I do my best to stay out of the never-ending PWI-vs.-HBCU debate, if for no other reason than that it can’t be “won.” The truth is, as a black person, there are perceived advantages and perhaps disadvantages to attending either one. My take is, go to whatever school you think is best for you and/or gives scholarship money. Sallie Mae ain’t no joke. The. End.
Whichever type of institution you choose to matriculate at—historically black college or predominantly white institution—it’s accepted that there will be vast differences between the experiences. Hence all the debates. And that’s why I was surprised to see an article over at Blavity by a black author equating her experience attending a PWI with attending an HBCU.
Before the article was edited because of reader backlash (you can see remnants of the original content quoted in the comments section), writer Sesali Bowen explained that she attended a large white university with a black population larger than those at some HBCUs. She spoke of chicken and spades tournaments being official events, the sale of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on campus, and black homecoming events as evidence that she didn’t miss out culturally by attending a PWI.
If you just rolled your eyes, you had about the same reaction of everyone in the comments section. They were unmerciful about the original article.
“[W]hat you explained was nothing close to a HBCU experience sis,” wrote commenter Nallah Brown, who identifies herself as a graduate of Florida A&M University. “Seems like you have something to prove in this post? I am not sure why people have lately been trying to claim this HBCU lifestyle at a ‘PWI’, but it’s totally out of context and wrong. It’s like apples and oranges[;] they are not close to the same experience and that is okay.”
I’m with Brown, even if I didn’t attend an HBCU. In fact, my college experiences are closer to Bowden’s. I attended two PWIs, and while I loved my college experiences, never, ever would I equate them with being anything close to an HBCU experience.
Read more at The Root.