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Gently Please - Is this Racist?


goldberry
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Many of the automatic scholarships that DD qualifies for are at predominantly black colleges, where she would be the minority.  I felt an initial reluctance toward that, then tried to analyse why.  After talking with DH, we both agreed that there are disadvantages to being a minority.  DD is not even sure she wants to go away to school, because of being away from friends and family and having to create a new support system.  It would seem to me that would be harder being the minority, and might be a stressful addition that she doesn't need..

 

No, I don't think she needs to be in a predominantly white college, in fact she would fit in wonderfully with a very diversified group.  But these colleges are not very diverse, but predominantly black, which seems like a different dynamic.

 

DD said I was being racist.  (She is not the greatest yet at assessing her own emotional strengths and weaknesses, and frequently thinks she is more "together" than I see her.  I know she would have a real challenge just being away, regardless of the minority issue.)

 

I have gained some great perspective here over the years, so thought I would ask your for input.  Are these legitimate concerns or no?

 

Please be gentle though, I'm asking because I try to inspect myself occasionally for unconscious attitudes.

 

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There is a predominantly black university by us that I thought might be a good fit for my oldest. She was familiar with the campus because she had done volunteer work and fundraisers there.

 

A friend who is a high school principal told me it was a horrible idea. He said she would be bullied for being smart and white.

 

I don't know if he was right or just being fearful.

Edited by amy g.
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I don't think it's racist when black people send their children to black colleges.

 

I don't think your reasoning is racist.  Being the "minority majority" can be a unique challenge; some people are up to it and will benefit themselves and the group; others, not so much.  You think your daughter won't like it; enrolling just to find out seems like a bad idea.  Maybe she could attend a summer program at the college and see how she feels.

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No, I don't think you're being racist.    I think it's a legit concern; it's one a whole lot of people who are in a minority group have to face all the time, right? 

 

Pick based on the specific school's culture (beyond "predominantly black" or "not predominantly black" - all schools are their own world.)

 

Good luck.

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I don't think you are being racist. You have very valid concerns, but unfortunately she might not be able to understand it until she experiences it. It is hard to be a minority... regardless of what race/color/ethnicity you are...it does have many disadvantages.

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i think it's a really practical consideration, and I would treat it that way.  I would want to know what the experience of being there was typically like for white students. That's a subjective question of course, but a lot of negative answers would be telling, as would a lot of positive ones.  In between, you would need to think what was being said, but it could still be helpful.

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How diverse are DD's current friends?  Has she visited any of these potential colleges? 

 

We lived in a very diverse area until DD was 5-6, and she had diverse friends.  Now we live in a not-very-diverse area.  Her peer group is limited because there just isn't much of a diverse population here.  No, no visits yet, we are trying to wean down choices.  None of them are close.

 

 

 

 It is hard to be a minority... regardless of what race/color/ethnicity you are...it does have many disadvantages.

 

That is our reasoning. I was just surprised when she threw racist out at me, and wanted to look at it honestly.  

 

I don't think she has the experience to evaluate the situation.

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I'm sure google can help you here. Your daughter wouldn't be the ONLY white student at these schools, would she? If there are others, some of them must have written about their experiences and posted it on the internet somewhere.

 

Or you could go the old-fashioned route: Contact the schools directly with your concerns, ask if they can direct you to some students to speak to. Naturally, they're likely to pick students who will give a favorable outlook, but it still gives you a place to start.

 

If you've narrowed it down to just a few schools, you can visit them, just as you probably plan to do anyway, and see what the reaction is to your daughter on campus, get a feel for things.

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A friend who is a high school principal told me it was a horrible idea. He said she would be bullied for being smart and white.

 

Unless that college has actually an actually awful academic ranking, I'll go with "not accurate, and more than a whiff of racist". And really, what would he know of it? Does he send many students on to that school?

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I don't think it's racist as much as I do a mom's worry about her child in any situation where she's a minority (ethnic or otherwise).

