Let me just put this disclaimer out before this blog gets started – It’s probably going to be a touchy subject, no I’m not racist, and while I invite comments, they need to be civil and respectful.
When my sister, a student at Hampton University called me last Friday after attending the crowning of Miss HU’s homecoming pageant, the last thing I expected her to say was that the new queen was white (technically she’s half Hawaiian half Italian). As an alum, my initial reaction was more like whoa! A few hours later though after talking to other students past and present and even now today, I’m a little unnerved.
Hampton is a historically black college that was originally founded to educate blacks in the segregated south and also Native Americans who at that time were deemed “less than human”. Today, even as the school becomes more diverse, the main mission for the most part remains the same. That mission is to: offer black students a refuge and a place to succeed in a world where we are still the minority and discriminated against. (No, discrimination hasn’t stopped even with an African American President).
I think most students and alum that are upset at this new win will tell you (especially the women) they feel like this institution – a place created where they could succeed – is perhaps trying to abandon it’s “historical ties”. Bottom line, most black students go to historically black colleges because they want to be around black people. In my case, I went to an HBCU because I grew up in Las Cruces, NM. Outside of my church and the 6 black people in my high school (which numbered well over 1200 students) I had limited exposure to blacks (except for traveling during the summer).
Was the new Miss HU simply better than the other contestants? I wasn’t there. I do know her talent was apparently hula dancing. Now girlfriend may have been able to move her hips like nobody’s business, but a talent in a pageant? Really?
I’ve had the priviledge of knowing three Miss Hampton’s in recent years. These girls dreamed – way before they stepped foot onto the university – of wearing the “Pirate” crown. For many of the girls that compete, it’s a family tradition one that’s deeply personal and emotional. My friends spent night and day for years, training, rehearsing and being active around campus. Now what did the new Miss HU do to train, I can’t say. Maybe she was sweatin’ over the elliptical machine day in and day out. However, she’s never been very visible or active on campus…so how can she now be a fair representation of the student body?
On top of that, the new face of HU has the nerve to write President Obama and essentially call HU a racist school? I do believe in the first amendment so I’m not knocking her for writing the letter but two points here:
1) Why would you want to serve as a prime ambassador if this school is racist against you? In your Q/A portion of the competition or in your platform for that matter, it wasn’t about breaking racial barriers.
2) You chose to go to HU. It’s a private college so if you found it that intolerable, take your money elsewhere.
I could go on and on…but I want to hear your thoughts. And just so you know, I realize there were judges who made this decision (black and white). I do in a way get the feeling this was a publicity ploy by the school to show how diverse and accepting of a community HU is.
While it may sound like I’m blaming Nikole Churchill for winning, I’m not. She had every right to compete in that pageant. However, for her to be crying foul…she HAD to have known not everyone would receive her graciously if she won.