Degrees from historically black colleges are just as valuable

By Katrice Perkins

‘Tis the season for commencement.

Some have been waiting all their lives to walk across the stage and receive those expensive diplomas. It’s a great year to also celebrate black excellence. The amount of black students I have seen getting diplomas is encouraging and inspiring.

With accomplishments, however, naturally comes bad talking. The most prominent discussion I’ve seen now is PWIs (predominately white institutions) versus HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities). Some say that a degree from an HBCU isn’t needed, while others think HBCUs altogether aren’t needed.

PWI versus HBCU is a big discussion on social media. If you do a search on Twitter, you’ll see tons of tweets about it.

It’s quite interesting. Do majority students at PWIs even know what it means? If you’re a majority, do you think about the minorities?

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Are PWIs still needed? Of course. They were created at a time when schools were segregated, but even though students have the opportunity to go to integrated schools, most are still predominately white.

I think it’s a cop-out to say, “I went to a PWI because I needed to learn how to work with other races because that’s what the real world is like.”

Most college students, no matter where they are, hang out with people of the same racial background. So you can go to a PWI, and your close friends will mostly be people who look like you.

There are many myths about HBCUs, which cause people to not attend them. People tell others that they would prefer PWIs because it “prepares you for the real world.” What exactly is the real world? People of different races?

To the contrary, there are people of various races who attend HBCUs. About 5 percent of Howard University’s 10,000 students are not African American. That’s about the same percent of African American students at the University.

I’m not sure why people would not want to attend HBCUs. They’re so beautiful and hold so much history.

I’m reasonable. I feel as if HBCUs are still needed. I think black people need to continue traditions and know their history. I’ve visited multiple HBCUs, and it was always a great experience.

There’s something uplifting about being on a campus where you’re the majority. It’s a feeling of safety, and it makes everyone seem like family. You gain a different perspective when you’re the only black student in your classroom.

When I went to Tuskegee University, it was beautiful being able to walk up to complete strangers and ask them about their school. The greatest thing was that they knew all of the school’s history.

It was as if the schools had a class where they learned everything about their university. At some large universities, people don’t even know the year their school was founded.

The students would say, “This is our school.” They knew they owned it, and they genuinely wanted their education.

There should not be any competition between HBCUs and PWIs. They are both higher-level institutions. We should applaud any person who attends these prestigious universities.

A lot of people like to say things like HBCUs, Black Congratulatory ceremonies and even African American Homecoming aren’t needed. They definitely are. It’s not about separation; it’s about being inclusive and celebrating the accomplishments of a minority, as well as embracing its culture.

With so much racial tension and senseless killings due to stereotypes, they are definitely needed. It’s nice for a younger person to see a room full of black individuals doing something positive. Setting the example is a start for setting a trend.

Although I love my University, which happens to be a PWI, I feel that HBCUs are great and offer a different college experience. I do think that they are just as rigorous, and the degrees should definitely be seen equal.

Columnist Katrice Perkins says we should applaud any person who attends both historically black colleges and predominantly white institutions.