HBCUs have many things to worry about. It is not a case of either/or but rather of all things.
Toxic black respectability discourages a culture in which we hold our leaders and ourselves accountable when nothing is more important to HBCU culture than accountability. You can have all the money and the resources in the world and if there is little or no accountability folks who look like you will rob you blind.
Further, these men represent our unwillingness to seek justice when justice makes us look bad — that’s a pretty obvious reality in HBCU culture. Further, these men represent how our communities, including the Black Church and HBCUs are vehemently anti-racist and frightfully sexist and patriarchal — with women receiving the short end of an already short stick.
All oppressions are connected. We cannot hope to dismantle racism and white supremacy and say that dismantling toxic masculinity and rape culture are not what we “do” — and have our efforts at the former not fall short. We must do more to welcome and celebrate the personhood of our community’s women. We must to more to protect our community’s women.
We must be committed to being better versions of ourselves, even if that means dismantling some old traditions — which it does — and taking up the cross of difficult conversations.
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