 

I'm Asian. I live in the Bible Belt in a small semi-rural town. The most recent census stats put us at 97% White.  I have darker skin so I'm most commonly mistaken for the Other White Meat (Mexican). Given that this is an affluent town, the assumption by 90% of those White folks is that we brown folks are here to landscape or clean their homes. Even that isn't racist to me, it's ignorance. Racism would be when they follow me around the store making sure I don't steal anything, or pull me over for no reason because I'm driving a luxury brand car in my sweat suit (never mind that the white ladies live in lounge wear about town - hey, this is reminding me of the What's Trashy when you're poor tangent on another thread ....)

 

My ex-husband used to say I was seeing things that didn't exist. But then he did back-to-back tours in Japan and Korea. And it happened to be during a time when the US military was under scrutiny. Locals were protesting and soldiers were put on a curfew. My husband lived on the economy and was regularly harassed on the subway for no reason other than he was clearly identifiable as a non-local, White man. And suddenly his eyes were opened to a whole new world. He finally recognized that racism exists.

 

Racism has its roots in fear, but I think a deeper intent is what truly dictates what is - and isn't - racist. 

 

Can you name your biggest concern or fear? You mentioned her being at a disadvantage ... in what sense - socially? academically? Many times minority groups initially cluster together; she might be at a stronger social advantage if this holds true for her and the other non-Blacks get tight fast. But even if they don't, is this an experience that can benefit your daughter?

 

Look, I rarely have a choice about whether or not to be an ethnic minority :lol: but I can say that for every one time I walk into a situation where others make me FEEL my minority status, there are three more situations I walk in to where my ethnicity is just as obvious but nobody cares beyond touching my hair and asking if its real LOL. I imagine your daughter would discover and feel the same - that there are those who will distance, but more who will accept her.

 

I think you're more worried as a mom, maybe even ignorant (in your concern) but I don't think you're racist for feeling the way you do. If you were racist, you wouldn't even give your feelings a second thought ... or your daughter the option to attend those colleges.

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Many of the automatic scholarships that DD qualifies for are at predominantly black colleges, where she would be the minority. 

 

I am curious why your dd (who I gather is not a minority?) qualifies for scholarships at HBCUs, and whether whatever that reason is might mitigate her "minority" status/experience?

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It's not racist to ask what her experience would be like at the school. Racist would be not wanting her to be there be because there are too many black people.

 

I was the only white student in an 800-900 student elementary school. It was very isolating. Obviously college is very different, but I don't think you are wrong to be concerned about her acceptance and social experience.

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Can you name your biggest concern or fear? You mentioned her being at a disadvantage ... in what sense - socially? academically? Many times minority groups initially cluster together; she might be at a stronger social advantage if this holds true for her and the other non-Blacks get tight fast. But even if they don't, is this an experience that can benefit your daughter?

 

 

 

Social disadvantage is my concern.  However, DD is an extremely social extrovert, and not someone who would just bury her head in a book and be okay with being "outside" the social circle.  She needs people and much of her general happiness depends on her social circle. 

 

Also, she has frankly never been around any serious racism.  We discuss things, but on a personal level none of our friends are like that, and since our population isn't that diverse she hasn't seen much first hand.  She has rose-colored glasses to a certain extent and thinks of course it would be fine!  Everybody will love me and we'll all be best friends! Now maybe that will happen.  But if it doesn't and she has a possible rude awakening about what it really is like to be the minority, I don't see her being very happy in that circumstance.

 

If she is already dealing with the challenge of first year college, plus insecurity about leaving home, making new friends, etc., I just really don't want to add anything on top of it.  

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I grew up being white in majority black schools, though my high school had no majority (lots of asian, hispanic, white, and black students). It is a different experience, but different isn't always bad. I went to a majority white college and felt out of place a lot of the time. I wouldn't rule out HBCs, but Iwould look for blogs and such that will give an idea of campus culture. A long weekend on campus would also be a good idea.

It's not racist to consider this aspect of culture, but maybe your daughter felt you were rejecting them sight unseen?

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I am curious why your dd (who I gather is not a minority?) qualifies for scholarships at HBCUs, and whether whatever that reason is might mitigate her "minority" status/experience?

 

Test scores.  The colleges in question have 75-95% black population. They are not excluding other races. Perhaps they want to increase their diversity also?

