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Put Some Respect on Howard University's Campus

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

Privilege at its Best


Manifest destiny.


White privilege.


Colonization.


Gentrification.


Arrogance.


Entitlement.


Racism.


White supremacy.


All of the aforementioned terms encapsulate the current and past racial strife in America.


However, White privilege, colonization and entitlement will never be tolerated at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) like Howard University in Washington, D.C.


Recently, new White local residents have begun using the beloved Howard campus as a dark park.


Many HBCUs are hallowed ground.


When African-American students could not attend historically White colleges, they created their own.


Some scholars like Booker T. Washington and the students at Tuskegee University made their own bricks to build school buildings at the Tuskegee, Ala. campus.


Many HBCUs like Texas Southern University have policies in which students, visitors and faculty cannot walk on the campus grass.


And like Howard University, many HBCUs are private schools, meaning private property and private rules that people have to abide by if they want to visit the university.


Many college students do not want much.


Students want to get a good college education without accruing life-ruining debt.


Students want to get a good job or get into a good graduate or professional school upon graduation.


Many students want to have as much fun as possible before entering the real world.


Many students even want to find a spouse before their college days are done.


But I do not know any student at an HBCU that wants dog manure on their shoes when sitting in their next lecture.


And I am pretty sure their classmates who sit in their vicinity in the classroom would love to not smell dog manure for an entire class session.


Nevertheless, some of the new White residents to the neighborhood surrounding Howard have a problem with the fact that Howard students do not want them walking their dogs on their beloved campus.


One White man even told the news media that if the students and faculty have a problem with them walking their dogs on the campus, the 150-year-old campus should be moved.


That type of arrogance is the epitome of White privilege and that mentality needs to be eradicated expeditiously if the various races of America are to ever truly live in harmony.


Prejudice is one thing, which every human being possesses.


But White supremacy and privilege is the cause of much of the racial animus in this country.


The mentality that White people’s wishes outweigh everyone else’s wishes is the epitome of racism.


And anyone that believes in such a privileged mindset needs to come to grips with the fact that they epitomize racism and White supremacy.


Luckily, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick officially banned dog walking on the campus located in the heart of the nation’s capital.


In an email, Frederick wrote, “We recognize that service animals are a necessary aspect of modern-day life and we will accommodate them as needed. We appreciate pet owners respecting our campus by not bringing pets onto the private area.”


Frederick added that he wanted the campus to “remain pristine and symbolic of all that Howard University represents.”


Gentrification is something that probably will happen whether people like it or not.


Money talks after all.


But arrogance and disrespecting other people’s private property should not be tolerated regardless of the race or class of the property owner or the perpetrator.


Common sense, common courtesy and common decency should be something that people of all races should have for their neighbors and even for perfect strangers.


Like many historically African-American neighborhoods like Houston’s Third Ward, the Washington, D.C. neighborhood surrounding Howard University has seen its demographics constantly change over the last few years.


White flight has transformed into gentrification and historically African-American centers of culture and heritage are in danger of being whitewashed.


Back in the day when inner cities became predominantly African-American, many White people escaped to the suburbs.


White flight landed many White residents farther away from a city’s central business district and jobs.


Therefore, many of the same people are now trying to move back into the city so that they can be closer to their places of employment and closer to the action of the big city.


However, that desire to move closer to the inner-city has caused property rates and taxes to rise, which has forced out many minorities who called the community home for decades.


Although many African-Americans hate what gentrification has done to their neighborhoods, disrespecting an HBCU is the straw that broke the camel’s back for many of us.


Since slavery, African-Americans have survived and thrived off of the leftovers of White America.


Our ancestors ate the leftovers of the pig, creating chitterlings out of pig intestines.


The land that White people did not want, African-Americans had to settle for.


The schools that White people did not want to attend were given to African-Americans.


And the neighborhoods that White people did not want to live in got the moniker, the ghetto.


Racists often complain about African-Americans seeking equality, labeling it playing the race card.


Many racists say why not pull yourself up from your bootstraps before you blame White people for your plight.


Why not own your own property or you own neighborhoods?


That way, African-Americans would not have to cry racism all of the time because they would be the master of their own destiny if they owned themselves.


But when African-Americans do create their own opportunity and buy their own land, some White people like the residents surrounding Howard University believe that they are under no obligation to respect the property or rights of minorities.


African-Americans were never given anything by America.


As a matter of fact, everything has been taken from us by America.


Therefore, when we pull ourselves up from our bootstraps and create our own institutions and community, you will respect it.


No excuses.


If African-Americans began walking their pit bulls on the campus of Harvard University, the police would be called before the dog darks for the first time.


African-Americans are the masters of their own property and when you enter our property, you must follow the master’s rules.


And our rules consist of:


Respect.


Heritage.


Pride.


History.


Honor.


And the most important rule is knowing your place when you visit the hallowed campus of an HBCU.


This article was published on Friday 26 April, 2019.
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