Which is better for Black students: PWI or HBCU?


Ernecia Devine, Guest Columnist

With the spur of all the events going on in the world with Black people’s lives, which is the better route for black students to take for their post-secondary education: A Predominately White Institution (PWI) or a Historically Black College or University (HBCU)?

Some people feel that Black students should choose to go back to an environment that has their culture wound in the education. Others feel that Black students are missing out on a top-notch education if they do not go to a PWI. In my opinion, I feel that Black students should consider going to a HBCU over a PWI because HBCU’s are enriched with our heritage, our history, and our customs.

When Black students come together at these schools, they all have one thing in common, their blackness, that no one can ever take from them. We all know what it feels like to be black and the beauty of it. You feel a sense of warmth or a sense of unity and family immediately upon arriving at a HBCU campus. These are places where you can actually say that those around you are your family because they are: A bunch of educated Black students who all want to succeed. Also everyone around you is willing to stick by you and help you succeed. At a PWI, I feel like you will not find that unity. PWI’s, in my opinion, value their sports more than anything. That is what brings their campuses together, but other than that they seem separated. They go back to their individual groups until the next football game or party.

Others try to say that PWI’s have better academics than HBCU’s, but I feel that it is all about what you do with what you have and how you use it towards your advantage. I feel that the education is the same but because HBCU’s are majority Black, some automatically put the label of a “slower” education or an “inferior” education onto the schools. However, some influential and successful people came through HBCU’s: Oprah, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Spike Lee and many more. It does not matter what school you go to; it is what you do with it.

Another thing that stuck out to me was how the African-American history is infused inside of the academic curriculum. I feel that every Black person needs to know their history and sadle, African-American history is not talked about nearly as much as European history throughout our primary and secondary years. We only go into the depth of our history for one month out of the year while every other history but ours is taught all other 11 months. This is not what we need. We need to know about the slave trade, slavery, Jim Crow laws and the Civil Rights movement. PWI’s may offer it, but it just will not be the same.

In my opinion Black students should consider an HBCU first because of all the benefits it gives to you as a person. If one does choose to go to a PWI, realize that it does not make you any less Black nor does it make you smarter or more intelligent than anyone else. You are you own person. What school you go to does not define you, but it sure can shape you.

Do what you can to help yourself improve and worry about the other things later.