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I don't think it's racist.

 

DH and I and our kids are white. Our neighborhood is about 75 % black, 20 % Mexican and 5 % white.

 

I know some people think it's racist to notice that different races have different ways about them or to even notice someone's race but its true. Black and white people do not have the same culture. People don't treat us poorly here but it will never not be an uphill battle to fit in. It's worth considering.

 

Different people are better at handling being the odd one.

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You're asking, is it racist to believe that being a distinct minority will add stress to the college experience? No, I don't think so.

 

I grew up in what I now realize was a magically diverse neighborhood. My neighborhood group of kids was Mexican, black, Japanese, Filipino, white, Persian, you name it. My best friend was black and I grew up being very comfortable in that culture. I really, truly mourn that my kids haven't experienced the same thing. I had no idea how rare that was and how hard it would be to replicate outside of living in a community like that. 

 

I would send my kids anywhere that was a good fit, that they could see themselves thriving, that had the academic programs that they need, and could financially work. I wouldn't eliminate a school where they would be in the minority solely based on that, but I also wouldn't pretend like it wasn't going to effect their experience. It's not racist to recognize that being in the minority changes things. 

 

I have a kid who overestimates herself and she crashed and burned this last year (her freshman year of college). CRASHED and BURNED. I totally get your position. You are trying to anticipate her weaknesses. My suggestion would be to drop it. If she wants to pursue the school, do a visit. See if they have an overnight/dorm visit. Let her do the heavy lifting. My guess is she'll probably drop it.

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Yes, in a way I think so.  But this isn't to say I think you are being horrible and hateful and completely irrational. 

 

I went to a state university with a fairly diverse population, but it was mostly white.  The one semester I lived in the dorm I happened to live in a section of the dorm where I was one of the few white people.  It was not a problem at all.  If it helps at all, most college students want to be there.  They have put in some sort of effort to be there.  This isn't like being thrown into an inner city school in some parts of Detroit.  So if you are imagining that, it won't be like that.  I don't know if that helps.

 

 

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A diverse neighborhood is not the same thing as a school that was originally designed as a haven for people who weren't allowed to attend other colleges.

 

Does the school have a specialty she really wants? Or is she going solely because they give the most scholarship money? And is it a scholarship specifically for attracting diversity?

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A diverse neighborhood is not the same thing as a school that was originally designed as a haven for people who weren't allowed to attend other colleges.

 

Does the school have a specialty she really wants? Or is she going solely because they give the most scholarship money? And is it a scholarship specifically for attracting diversity?

 

It would be for the money.  Her area is widely available.  

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What is the graduation rate of students at this college? I have read about some historically black colleges that have graduation rates under 20%. I realize poor students may drop out because of money issues, but I remember reading about one college in particular that had average verbal + math SAT scores of about 800. I have to figure that many of the students that dropped out of a school like that left because they weren't anywhere near ready for college material. I wouldn't encourage anyone to attend a school that is basically a drop-out factory.

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Honestly ? It's good to step out of your all-white norm. Dd, for example, and deliberately chose a university that is both working class and has a non-white, non-Christian majority. 

 

She is mixed race though. And she lives at home. And we have deliberately chosen to live in diverse communities her whole life. So maybe not a shock to the system.

 

Your white dd will never have the same problems being a temporary 'minority' being white in a majority black environment as a black girl in a white environment. I do think it's somewhat (unconscious, implicitly) biased to consider those as being at all comparable. 

 

I wouldn't make a decision based on numbers at all. I think that is biased. I would make a decision on campus visits and other campus info and general fit. Trust me, there will be majority white campuses where she feels uncomfortable. It's not a black thing. 

 

I don't think your questions and concerns scream Raving Racism - but we all have unconscious biases, and in your shoes, I'd consider that mine might be affecting my concerns re how black a campus is. 

 

I would prepare a white child of mine for life on a majority black campus by making sure she knows that she may feel uncomfortable at times. Not because of her fellow students, but because her privilege will be less than it would be on an all white or diverse campus. Not gone...less. And that she would have to work out a way to deal. And hopefully, to learn from it. 

