for that. Black Californians particularly may profit significantly from an academic surroundings that works to make sure Black scholar success and belonging, as a result of they’re a small minority of their residence state. General, Black folks in California make up solely 5% of the state’s complete inhabitants, in contrast with 13.4% nationally. And Black student enrollment at California state universities continues to decline.

There are greater than 100 designated traditionally Black faculties and universities (HBCUs) in america. Most are in southern states. California has just one, and it’s in Los Angeles: Charles R. Drew College of Medication and Science. It’s solely centered on well being and science, which could imply many highschool seniors received’t ever think about Charles R. Drew College.

As a Black former school scholar from Washington, D.C., who attended predominantly white establishments, I want I had attended an HBCU. However I purchased into the narrative of “white faculties have extra sources” and “white faculties put together you for the true world.” And so, I solely utilized to predominantly white universities. I by no means thought twice about how I might fare being “the one one” in 300-person nearly all-white lessons. I by no means totally slot in regardless of how laborious I attempted to decorate, type my hair, act and discuss in another way.

Had I attended an HBCU, I might’ve been embedded inside a various group that would additionally relate to my experiences. I might’ve been taught by professors who regarded like me. This may have made my educational experiences really feel much less like I used to be driving whereas blindfolded.

Now I’m an assistant professor of sociology at San Jose State College, and the demographics of my college students look fully completely different from these of the undergraduate lecture rooms I’d grown accustomed to prior to now. Over three-quarters of my college students are of coloration — which is much increased than for many public universities in California. I really feel I’m lastly giving again to a group of scholars who’re extra consultant of your complete nation. I additionally really feel valued in a means that I didn’t as an undergraduate and graduate scholar in largely white areas.

HBCUs function hubs for social activism and efforts towards advancing racial instructional fairness for college students of all backgrounds. In reality, latest information present that traditionally Black establishments are attracting a big proportion of non-Black college students, together with extra Asian, Latinx and international students across racial groups than ever before. Many of those college students say that they selected to enroll at HBCUs due to their campus climates, accessibility and aggressive STEM applications.

Nonetheless, HBCUs are largely ignored of conversations by way of being rated as prime school locations. In recent times, notable barrier-breaking HBCU alums like Stacy Abrams, the voting rights activist (graduate of Spelman School), and Vice President Kamala Harris (Howard College graduate) have put a few of these establishments on the map for extra folks.

In 2020, we started to see HBCUs receiving increased and much-deserved financial support. Policymakers paid extra consideration to those establishments as social points such because the homicide of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter motion raised consciousness about their missions and significance.

HBCUs ought to proceed to be acknowledged for what they do for college students and the lasting results they’ve. They supply college students one thing they’ll’t get anyplace else — an inclusive group of scholarship that celebrates the richness of the total American expertise. They’ve paved a broad avenue of entry to postsecondary training for Black college students and different college students of coloration, first-generation college students and people from low-income households.

So, whereas the talk about school worth rages on throughout this admissions cycle, I hope potential college students and their households will think about touring HBCUs on their school highway journeys. These establishments have confirmed success in making certain scholar achievement, retention and school completion.

Yolanda Wiggins is an assistant professor within the division of sociology and interdisciplinary social sciences at San José State College and a Public Voices Fellow with the Op-Ed Challenge.