White students at the historically Black University: toward developing a critical consciousness.
The "Whitening" of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the African American community. They are often liberal arts colleges or universities. The historical mission of Black colleges and universities has been to educate Blacks (Freeman & Thomas, 2002; Whiting, 1991). From their beginnings, some Black colleges incorporated levels of White involvement mainly, but not entirely, in the form of faculty, administrators, and financial leaders (Fleming, 1984; Foster, Guyden & Miller, 1999; Harley, 2001). Since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, however, there has been an increase in White participation at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Most of the influx has been at public institutions as a result of state and federal government mandates (Hall & Closson, 2005; Nixon & Henry, 1992; Sims, 1994; Thomas-Lester, 2004). Infamous desegregation desegregation: see integration. court decisions such as Brown v. the Board of Education (1954), Adams v. Richardson (1972), and United States v. Fordice In an eight to one ruling the United States Supreme Court ruled that the eight public universities in Mississippi had not sufficiently integrated and that the state must take affirmative action to change this under the Equal Protection Clause. (1992) charged public colleges and universities, particularly in the south, to dismantle segregated and grossly unequal systems of higher education. These legislative mandates forced predominantly White institutions (PWIs) to open their doors to Black students, faculty, staff, and administrators who had previously been denied access to these institutions (Hunter & Donahoo, 2004; Sims, 1994).
These desegregation efforts also propelled HBCUs to broaden their racial makeup to include White students and upgrade their institutional quality as well (Harley, 2001). However, Cross (1996) indicated that unlike PWIs, HBCUs suffered a serious backlash from desegregation legislation due to White-controlled state systems that devised alternative plans that were more self-serving than equitable.
For example, rather than to bring the fiscal and educational resources of HBCUs on par with PWIs, by providing equitable funding to HBCUs, state systems implemented plans to ensure White students benefited from the limited resources that would be provided to upgrade HBCUs (Cross, 1996). Consequently, HBCUs were required to enroll greater numbers of White students with threats of severe sanctions, such as closing or merging with PWIs, if they were unable to meet the prescribed enrollments (Brown II, Ricard, & Donahoo, 2004).
As a result of efforts to "Whiten" HBCUs (Cross, p. 26), reports reveal that in 1976 the total number of White students enrolled in these institutions was approximately 20,000. By 2001, the number had risen to approximately 34,000--about a 60 percent increase (National Center for Education Statistics, 2005). Moreover, there are currently two HBCUs, Lincoln University Lincoln University.
1 At Jefferson City, Mo.; coeducational; land-grant and state supported; founded 1866 as Lincoln Institute. The school was established for the education of freed slaves by members of the 62d and 65th U.S. Colored Regiments. in Missouri and Bluefield State University in West Virginia West Virginia, E central state of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland (N), Virginia (E and S), and Kentucky and, across the Ohio R., Ohio (W). Facts and Figures
Area, 24,181 sq mi (62,629 sq km). Pop. , with White student enrollments that outnumber the Black students matriculating at the institutions (Thomas-Lester, 2004).
While desegregation of college campuses--as an antidote to prejudice and discrimination--is not generally agreed upon Adj. 1. agreed upon - constituted or contracted by stipulation or agreement; "stipulatory obligations"
noncontroversial, uncontroversial - not likely to arouse controversy (D'Souza, 1991), the value of increasing diverse enrollments (i.e., Blacks at PWIs and Whites at HBCUs) is generally viewed by higher education scholars as an opportunity to prepare students to flourish in an increasingly multicultural society (Astin, 1993a). Thus, interest in diversity and multicultural outcomes has generated a great deal of research and discourse in "mainstream higher education" but has paid little attention to diversity and multicultural achievements and outcomes of White students at HBCUs.
