Dear O: The Advice Column (February 15, 2021)


Dear O:

My name is Robinque and I am a high school senior in Texas. I came across your column while perusing the internet and was hoping that you could solicit some advice to me. I’ll be going to college in the Fall but I’ve yet to pick a school. I’ve been reading all of these amazing comments and seeing videos on social media about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and I’d love to attend one but my parents want me to attend a PWI (Primarily White Institution) because they say it will afford me more opportunities in life. (Both of them attended PWIs) They keep telling me that the decision is mine but they keep strongly recommending that I attend one of those universities. When I tell them that I’m considering an HBCU they present every negative stereotype about them to detour my decision. I love my parents and I know that they just want the best for me but this decision should be mine and mine alone. O what should I do? Should I listen to them or should I follow my heart. Also, being that you attend an HBCU could you present some convincing positive affirmations about HBCUs that I can convey to them so that it may potentially sway their minds?

Desperately Seeking an HBCU

Dear Robinque,

First, I want to express how appreciative and elated I am to have you visit my column and select me as the best person to solicit advice to you. Secondly, research and understand the significance and the products of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). HBCUs produce and are in the process of continuing to produce some of the best doctors, lawyers, dentists, and authors. In addition, an HBCU has even produced the first African-American and first woman Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris. These are a few things that you can mention in a respectful yet effective conversation when your parents negatively talk about HBCUs. When they provide negative stereotypes, provide positive ones on behalf of HBCUs. In addition, I don’t advise you to be negative but make sure your parents know and understand that all the negative things that can happen at an HBCU can happen at a Primarily White Institution (PWI). Just because the media doesn’t broadcast all of the bad that happens at PWIs doesn’t mean it’s non-existent.

Most importantly, understand that the decision is ultimately yours. You are in charge of your own happiness. You have to understand that not just with school, but with life in general, you have to wake up every day and choose yourself. By choosing yourself you put the likes of yourself over the preferences of others. Don’t ever think you are mandated to live in the shadows of your parents and do everything they did, exactly how they did it. Be the start of something new. Follow your heart.