 

I won't be responding to anyone other than the OP in this thread, so if anyone wants to jump down my throat, feel free, but you won't get a response.

 

There's nothing to jump on that I see. :) I appreciate the perspective.  I agree there would be some positives to it, and that she could experience problems at other colleges.  Sassenach really summed up my concerns though.  The added stress to a kid who is very susceptible to social stress that I am already a little worried about being overwhelmed. 

 

 

 

You're asking, is it racist to believe that being a distinct minority will add stress to the college experience? No, I don't think so.

 

 

I have a kid who overestimates herself and she crashed and burned this last year (her freshman year of college). CRASHED and BURNED. I totally get your position. You are trying to anticipate her weaknesses. 

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An HBCU came to my high school specifically to recruit non-black students who enjoyed diversity (as well as black students, of course). This was a University with a solid academic reputation. I would check to see if the colleges in question were recruiting both black and non-black students. If not, I would guess the environment might feel less welcoming.

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I don't think it is racist to consider the possibility that being a minority when she is used to being in the majority may feel uncomfortable. I think it would be racist if you dismissed the college and its program as a possibility because it is a historically black college. Is the program at the college the best one for her interests, your budget, and your other circumstances? If it is, then being a little uncomfortable sometimes should not be a big deal. There's different types of being uncomfortable- being uncomfortable because you can't afford the other programs as easily, because they are not academically as good of a fit, or because they are too far away or something, are all more serious concerns, IMO. No college will be without some discomfort. The discomfort of being the minority may fade as she makes friends and gets used to the environment. Discomfort because of some other reasons may not go away as easily.

Edited by Paige
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I don't think it's racist.  It would be racist if you automatically ruled those schools out w/o even considering them. You're not doing that. So not racist.

 

FWIW, my nephew (Caucasian) commutes to a historically black college. He didn't want to leave home/his job, it's within commuting distance and has a strong program in his area. He's enjoyed his experience there. It's 82 percent black/Aftrican American.

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I think you and your daughter both have a point. I mean, the money would be nice and she would learn so much in that environment that she wouldn't learn elsewhere. It could serve her well for the rest of her life. I can also see where a mother would want to make things as easy as possible for her child since the change of leaving home might be enough culture shock out of the gate. I can actually see my daughter, who grew up in a diverse neughborhood doing well in that environment. My nieces, who grew up in a back-woods mainly-white locale would not do very well. The social learning curve would be too steep for them since they're mostly ignorant of more subtle forms of racism.

 

Let her take a tour.

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How would I ever find that out?

I think it would be perfectly fine for you to contact the admissions office and ask.  I can't imagine that the school hasn't fielded similar questions before. You can simply explain your situation and ask about the experience of white students at their historically black school.  

 

Also-check College Confidential.  There must be a thread there.

 

You are not racist.  Well-scratch that.  All of us have implicit bias that we do not consciously control.  But you are definitely doing the right thing to try to find a comfortable situation for you daughter.  

 

Let me also just point out that your instincts are probably right-some kids navigate a social situation like being a racial minority without difficulty, some can't manage it.  I have two kids who've attended public schools in which they were racial minorities.  One was flummoxed, the other has been fine.  I think having the social skills to handle this situation is not universal amongst young adults.  

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I think, at this point in the game, if a school is potentially financially feasible, potentially academically feasible (acceptance-wise), and has an appropriate course of study, then it should be on the "visit, might apply" list.    Based on the concerns you've described, I wouldn't take a college off the table at this point in the process.  Look at a wide variety of possibilities.  You don't have to make an attendance decision until almost a year from now.  At that point you will have visited several schools, and will have an idea of how the expenses will play out with the various colleges on your list.  When you have more information, you'll be better equipped to make a decision based on the broad picture of pros and cons, including the trade-off between a school with a lower price and any down sides to that school compared to one that will be more expensive.  Just make sure you have a good Plan B school if the HBCU, even with the lower price, doesn't seem like it will be a good fit.

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The question I would ask myself is whether I would feel the same if the school was predominately hispanic or Asian or any other race where a white student would be a minority. 