The purpose of this article is to examine the potential of HBCUs to facilitate the development of a critical consciousness among their White students. It discusses philosophical views regarding the process of unveiling "Whiteness," including White critical studies and White identity development theories. A review of the literature is presented on the role of HBCUs, particularly in relation to their function of raising Black consciousness. Additionally, desegregation enrollment outcomes are discussed, including the experiences of Black students at PWIs and HBCUs and White students at HBCUs. Questions are raised regarding the potential role of HBCUs in raising White critical consciousness.
White students at HBCUs and PWIs are less likely than Black students to see themselves as part of a multicultural society because few White people see themselves as "White" (Kratt, 2000, p. 67). Consequently, Whites tend to be unaware that the privileges inherent in being White perpetuate racism and domination (McIntosh, 1988). According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Terry (1981), in order for Whites to develop a positive identity or critical consciousness they must first see racism, admit that it exists, acknowledge that they benefit from it, and learn to accept it as different from the racial prejudice that people hold.
HBCUs may provide the type of environment that allows for engagement in practices designed to assist in enhancing the critical consciousness among their White student populations. Hence, a theoretical presentation of Critical White Studies, including theories of White privilege White privilege has the following meanings:
Critical White Studies
A major premise major premise
The premise containing the major term in a syllogism.
Noun 1. major premise - the premise of a syllogism that contains the major term (which is the predicate of the conclusion)
major premiss of critical White studies suggests that the concept of race has been constructed by a White power structure in order to justify discrimination against nonWhites (Kratt, 2000). Discontentment with accepting Whiteness as the norm in society inspired critical scholars to examine factors that influence the formation, beliefs, and values that Whites hold as a result of their majority group status (Kratt).
Early on the thinking appeared to be that by highlighting the contributions of minority groups and their cultures the majority would learn to recognize and appreciate important contributions of minority races and cultures and thus be more likely to include "others" (McIntosh, 1988). Reversing the lens so that it now focuses on the majority (White persons) suggests that the extent to which majority members can "see" themselves as racialized actors is the extent to which they begin to take assertive steps towards creating a more inclusive society (Kratt, 2000).
One author has metaphorically referred to this as unveiling Whiteness (Hitchcock, 2002) in order that the social and structural influences of Whiteness can be made more apparent. To extend this point, McIntyre (2002) has demonstrated that White persons typically think of themselves as raceless and cultureless. Unable to "see" their race, it then becomes difficult for them to understand the ways in which they have generalized their own behaviors and beliefs as normative.
White Identity Development Theories
Several contemporary models have been proposed to assist Whites in assessing their collective and individual values in regards to White privilege and White identity development. McIntosh (1988) describes White privilege as "an invisible package of unearned assets which I (as a White person) can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was meant to remain oblivious" (p. 1).
McIntosh contends that the power and privileges bestowed upon Whites in America is a result of the color of their skin and that they are unaware of this hegemony (e.g., their superior authority and importance). In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , most Whites do not seem to recognize the cultural advantages that are ascribed to them because they are White, that these advantages foster racism, and that this discriminatory consciousness is obvious to people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color
race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important .
Consequently, Hardiman and Jackson (1992) proposed a racial identity development model which outlines five stages for assisting Whites to develop a positive racial identity:
Naivete na·ive·té or na·ïve·té
1. The state or quality of being inexperienced or unsophisticated, especially in being artless, credulous, or uncritical.
2. An artless, credulous, or uncritical statement or act. : In the first stage, no social consciousness exists. Whites perceive themselves as normal and others as different. They are generally not aware of the privileges and unearned benefits they receive as a result of their dominant group status. Although acts of prejudice are unconscious, individuals may at times deliberately and consciously act on prejudices.
Acceptance: In the second stage, Whites accept stereotypical messages regarding racial groups. Individuals actively accept expressions believing that White people are superior. Whites also experience passive acceptance which is an unconscious identification with being White.
Resistance: The third stage occurs as the White person encounters information that conflicts with previous beliefs about race, but no behavioral change takes place.
Redefinition: In the fourth stage, the White individual may see her/himself affirming the positive aspects of White culture. This may include challenging racism in a more proactive way.
