Being Black at the University of Michigan
As JETmag.com’s resident social media watcher, I want to take a moment and commend the students of University of Michigan for leveraging Twitter to share their experiences of being Black students on a predominately White campus through the trending topic #BBUM (Being Black at the University of Michigan). The venerable Detroit Free Press has compiled many of those Tweets here, but to give you a sampling, here is what participants are saying.
— Brittany (@amBRITious) November 20, 2013
#bbum being the spokesperson for black people during any race discussion in class because you’re the only one there.
— Martin Weiss (@PedroSanchez_) November 19, 2013
So often, we see people of all ages cutting a complete clown online, essentially making sure that I have material every single Friday for Keeping it 140.
But this insightful, important discussion coming forth through #BBUM is about moving racial conversations forward. These are not whiners. These are not complainers. These are essentially reporters, providing honest glimpses into an experience that a number of us– including this graduate of Northwestern University– can relate to. I can distinctly recall getting into a heated argument in an African Civics class with a fellow student, who was White, and insisted that slaves were NEVER beaten because it didn’t make financial sense. As one of two Blacks in the class, I felt compelled to speak out and was surprised by how many other peers in the course chimed in to state that the whippings were probably rare.
In another instance, a fellow student and athlete — who seemingly had a crush on me– let me know he wanted to date me on campus, but would never take me to meet his parents because that would embarrass them in front of their neighbors. Yeah. We never spoke again.
But I digress.
While others are out here using their online accounts to show off the latest dance moves, what they’re eating for lunch, or where they went for vacation, super shout-out to some individuals who are making the most out of their platform. That retroactively includes these UCLA men of distinction who publicized the fact that their school has more NCAA championships than Black male freshmen in this spoken word video.
The bravery and poignancy of these discussions also lends itself to perhaps an even more all-encompassing one.