 

I can honestly answer yes. It's the possibly dynamics that concern me. Again, I also wouldn't mind if whites were a minority, but the remainder of the population was made up of various ethnicities rather than mainly one.  

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I don't think it's racist to be concerned about being the minority. I had the same feeling about not wanting to raise my kids in Utah being a religious minority, and I imagine similar concerns on a campus as a minority, particularly in a historically black college where there will, for sure, be significant pressure on black men to date black women and *not* date white women. So, if your dd would want to date, her options would be limited and/or controversial. 

 

If you didn't want her to go there because you didn't want her dating black men or didn't want her associating with blacks, then, yes, that's racist. But wanting your dd to avoid the potentially negative issues of being a minority isn't racist; it's just protective. I personally wouldn't *insist* dd not consider the schools, but I'd *insist* she consider your concerns seriously and investigate the issues. Campus visits might be very helpful. 

 

Check out college confidential for the campuses you are considering and see if you can find some answers to your concerns. For me, if the campus had at least 10-20% white/asian/non-black, then I'd guess that there'd be enough non-controversial-datable men and non-blacks for your dd not to feel totally isolated, but if it's 1-5%, then I'd be more seriously concerned.

 

And, to be clear, personally, I am all for interracial/race-blind dating/marriage, and I would have zero negative feelings about my white kid dating someone from another race. I am bringing the dating issue up just because I am well aware that in the black community, there is a serious issue about black men dating white women, *especially* the college educated black men, who are very outnumbered by college educated black women. A white girl on campus taking 1) money/scholarships and 2) a college-student black man might face some serious negative feedback. I don't judge whether that is right or not; I'm not a minority and can't understand . . .  But if that is a big issue on campus that your dd might face, then it's a big issue to consider, right or wrong. I would *guess* that is less of a problem for white *men*, but I am not certain . . . The M/F ratios on the campus might give you some insight. If they are fairly even, it might be a big issue for both genders, but if there is a gender imbalance, then that might further complicate issues. 

 

These issues are so hard!! Good luck!

 

Be sure to look at Univ. of Alabama if you haven't already. They have some very nice automatic scholarships (full tuition above a certain test score/grade level) and the campus is diverse and lovely. My dd is very happy there. 

Edited by StephanieZ
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I can honestly answer yes. It's the possibly dynamics that concern me. Again, I also wouldn't mind if whites were a minority, but the remainder of the population was made up of various ethnicities rather than mainly one.  

 

I think that's fair.

 

I wouldn't feel comfortable at a university with a predominantly wealthy population.  Does this make me classist?  Probably.  But there are all kinds of situations that could make us uncomfortable.  I don't hate people with money.  I just wonder if I'd be comfortable.

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I took some summer classes at a HBC in my hometown one summer when I was trying to get some extra credits. I was the only white student in the class. I had no issue with my fellow students. I did have a really bad time with the professor, however. He pulled me aside after an oral exam (it was a French class) and said racist things to me about the students in the class. It was extremely EXTREMELY awkward. It was like - oh you're white so I can say racist stuff now.

 

He was from Africa, and "explained" to me how he wasn't "like those 'African Americans'" and then spouted a lot of crap.

 

So, that was my experience. Not positive at all. It was probably a fluke, but I wouldn't encourage my children to go to a HBC.

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I attended an all white, private elementary school and grew up in my early years in an all white county (yes, they still existed into the early 80's - shocker). But then I attended a majority black middle school and then, once I finished college, I spent time taking graduate courses at a historically black university where I was one of only a handful of white students in my courses. My high school and college were both pretty diverse, but more white.

 

The experiences I had being a minority in an institution are experiences I'm so, so glad I had. Along with having lived abroad and been a white person in a non-white country, these are experiences that really shaped my feelings about race. I think they were all experiences where that element was unequivocally good for me just as a person to have experienced. This is a super shallow measure, but sometimes there are those privilege quizzes online and I often score way lower (as in less privileged than I know I absolutely am) and it's because many of those experiences skew the results, which I think is sort of good - I think it means, okay, I've had a more well rounded experience in life.

