Beyonce’s new Netflix movie about her Coachella performance exposes the audience to the culture of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). HBCUs appeal to people because of their history and tradition.
These colleges continue to provide an education to black students, although all races are welcome to attend, that emphasizes being positive members of our community. While people like Beyonce and billionaire Robert Smith shining the spotlight on HBCUs can benefit the institutions, I fear mainstream culture has began to corrode the mission of some of these colleges. That includes my alma mater, Morehouse College, which has been an all-male institution — until now.
Morehouse, the Powerhouse
Morehouse is an all-male college that boasts alumni such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Howard Thurman. The Atlanta-based college, like the city it is located in, has a strong gay male culture. In 2009, students cross-dressing on campus led administrators to create a dress code that explicitly forbade students from wearing women’s clothes.
Despite the dress code, the shifting culture around gender identity brought many young men who consider themselves gender non-conforming. I attended Morehouse with several non-conforming students who are biologically male, and I consider them just as much my Morehouse brothers as any other alumnus.
When Morehouse hired last year its first non-alumni president in five decades, I feared he would bring the sort of corrosive liberal policies that define predominantly white colleges and universities. This fear may have been founded, since the men’s college has recently changed its admissions policy to include the acceptance of transgender people who are biologically female.
The new policy states, “Morehouse will consider for undergraduate admission those applicants who live and self-identify as men, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth.” This makes it clear the agenda of its Ivy League-educated president is to make Morehouse just like the liberal, white campuses that he is accustomed to. The “who live” part of the policy is the most troubling.
When I was a student at Morehouse, we were able to celebrate our differences and learn from one another. This was, in large part, due to the fact that the majority of us were black men. That common understanding is what makes Morehouse different from other colleges. This is undermined by stretching the definition of “black man.” If anyone can be a black man, this cheapens the experience of students currently on campus.
It is unsettling that a bureaucrat will get to determine what it means for a student to “live” as a man in order to determine whether someone with two X chromosomes should be allowed to attend an all-male college. Accepting students who are biologically female undermines the fact that the campus is historically all-male.
Morehouse was founded in 1867 to provide black men a college education. This tradition has stood more than 150 years, only to be undermined by people who don’t care about the history of the college. Spelman College, an all women’s HBCU located next to Morehouse, has instituted a similar policy to allow transgender males to attend. They celebrated when a trans man graduated from campus, even though this person was biologically female.
Gender Ideology Undermines the Unique Value of Each Sex
This redefinition of biological “sex” is merely the tool of destructive identity politics, and it does not belong at HBCUs. These sorts of policies are especially out of place at single-sex campuses that don’t even allow students to have overnight visitors of the opposite sex.
Single-sex colleges and the notion that sex is assigned at birth cannot coexist. An astute Twitter commenter pointed out that the logical end of these liberal gender policies is also the end of single-sex institutions. A student at Morehouse has suggested that because “they” do not use masculine pronouns the college should stop using masculine pronouns. While these single-sex colleges might seem out of date, upholding tradition is the greatest defense against the degenerative, liberal forces that threaten our nation.
HBCU traditions are under threat thanks to outside influences that promote a western universalism based on faulty leftist ideology. Just like feminism has been used to manipulate women, identity politics continues to be used to manipulate minorities. The fact that Morehouse and Spelman have accepted these policies points out how dangerous it is to be beholden to external parties. Accepting this foolishness is little more than a cash grab. HBCUs will quickly find out that chasing liberal validation will only result in fool’s gold.
Paying lip service to the liberal elite plays on people’s emotions to gain political power. Statements like this from the current president of Morehouse: “I think Morehouse having the courage to speak to issues of masculinity in today’s environment is important,” diverts attention from the real issues facing America’s black communities. A positive black masculinity is best used to address the issues we have building strong family structures. Accepting a belief system that views traditional masculinity as toxic diverts this mission.
HBCUs have remained a beacon of hope in promoting traditional values, but they are clearly not impervious to the constant threat of liberal thinking.
The Far-Left Doesn’t Represent Black Men
Morehouse and black people in general are in no way advanced by the far left’s views. The slippery slope toward “eliminating sex distinctions” is a threat to the black nuclear family.
Identity politics foster “a spirit of resentment” that pits the sexes against one another. The worst aspect of identity politics is that it makes citizens easier to control. This agenda conveniently makes all struggles the same.
A white man once proclaimed to me it was okay for him to refer to himself as a “pink n—er” because he is gay. Intersectional thought like this compels people to compare struggles and assume they are equal. Predominantly white colleges have disavowed their own traditions in order to keep up with the times, causing much of the value in American higher education to be watered down. HBCUs should not follow suit.
HBCUs are going down that same path because out-of-touch bureaucrats believe that is in the best interest of these institutions’ future. Yet these campuses are too precious a resource to water down in a time where all forms of tradition stand against the agenda of America’s corrupt elite.