A decision by a brokerage to fill an order with the firm's own inventory of stock.
When a brokerage receives an order they have numerous choices as to how it should be filled. : At the final stage, non-racist attitudes and behavior become spontaneous expressions of self.
Helms (1993) proposed a similar White racial identity development model designed to assist Whites in the process of adopting a nonracist White identity and to renounce TO RENOUNCE. To give up a right; for example, an executor may renounce the right of administering the estate of the testator; a widow the right to administer to her intestate husband's estate.
2. racism. Helm's model consists of the following phases:
Phase I: Abandonment of Racism has three statuses: (1) Contact occurs when the individual encounters the idea or actuality of Black people; (2) Disintegration involves the conscious, though conflicted, acknowledgement of one's Whiteness while recognizing the moral dilemmas associated with being White; and (3) during Reintegration reintegration /re·in·te·gra·tion/ (-in-te-gra´shun)
1. biological integration after a state of disruption.
2. restoration of harmonious mental function after disintegration of the personality in mental illness. the White person consciously acknowledges a White identity.
Phase II: Defining a Nonracist White Identity also has three statuses: (1) Pseudo-Independence is the first status defining a positive White identity; (2) Immersion-Emersion occurs when Whites replace White and Black stereotypes with more accurate information about what it means to be White in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. ; and (3) Autonomy is the final status, which requires White people to internalize internalize
To send a customer order from a brokerage firm to the firm's own specialist or market maker. Internalizing an order allows a broker to share in the profit (spread between the bid and ask) of executing the order. , nurture, and apply the new definition of White identity (Evans, Forney, & Guido-Brito, 1998, p. 78-79).
Tatum (2003) builds upon Helm's model and asserts that in order for Whites "to develop a positive White identity based in reality, not on assumed superiority," they "must become aware of [their] Whiteness, accept it as personally and socially significant, and learn to feel good about it, not in the sense of a Klan member's 'White pride,' but in the context of a commitment to a just society" (p. 94).
While the White racial identity development models of Helms (1993) and Hardiman and Jackson (1992) differ in scope, they both utilize stages or statuses to describe the process of racial identity formation (Ancis & Szymanski, 2001). In other words, both perspectives suggest that in order for Whites to acquire a positive racial identity, they must accomplish two central developmental tasks: (1) the abandonment of individual racism, and (2) the recognition of and opposition to institutional as well as cultural racism (Helms' 1993). Initially, Helms model consisted of a five-stage process; however, she later incorporated Hardiman's notion of self-appraisal as important in defining a positive White identity (Helms, 1990).
The college-age years have been suggested as the most crucial time at which identity is formed and crystallized (Chickering & Reisser, 1993). During this time it is also essential that students explore their racial identity. Gurin (1999) noted that college students typically test a variety of social roles, as well as their relationships with others, before solidifying their permanent personal and professional commitments.
Knowledge of racial identity development theory enables student affairs Student affairs staff are responsible for academic advising and support services delivery at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. The chief student affairs officer at a college or university often reports directly to the chief executive of the institution. professionals and faculty to proactively identify and address student needs, design programs, develop policies, and create healthy college environments that encourage their positive growth. In addition, these theoretical perspectives inform critical White studies in denouncing the social and structural influences of White norms of thinking and behaving, and shifting toward developing positive White identity and consciousness. The formation of a new White consciousness is a crucial first step in moving toward action for social justice (Reason & Davis, 2005).
According to Tatum (1992), much can be learned in the classroom from the application of the racial identity development perspectives posited by Hardiman and Jackson (1992), and Helms (1993). She offered the following four pedagogical ped·a·gog·ic also ped·a·gog·i·cal
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of pedagogy.
2. Characterized by pedantic formality: a haughty, pedagogic manner. strategies that were designed to reduce student resistance to examine oppression and enhance their critical consciousness: creation of a safe climate, creation of opportunities for self-generated knowledge, provision of an appropriate developmental model, and exploration of strategies to empower students as change agents.