 

I get taking it into account. At one point, when my boys would have been starting kindy, if I had sent them to their assigned school, they would have been the only white kids in their class, which - it was never really on the table that they go there as we decided before they were born that we hoped to homeschool them - but it was something that didn't feel right to me at all to send them into. If we had needed to do public school, we would have tried for a charter, many of which are much more diverse and I would have been comfortable with one more like my own middle school experience - majority non-white, but with a sizable group of white students. It would have reflected our neighborhood better too.

 

So, I get it being a concern. I don't think it's racist to think about it. But I'd also think about what Sadie said about how it's good to get out of your comfort zone, especially for white people because we don't have to as often. It's our privilege to choose not to get out of our comfort zone if we don't feel like it. And not doing it isn't racist, but there's a lot to be potentially gained when we do.

 

In the end, like a couple of other people have said, I'd decide based on visiting the campus, talking to people there, the programs, the costs, etc. etc.

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 Be sure to look at Univ. of Alabama if you haven't already. They have some very nice automatic scholarships (full tuition above a certain test score/grade level) and the campus is diverse and lovely. My dd is very happy there. 

 

And the University of Alabama in Huntsville for the same reasons. Bonus - WTM board kids at each school! 

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I always check out the libraries when I travel. About 20 years ago, pre kids, I was near a college I had not heard of and was using their library, it was a great library. I was happily looking at all the phonics research they had for a long time, including a book I could not find anywhere else that I had been looking for and had been temped to buy but it was really expensive. After going up to the 3rd floor to check out some magazine articles, I realized I was the only white person in the library. I was focused on the books, not the people or the artwork, LOL, which would have given me a clue if I had been paying attention.

 

I realized at this point that I was probably at a Historically Black College. I wondered if I was welcome, but remembered that no one had stared at me weirdly and I did want to finish taking notes on the really expensive book, so I finished up my research. On my way out, I looked around more and everyone was friendly. I get very focused on books...

 

Walk around campus, check out the library, see how the atmosphere feels. The library was very studious and welcoming, but this was years ago. I looked young enough to be a college student but I think they had less white students back then.

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I was thinking about the "is it racist" element of this question and I wanted to add that I think one of the more anti-racist things we can do as white people is ask these questions and just awkwardly stumble through actually talking about it.

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Google "white students hbcu" and you will get some articles and forum posts from students who have done it. 

 

Thanks for this suggestion!  Wealth of information and some very thought provoking stories.  Many seem to think it was a transformative experience in their lives.

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Social disadvantage is my concern.  However, DD is an extremely social extrovert, and not someone who would just bury her head in a book and be okay with being "outside" the social circle.  She needs people and much of her general happiness depends on her social circle. 

 

Also, she has frankly never been around any serious racism.  We discuss things, but on a personal level none of our friends are like that, and since our population isn't that diverse she hasn't seen much first hand.  She has rose-colored glasses to a certain extent and thinks of course it would be fine!  Everybody will love me and we'll all be best friends! Now maybe that will happen.  But if it doesn't and she has a possible rude awakening about what it really is like to be the minority, I don't see her being very happy in that circumstance.

 

If she is already dealing with the challenge of first year college, plus insecurity about leaving home, making new friends, etc., I just really don't want to add anything on top of it.  

 

Very understandable - especially if she's not geographically close to home and a comfort zone.

 

When my husband was overseas in a non-white country, he experienced this. He's an easy-going, fun-loving guy but he just couldn't break this crowd. And some of that was because in addition to being a different race, he just wasn't keyed in to the local (ethnic) culture. Now he was willing to learn, but few people cared to take the time to take him under their wing. It was easier to laugh or tease him. And even when that was well-meaning enough, it still stung a guy who was used to people liking him.

 

After a few months, and definitely by the end of the first tour, he had a better feel for the lay of the land. He began peppering his speech with local words and phrases, he had picked up on some of the cultural customs (exchanging money, removing shoes) and incorporated them into his habits. And still he couldn't win! Some appreciated his effort but still smiled as if they were seeing a six year old girl all dressed up in her mama's wedding dress; others found offense to what they considered a type of appropriation or bastardization of their ways. He was damned if he did, damned if he didn't.

