Everything I Hated About My Experience At a PWI

Onyx Contributor:  Asher Primus

I regret going to a predominantly white institution (PWI), granted I did meet good people who were black, white and other.  The four years of being in that institution help mold me for better or worst.

It all began freshman year in one of my communication classes I was taught by a racist liberal and to make matters seemingly worse, I was the only black student in the class.  I add seemingly because after I got to know some of them, some of them ended up being good friends.  My white peers treated me with respect unlike my professor.  One highlighted moment with her was when she was drawing stick figures, assuming that (with me being black) I would be offended at stick figures, yes stick figures!  She drew in the figures darkening their faces to appear as black people.  Her whitesplaining of an issue that was that big of deal led her to say, ”…and now we have a minority.”  The class gasped at the insensitivity of her comment.  Luckily, she is no longer a professor at my school due to multiple complicates and her unprofessionalism.  Yet, every blue moon she would come to my job and act as if she was my favorite professor.

Among white students, I never had to deal with racism directly, but since Trump became President white republicans and nationalists have made it known that they were not too fond of interracial dating, Muslims and immigration.  I found white students a bit confusing to understand that their dislike for immigration and Muslims would affect their friends, since some of them are non-black POC.  Other than black, Indians made up a decent percent of the minority population at school, but they identified with white as some of them perfected a southern dialect or joined white Greek organizations.  I met one mixed girl of white and Hispanic (as in from Spain) descent.  She was a Trump supporter.  She and I argued many times over racial and social politics as I had to remind her that she is not considered white by her peers.  Prior, she told that her racist white peers would asked if she was mixed with black, regardless white people did not always accept her with open arms.

When it came to the school’s activism, I felt black organizations were growing, yet the work and promotion was minimal.  At best, people showed up for talent & fashion shows and relationship forums.  I did join some organizations, but I left as it felt more as a meet and greet rather than activism that could make headlines.  Most of the students hated school and once class was over they would go home or go to work.  At best, Black Greeks were very visible, yet my criticism with them is that they were rarely serious in organizing black students to mobilize social changes especially on campus.  Rather around the afternoon, the campus stereos would blast loud music and a quick outside party would commence.  At times, the BBQ parties were at the weirdest times and would coincide with other events and incidences.  In one minor incidence, the Black Greek life interrupted a military ceremony and were ordered to cut the music.  Before that minor incident, a weird one occurred as pro-life activists came to campus spreading awareness of racism, Jewish & African genocide and how reading bias stats implied that black men are leading in abortion.  Sarcastically, I did not know white people cared and wanted black people around.  Meanwhile, the Black Greeks were listening to loud music and dancing not too far from the pro-life protest.  It was a weird and uncomfortable mix lead by white people.  Many black students were confused on how serious white people were for our lives, while in turn most danced and cared nothing about the issue.

Yet, the most dangerous time Black Greeks had a BBQ was during my last semester.  As usual, most students would chill at the student center forming cliques with each other to appear cool.  During the BBQ, white nationalists infiltrated the campus spreading xenophobic rhetoric, shaming interracial dating, immigration, Jews, LGBT and BLM.  Of course, most black students were not even aware after the fact, yet the people who were most offended and worked on finding the culprit were those in the LGBT community.  I appreciated them as an ally, but I was disappointed that this happened on campus and black students refused to do anything about it.

It got worse when I was on Facebook.  A friend of mine was debating a white racist who is supposed to be his friend on the topic of BLM (yes, cue in the overused Bill O’Reilly talking-points of terrorism and black-on-black crime in Chicago).  What made me lose it was the discovery of his black girlfriend who is in a black sorority.  While her racist boyfriend attacks black men for being killed while unarmed, he raves on how black women are beautiful and how their hair is magical.  I knew the activism at my school was lazy, but this was a key sign that black students at PWI’s are not trying to rock the boat or make noise.  The school has a major problem with racism and not connecting with its black students all but falls on deaf ears.

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