In as much as racist attitudes and behaviors are deeply embedded and perpetuated in American society, an understanding of White identity development perspectives are important to the overall education of college students. Most multicultural, diversity, or antiracism programs do not teach about the White race, but rather focus on people of color. Consequently, White students cannot begin to understand the impact and respective privilege of their race.
Institutions of higher education must not only be responsible for educating White students about the differences among people, but also help them develop a concrete and deeper understanding of themselves as Whites. According to Evans (1998), "since institutions of higher education traditionally maintain the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. , theories and models that explain how Whites move from a racist to a nonracist perspective are important in creating equality and changing the power imbalance embedded in colleges and universities" (pg. 87).
Although the White racial identity models proposed by Helms and Hardiman and Jackson are useful in guiding the work of higher education professionals, some critique is necessary. According to O'Donnell (2002), critics of these models raise questions regarding their sequential nature and reliance on the world outlook of Whites. For example, Chesler, Peet, and Sevig (2003) posited that most White identity development models do not address how Whites regard themselves, but rather how they view people of color; thus "... their racial identity is conceived as a reflection of their views of 'the other'"(p. 217).
Moreover, regarding directionality, O'Donnell (2002) suggests that the models do not take into account the fact that development does not necessarily progress discretely through concrete stages or statuses. Furthermore, he contends that most models suggest that the formation of racial identity development takes place during early adolescence. However, he concluded that students exhibit a range of responses to the issue of race regardless of their age. Additionally, Holt (2000) noted that while most racial identity development models emerged in the post-civil rights era they are not reflective of the social realities of today's racial dynamics.
The Role of HBCUs
HBCUs were established during the time of "de jure segregation Noun 1. de jure segregation - segregation that is imposed by law
separatism, segregation - a social system that provides separate facilities for minority groups " in response to the educational needs of Blacks (Harley, 2001, p. 1). In their quest to fulfill the intellectual responsibility for educating an "outcast out·cast
One that has been excluded from a society or system.
outcast population" (Fleming, 2004, p. 29), these institutions established a distinct triadic mission of developing (a) academic achievement, (b) social support, and (c) service to the Black community and society at large (Sims, 1994).
For example, an empirical study conducted by Fleming (2001) confirms that HBCUs "have a more positive psychological, interpersonal, academic, and cognitive impact on Black students than do predominately White colleges" (p. 606). Since their inception, HBCUs have been committed to the preservation of Black history, racial pride, ethnic traditions, Black consciousness (Roebuck & Murty, 1993), and Black identity development (Fleming, 1984).
In fact, HBCUs have been touted as "the undisputed champions of advancement for Blacks and minorities in general" (Haynes, 2000, p. 120). These institutions have championed the cause of equal opportunity and quality education, and have provided this opportunity to those who were denied it or could not afford it (Fleming, 2004, Harley, 2001; Nixon, 1988; Sims, 1994); they have assumed leadership in the development of techniques for overcoming handicaps for the educationally disadvantaged (Fleming, 1984; Fleming, 2004); they have served as custodians of Black America (Fleming, 2004, Harley, 2001; Nixon, 1988; Sims, 1994); and they have developed and expanded programs of educational and occupational retraining for minority adults (Nixon, 1988). HBCUs are the Alma Maters for the vast majority of Black middle class America (Fleming, 2004; Gurin & Epps, 1975) and they are the centers of much needed teaching and research on the wretched experiences of the Black minority in this country (Fleming, 1984; Sims, 1994).
In sync with the mission of HBCUs to educate, empower, and elevate Blacks is their role in raising the critical consciousness of Black students. The execution of this mission is elucidated in research (Berger & Milem, 2000; DeSousa & Kuh, 1996; Fleming, 1984) which indicates that these institutions provide an environment that fosters the intellectual, social, psychological, and cultural growth of Black students. The ability of HBCUs to promote the critical consciousness their Black students is derived from and observed in their academic programs and programming emphasis. Bennett and Xie (2003) noted that the curriculum at HBCUs, more so than at PWIs, integrates Black history and culture. Similarly, the out-of class activities at HBCUs also incorporate Black traditions and mores.