 

It's hard enough to go through that as it is, much less IN ADDITION TO typical freshman stress and moving away from home. I hope you're able to find a summer program or even take a long visit to the campus before it's time to commit. Most campus cultures reveal themselves early and I bet it wouldn't take long for you both to get a better assessment of what she might expect there.

Good luck with the college decision, and congratulations on her academic successes thus far!

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I think there are two distinct ideas at work here. Yes, thinking that she will have a negative experience as the minority skin color because she will not have things in commom enough to find peers is racist. However, it might also be accurate.

 

We live in a racist world. Black lives matter is openly up for debate. The lives of many of these college students might be directly tainted by horrible things which have happened to them. They might take that out on your daughter. Statistics say that many black families live in lower income brackets than white families. Many live in a different sub culture. That is honest. That is accurate. It is also proof of our racist system.

 

Just think, you are having to consider how another mother feels about MOST of the colleges her son/daughter will attend only because he or she has dark skin.

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College is an extremely important investment.

 

I think wondering whether your child will be able to handle the difficulty that comes with being a minority when you have a choice is not racist.

 

It would be racist to unkindly dismiss the similar concerns of black parents as "unjustified" (or rather... hypocritical... or both). This is a great opportunity to think of how every single parent of a racial minority feels: "Will there be more racism? What if he goes down South? What if there are no other black kids in his classes in the Northwest?" Those are legitimate concerns black parents may have. It would be racist to dismiss them. It's not racist to share them.

 

You question whether your daughter has shown the character that will pull her through an already difficult challenge, made more difficult by choosing a place where she's a minority. I think that's a wise consideration.

 

And I won't deny that I might be racist in my evaluation of the college, either. It's one thing to acknowledge that one has implicit bias and another to think, "Am I a racist for wanting the best fit when I'm spending upwards of $80k over 4 years?"

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Man, I lost my whole response!  That's what I get for trying to sweep a hair off of a touch screen.  :glare:

 

Trying to boil down...  I think it was Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria that touched on white students' experiences at predominantly/historically black colleges.  The gist was that, while not overtly discriminatory, it's probably common for white students to be somewhat overlooked in a setting where most students are immersing themselves in their culture and developing their racial identity.  Especially when many of the students have lacked that opportunity for most of their lives.

 

It does reverse roles and, while I think it could be an amazing experience, I doubt it's the right one for just any white kid.  If I had doubts about my child's ability to do well academically while facing potential social challenges, I'd probably look elsewhere.  If I had an extreme introvert or maybe an extreme extrovert, I might not worry quite as much.

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On the being a minority part- I think that some people can thrive in that situation and that most everyone who is usually in the majority benefits from spending some time in the minority.

 

I grew up in the majority in every way as a child. As soon as I turned 18 I started to choose to be in places where I wasn't and that has made a huge and positive difference in my life.

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I recently met a black man from Africa who did his undergrad degree at a black college in the US.  He felt very out of place and never made friends.  Obviously it wasn't the color of his skin that was the issue. 

 

I suspect that some colleges that are set up for a certain group may attract students who just want to hang out with that group.  They'll be cliquish, whether they consciously mean to or not. 

 

So I would tend to share the OP's concerns.  I'd have the same concerns if my child were considering going to a school that catered mainly to upper class whites or some other singular group.

 

My older daughter experienced two colleges -- in one she was part of the majority white kids.  She didn't care for it there.  It seemed that one had to be the "right" kind of white person.  She then went to another college that was much more diverse.  She had a much easier time fitting in.  The students connected more because they were in the same class or same major, rather than as part of a bigger societal social group.

 

eta: I suspect this college of my daughter's doesn't have a majority of any particular group, although  I haven't looked the actual numbers up.  I do know that some of the "traditionally minority" students at this college were recently commenting on the great experience of being at a college that didn't have a majority-white student body.  (That's how they perceive it, anyway)

 

But, that being said, if the scholarship is very attractive and the school is well respected academically (with good extracurriculars), I would not write it off her list.

Edited by flyingiguana
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