Last Wednesday night I attended a spoken word by a group of students from Kennesaw State University called Poetica. I was pleasantly surprised at how talented the students were and couldn’t help but feel like I was a little cheated in my college experience.
I graduated from Kennesaw State with my Bachelor of Science in Communication (all that means is that I write but no one is paying me for it. womp womp). When I started there as a freshman, I didn’t know anyone. Somehow I found my way to the CARC (cultural awareness resource center, aka where the Black kids are). Here I’ve bonded with many schoolmates and created lots of friendships and maybe on frenemy. Over all, I thought I had a pretty decent college experience. I partied hard, I sang in the choir (ALTO’S!), I was part of the Haitian Student Alliance, I got free food almost every Tuesday on campus….I mean, who can beat that?! But last Wednesday, I realized what I was missing. Out of the 22,000 plus students at KSU, I didn’t have not ONE real White friend.
Don’t laugh. I’m not. In five years of undergrad, I graduated without having one good White friend. Of course I had classes with them. Most of the times, I never had more than FIVE Black people in my classes. Sometimes that included other non whites as well. I always thought that was strange. But I surrounded myself with the Black people so I got over it.
Out of my 468 friends on Facebook, I only have THREE White friends. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! There were people I added while in college and delete afterwards because I knew I’d never talk to them again. We only used Facebook to keep in contact for school projects. It seems so sad to me.
As I watched the students perform, I wondered how my outlook on life would be different if from freshman year, I had more White friends. Would I treat people differently? Would I be happier? Would I be well-rounded in other aspects of culture?
As of Spring 2010, the enrollment profiles show that Kennesaw State University out of the 21,925 students, only 15% were Black. I know I’m a minority in America but geez, can I get a little more diversity in school? Not only that but can I get the Blacks and Whites that are there to actually mix? I’m not sure who to blame or if the blame should be placed on myself but it’s like the attempts at diversity are futile, short-lived or not genuine. I don’t want an environment where there are quotas to be filled. I want to be where White and Black people actually like hanging out with each other and will still keep in contact after graduation. I’d like an environment that fosters that sense of community so that upon graduation, students are well equipped to fight pre-existing racial challenges.
What can be done to bridge these gaps??? It’s a great comfort to be around “my people” but it also stifles my growth in the media world. This world is too big to only be surrounded by people who look like you.