Desegregation Enrollment Outcomes
Many HBCUs established in the 1800s and 1900s could not provide the wide range of educational programs that Blacks needed to fulfill their career aspirations. This was one of the main reasons Blacks challenged racial segregation Noun 1. racial segregation - segregation by race
petty apartheid - racial segregation enforced primarily in public transportation and hotels and restaurants and other public places in public higher education (Nixon, 1988; Henry, Wills, & Nixon, 2005). Thus, state and federal courts were petitioned in an attempt to force White colleges to admit Black students. Law suits such as: Donald Murray Sir Donald Bruce Murray (born January 24, 1923) was a Lord Justice of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Northern Ireland. Born in Belfast, he was educated at Belfast Royal Academy and the Queen's University, Belfast as well as Trinity College Dublin. v. the University of Maryland University of Maryland can refer to:
Required by the courts to enforce the Civil Rights Act, several states in the south (i.e., North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. , Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, etc.) were ordered to improve the racial balance at their institutions. Consequently greater numbers of Black (minority) students enrolled at PWIs and more White (minority) students enrolled at HBCUs. For example, in 1980, only 20% of the 1.1 million Black students enrolled in higher education were attending HBCUs (Brown II, Ricard, & Donahoo, 2004; Freeman & Thomas, 2002; Garibaldi, 1991). However, during this same period, of the students enrolled at HBCUs, approximately 8% were White, increasing to approximately 12% in 2001 (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2005).
The more recent (1992) court ruling in United States v. Fordice further impacted state systems of higher education with a focus on remedying lingering segregated enrollments and disparate funding patterns. For example, the three HBCUs in Mississippi, Alcorn, Jackson State, and Mississippi Valley State were court ordered to increase their White enrollment by 10 % and maintain that level for three years or risk not receiving a portion of $524 million in federal court settlement funds for facilities and program improvements at those HBCUs (Whitaker, 2005).
Although the Fordice decision mandated states to eliminate policies and practices that would keep colleges and universities racially identifiable, most of the subsequent actions were directed at improving the education at public HBCUs as opposed to radically increasing the enrollments of Black students at PWIs. However, the enrollments of Black students at PWIs were affected by this landmark case landmark case Law & medicine A civil or, far less commonly, criminal action that has had an impact on a particular area of medicine. . As an example, in the Fall of 1988, the five PWIs in Mississippi collectively enrolled 4,934 Black students (11.9%), while a decade later they enrolled 8,469 Black students, more than 17% of their total student enrollment (J. Hood, personal communication, February 13, 2008).
Meanwhile, during the 1990s, the majority of Black students attending college returned to the HBCUs (Wilson, 1994). According to Redd (1998), between 1984 and 1994, the enrollment of Black students at HBCUs increased by 27.3% as compared with the 5% decline in their enrollment at HBCUs that occurred between 1976 and 1984. According to Freeman and Thomas (2002), Black students reconsidered HBCUs because of their interest in embracing their history and traditions. The trend of enrollment reversal also held true for White students attending HBCUs during the 1990s as well. One explanation given for White enrollment declines at HBCUs is the fact that political pressure to integrate HBCUs more fully has been diminished or completely eliminated in some states (Cross, 2006).
Experiences of Black students at PWIs and HBCUs
According to several researchers (Curry, 2004; Fleming, 1984; Gary, 1997; Nettles net·tle
1. Any of numerous plants of the genus Urtica, having toothed leaves, unisexual apetalous flowers, and stinging hairs that cause skin irritation on contact.
2. Any of various hairy, stinging, or prickly plants. , 1988) many Black students at PWIs have continued to encounter negative experiences including discrimination, loneliness, isolation and unsupportive campus environments. Additionally, Black students at PWIs have suffered lower achievement and higher attrition than White students at these institutions (Allen, 1992; Nettles, 1988; Willie, 2003).
