This past Thursday, the Black Students Board held a discussion about the state of the Black community here in the Student Senate Chambers. The discussion titled “Black in NC State” was inspired by the CNN special “Black in America”. The main goal was to get a feel of how African American students felt here at State. Several topics discussed were the state of the black community, student involvement, personal initiative, unity, and challenges. For the most part, most students felt that the African American community was strong for the most part, but with everything comes concerns.
One of the main concerns of students during the discussion was students in the African American community going to more entertainment related programs than educational ones. The general consensus was that when it comes to events such as comedy shows, parties, and concerts there is always a full house; however, when it comes to educational programs many seats are left unfilled. A similar comment associated with this topic was the notion that the African American community only seems to unite when they are targeted by hate or something that only affects African Americans. One example used to describe this situation was last year’s NAACP meeting following the racist remarks written in the Free Expression Tunnel. During this event, there was little to no standing room in the Washington Sankofa Room of the Witherspoon Student Center. Many students were able to unite for that one night to address their issues with NC State’s handling of the situation. However, when it comes to other issues that are on a more general basis, the African American community seems to be not be united. The belief is that the campus community as a whole, views it that most African Americans at State only speak out about issues in that directly affect them.
There was also a call for African American students to get involved on campus on a larger scale. Students believed that if people only do things with certain groups that will be the only people that will ever get to see what they can do. This was not saying that students should not do things with certain groups; more so that students should not limit what they do, because they are the only ones there that look like them. Also, some students felt that sometimes people tend to only participate in activities with their respective organizations. The feeling was that some people tend to not want to get involved in certain programs and events if it is not held by their organization. All in all, students believed that students should take personal initiative to go outside the box and do things that they don’t usually do.
The discussion was a way of the African American community to start talking and addresses some concerns on campus. Some may or may not agree with some of the concerns, but everyone can not always agree on everything.