The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post solely belong to Anti intellect – FUNKY DINEVA DID NOT WRITE THIS
We do not live in a post-racial society. There is no sector of our society that has not been touched by racist ideology and practice. The consequences of white supremacist thinking–the holding of White culture, White history, and White people as supreme–can be found all over our society. We would like to believe that college campuses are places in society where racism does not manifest itself. This naive belief is buttressed by the belief that racism is “stupid” and “dumb,” and that enlightened and intelligent people are less likely to be racist. This is simply untrue. Just as racism has been a daily practice and habit, it has also been a scholarly pursuit. Racism and white supremacy has more to do with ignorance rather than lack of intelligence, and many intelligent people can be ignorant.
We live in an American society that is growing increasingly digital. Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Vine are starting to consume more and more of our daily lives. We use these platforms to reflect on our lives and daily experiences and, for the most part, these musings remain benign. However, people are also using these platforms to share their ignorant thinking with the world. Not a day goes by, it seems, without someone using a social media platform to share their racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, or classist thoughts. Recently, a White student at FSU named Mandy Thurston used her Vine account to post racist comments about the prevalence of Black students on FSU’s campus. Thurston posted a picture of Black students in the Student Union with the caption, “Welcome to FAMU… I mean FSU” as the caption. While incidents like this are widespread across the college landscape, I do think this incident is an important launchpad for discussing HBCUs, PWIs, and white supremacy.
Black students at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) deserve to be there like any other student. The idea that PWI campuses belong to White students and White students alone is a white supremacist viewpoint that has been consistently challenged by Black students for decades. White students like Thurston are just going to have to accept the fact they have to share their campuses with students who are not White. If White students cannot deal with that then perhaps they should not be in college.
I also want to talk to Black students though. We have every right to attend any institution of our choosing, but we must begin to value our own institutions. One response to Thurston’s ignorant comments was, “This is why FSU even after 50 years of integration, FSU still needs organizations like the Black Student Union, Black Law Student Association, and the Dream Defenders.” This is absolutely true. Black students need Black organizations on campus that they can use to leverage their collective power on campus. I would have also liked to see the need for HBCUs mentioned in response to Thurston’s comments. Black students do not just need Black organizations on White campuses, Black students also need Black colleges.
White students have no issue believing in the superiority of PWIs, but Black students are often torn when it comes to HBCUs. White supremacy has continually messaged to us that HBCUs are inferior institutions. Stereotypes like HBCUs lack diversity, HBCUs are party schools, and HBCUs provide inferior educations all exist to keep Black students privileging White colleges and universities over Black ones. Sadly, most Black students look down on HBCUs. We are often taught to praise PWIs. It’s actually a wonder that any Black students attend HBCUs, considering the near societal-wide contempt for HBCUs. We are taught to have contempt for HBCUs because people have contempt for Black people and Black students. It all flows from the same white supremacist source.
As Toni Morrison says, “There are many ways to destabilize racism.” It is important for Black students to have organizations on PWI campuses and it is equally important, if not more important, for Black students to value HBCUs. We need both of these things at work to deal with the Mandy Thurston’s of the world.
FSU and FAMU Alums and students are calling and emailing appropriate officials demanding that the student be put on probation and the University come up with an updated diversity policy/action plan. Contact numbers are below. Please share with other Alums.
Dean of Students:
Student Affairs and President’s office numbers: 850-644-1085, 850-644-4989.
NOTE: Funky Dineva a graduate of FSU- Anti Intellect a graduate of FAMU