Thus, the social adjustment of Black students at PWIs was of particular interest to Schwitzer, Griffin, Ancis, and Thomas (1999). In their research, 22 fourth-year African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. students were involved in focus groups that yielded a descriptive model which outlined four features of the participants' social adjustment: "(1) sense of underrepresentedness, (2) direct perceptions of racism, (3) hurdle of approaching faculty, and (4) effects of faculty familiarity" (p. 189). Their findings in an earlier study, which examined Black students' transitions into PWIs, indicated that approximately 66% of the participants' adjustment difficulties were related to the institutional social climate. Furthermore, the participants described feeling alone, isolated, and underrepresented un·der·rep·re·sent·ed
Insufficiently or inadequately represented: the underrepresented minority groups, ignored by the government. at the institution; they also recounted direct racist encounters.
Conversely, many Black students attending HBCUs report feeling a greater sense of connectedness, power, and affiliation (Fleming, 1984). As a result, these students tend to be more satisfied with their overall college experience (Astin, 1993b), are more likely to persist until graduation (Allen, 1991), and enter doctoral programs more frequently than their peers attending PWIs (Gary, 1997). Berger and Milem (2000) found that more so than their same-race peers at PWIs, Black students at HBCUs reported significantly higher self-concept ratings along three domains--psychosocial wellness, academic self-efficacy, and achievement orientation.
Additionally, Black students at HBCUs are more fully integrated into the overall campus environment; they are more tied to faculty in meaningful relationships and participate in student activities and organizations to a greater extent than at PWIs (Roebuck & Murty, 1993). Furthermore, faculty-student interactions, leadership opportunities, and community involvement are reported among the positive outcomes of Black students who attend HBCUs (Fleming, 1984).
While the existing literature does not provide empirical evidence that HBCUs are directly involved in promoting Black critical consciousness, it is clear that their historical mission and contemporary benefits contribute to the forging of a "collective identity of African Americans as a literate and achieving people.[For example, HBCUs] were counterhegemonic inasmuch as in·as·much as
1. Because of the fact that; since.
2. To the extent that; insofar as.
1. since; because
2. they were organized in opposition to the dominant ideology The dominant ideology, in Marxist or marxian theory, is the set of common values and beliefs shared by most people in a given society, framing how the majority think about a range of topics, The dominant ideology is understood by Marxism to reflect, or serve, the interests of the of white supremacy white supremacist
One who believes that white people are racially superior to others and should therefore dominate society.
white supremacy n. and Black intellectual inferiority" (Perry, 2003, p.91).
From the literature reviewed, it appears that HBCUs have been at the heart of elevating the psyche of Blacks from an enslaved, segregated mentality to the formation of a Black identity and consciousness that has empowered them to confront inequalities and enhance their lives in American society. Thus, HBCUs have typically had an active role in developing social consciousness within its own culture. With their unique ability to help people move through a process of developing cultural awareness and taking responsibility for injustice, HBCUs may serve as institutions that can help White students through the process of developing a positive White consciousness for combating racism.
Experiences of White students at HBCUs
Few contemporary studies exist regarding the experiences of White students attending HBCUs (Dwyer, 2006; Hall & Closson, 2005). The limited research that exists was conducted during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. For example, Brown & Stein (1972) presented a profile of White students attending HBCUs which indicated that a majority were originally from the south, between 27 and 35 years old, typically enrolled at a state supported institution and had expressed pleasant and unpleasant social adjustment encounters.
Libarkin (1984) explored levels of satisfaction among White graduate students attending an HBCU. Results indicated that the White minority felt the environment was open and friendly; their experiences were in general good; and most of the students believed they had improved their understanding of Black people with the concomitant modification of racial attitudes. Additionally, Nixon and Henry (1992) investigated reports of racial incidents directed toward White students attending HBCUs. None of schools studied reported acts of overt racism against White students attending the institutions during a three year period.
