College Life: To Be A Black Student At The University of Lynchburg
Kelli Carter ~ Staff Writer
When planning on where to go to college, people of color often take into consideration the diversity of the school, not just where it is located or whether or not it has athletics.
The University of Lynchburg has been making strides to show their commitment to diversity and inclusion. I am so appreciative of this and for them creating a space where people can learn but also voice their concerns.
Still, being a person of color on this campus is difficult at times because it is hard to feel like people can truly relate to how you are feeling or what you are going through. The campus is about 23 percent multicultural, but some days it feels so much less than that.
Being a black female at this school has really opened up my eyes to a lot of issues such as colorism, “not being black enough”, and microaggressions. On top of the daily stresses of being a college student, this does not help.
There have come times where I do not think I am pretty enough, worthy enough or even smart enough. No one should ever have to feel like this at their school. I wish I could do more, but sometimes it is so hard to escape at a predominantly white institute (PWI).
There have been times where I have felt uncomfortable or too nervous to speak up because I was scared what people would think of me; I did not want to be labeled the angry black woman. This made me silence my voice, but now I am not scared to speak my mind when I do see injustices here on campus.
Jared Hargis, a senior at the University of Lynchburg, said, “Being a black student is a challenge here, being that it is a PWI, because of many reasons, but I have gotten used to it. I am the minority and have been treated less than because of it.”
No student should have to feel this way but it is sadly the reality when it comes to people of color going to a PWI. Not everyone one of color feels this way, but a lot do feel neglected by their peers at times.
Jay Jenkins, a junior at the University of Lynchburg, said, “Being a black student at the University of Lynchburg means always looking for the little pieces of you on the campus that you may not always find. It is seeing a black person when you walk in a class or a building and getting excited! It is taking class primarily for the fact that you want to be in a class with the only black professor on the campus. It is also never fully feeling welcomed by everyone on campus.”
Jenkins added, “Whenever I go out to parties (pre-COVID) or any social gathering, I would have the constant anxiety of the drunk white people saying racist things and wondering when that rap song came on it they were going to say the N word.”
These are just some of the harsh realities that students who are black have to deal with when going to a PWI. It makes me and others feel sad, but I just hope it gets better sooner rather than later.