More recently, Hall and Closson (2005) investigated the social adjustment experiences of White graduate students at an HBCU in the Southeast. Results revealed that while some White students held preconceived pre·con·ceive
tr.v. pre·con·ceived, pre·con·ceiv·ing, pre·con·ceives
To form (an opinion, for example) before possessing full or adequate knowledge or experience. notions that the climate would be negative, others found faculty relationships supportive and helpful. Similar findings regarding student and faculty interaction were also revealed among White undergraduate students attending an HBCU in the South (Closson & Henry, 2008).
Literature regarding why White students choose to attend HBCUs suggests that the convenience of a 'low cost' college close to home as well as financial assistance are primary reasons they enroll at these institutions (Hall & Closson, 2005; Nixon, 1988). Research has also revealed that some White students at HBCUs were interested in experiencing a minority status and wanted to immerse im·merse
tr.v. im·mersed, im·mers·ing, im·mers·es
1. To cover completely in a liquid; submerge.
2. To baptize by submerging in water.
3. themselves in a Black experience (Elam, 1978); some were interested in fulfilling the objective of racial understanding (Nixon, 1988), while others had a desire to appear unbiased or wished to gain attention (Elam, 1978).
While these factors and perhaps others have motivated White students to enroll at HBCUs, research indicates that their experiences at these institutions are generally positive. Thus, whether they enrolled with the intention of developing a critical consciousness or not, the positive environment of the HBCU fosters the potential for raising the level of awareness of White students regarding the issues of oppression, power, and privilege.
In summary, from the literature reviewed, it appears that HBCUs have been at the heart of elevating the psyche of Blacks from an enslaved, segregated mentality to the formation of a Black identity and consciousness that has empowered them to confront inequalities and enhance their lives in American society. Thus, HBCUs have typically had an active role in developing social consciousness within its own culture. With their unique ability to help people move through a process of developing cultural awareness and taking responsibility for injustice, HBCUs may serve as institutions that can help White students through the process of developing a positive White consciousness for combating racism.
The literature reviewed also appears to suggest that HBCUs have historically provided an educationally enriching and socially stimulating environment for Black students. That same welcoming environment and faculty support at HBCUs has been discovered by many White students who have overcome some of their negative thoughts about Blacks. Thus, this could be viewed as an important first step to build upon in assisting White students at HBCUs in the process toward developing a positive critical consciousness.
Potential Role of HBCUs in Developing Critical White Consciousness
HBCUs have been found to be places where temporary minorities--White students--are not subjected to flagrant fla·grant
1. Conspicuously bad, offensive, or reprehensible: a flagrant miscarriage of justice; flagrant cases of wrongdoing at the highest levels of government. See Usage Note at blatant.
2. acts of racism and discrimination; can the HBCU capitalize on Cap´i`tal`ize on`
v. t. 1. To turn (an opportunity) to one's advantage; to take advantage of (a situation); to profit from; as, to capitalize on an opponent's mistakes s>. the mostly positive matriculation ma·tric·u·late
tr. & intr.v. ma·tric·u·lat·ed, ma·tric·u·lat·ing, ma·tric·u·lates
To admit or be admitted into a group, especially a college or university.
n. of White students as a means to enhance their White identity or consciousness? As a result of White student's temporary minority experiences, could they be cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally ready to engage in intentional discourse and action regarding White hegemony?
While structural diversity (i.e., a critical mass of students from underrepresented groups) is a necessary foundation on which to begin the process of moving toward developing positive critical consciousness, interracial in·ter·ra·cial
Relating to, involving, or representing different races: interracial fellowship; an interracial neighborhood. and cross-cultural contact alone does not mitigate the persistence of segregation and discrimination that exists in our society. Thus it cannot be assumed that White students at HBCUs who report the desire to engage in a Black experience have developed a positive critical consciousness and will automatically become social justice allies.
Critical White theorists (McIntosh, 1988; Goodman, 2001) contend that without recognition and examination of Whiteness as well as the unearned privileges that accompany it, Whites are less likely to engage in behaviors toward the elimination of racial injustice. In as much as Whites become temporary minorities at HBCUs their short-term, mostly in class, experiences may not be enough to penetrate their unconscious privileged identity system to move them toward conscious thoughts about what it means to be White.
The prospect of HBCUs assisting White students toward developing a positive consciousness could indeed be a lofty goal. However, in rising to the challenge, interested HBCUs might consider examining their curricular and cocurricular co·cur·ric·u·lar
Complementing but not part of the regular curriculum: The civics class sponsored a voter registration drive as a cocurricular activity. offerings to determine ways they can best meet the cultural learning and development needs of their White student population. Thus, White studies courses, as well as workshops and group experiences designed to explore White race, privilege and oppression could be evaluated as possible learning opportunities to assist these students.
Additionally, student development programming geared toward enhancing White students' knowledge regarding privilege and oppression might also be explored. Recognizing that White students are a captive audience at the HBCU, not taking advantage of this status by finding ways to facilitate these students' identity development toward becoming social justice allies could be an opportunity missed.
Of course, like most calls for change and/or the infusion of new pedagogy, the institution would need to carefully evaluate and implement a plan of action for in class as well as out-of-class learning that encourages White students to more willingly explore and share their thoughts about race, privilege and oppression. Faculty and administrators would also need to determine their readiness to teach the "difficult dialogue" about White race both inside and outside the class room.
A useful starting point Noun 1. starting point - earliest limiting point
terminus a quo
commencement, get-go, offset, outset, showtime, starting time, beginning, start, kickoff, first - the time at which something is supposed to begin; "they got an early start"; "she knew from the could be to commit to enhance their own multicultural consciousness. This type of modeling could help students and others move beyond the notion that only structural diversity changes are needed. In other words, faculty and administrators should "walk the talk" by modeling effective racial discourse, authentic multicultural relationships and social justice values that lead to meaningful, longer term change in racists attitudes. Moreover, these actions could help White students make appropriate connections to foster changes within their culture and society at large.
Reason & Broido (2005) offered several strategies for campus administrators interested in creating institutional and cultural change for developing social justice allies including: (1) Support the recruitment and retention of diverse students, faculty, and staff, (2) study and improve campus climate, (3) advocate for social justice course work, (4) advocate for inclusion of social justice issues across the curriculum and cocurriculum, (5) work to change unjust policies, practices, and laws, (6) know and use institutional decision-making structures strategically, (7) frequent institutions that support justice; boycott institutions that do not, and (8) perseverance (p.85).
In essence, a college education is about student learning. Throughout their enrollment, colleges and universities have a primary responsibility to increase students' knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live. It is important to note, however, that students also have a significant responsibility for what they learn while they are in college. Institutions can devise and implement outstanding programs and strategies to enhance students' development and learning; however, students themselves must be willing to participate and take advantage of what is being offered.
Recommendations for Further Research
Research regarding the contemporary experiences of White students' at HBCUs is practically nonexistent non·ex·is·tence
1. The condition of not existing.
2. Something that does not exist.
non and is warranted. Additionally, research regarding the identity development of White students, faculty and administrators at HBCUs could shed light on their readiness for discourse and action regarding privilege and discrimination. Research is also needed to determine administrative and faculty attitudes toward the experiences of temporary minority students at HBCUs. Finally, research is needed that focuses on developing effective paradigms of instruction and cocurricular activities aimed at fostering multicultural consciousness that leads to social action.
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Wilma J. Henry is an associate professor and coordinator of the College Student Affairs M.Ed. Program in the Department of Psychological and Social Foundations and Rosemary B. Closson is an assistant professor of adult education in the Department of Adult, Career, and Higher Education, both with the College of Education at the University of South Florida
• • [ , Tampa, Florida “Tampa” redirects here. For other uses, see Tampa (disambiguation).
Tampa is a United States city in Hillsborough County, on the west coast of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County.GR6. .