Should Malia Obama have Chosen an HBCU?

The White House announced that Malia Obama, daughter of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, will attend Harvard University in 2017. She will graduate from high school in 2016 but will take a gap year before heading off to the Ivy League.

But as the Obamas celebrated Malia’s decision to attend Harvard, others weren’t as congratulatory.

Some on social media either derided the decision of Ms. Obama to attend a PWI (Predominately White Institution) or just decided to hurl racial pejoratives her way.

Regarding Obama’s decision not to attend an HBCU (Historically Black College and University), some within the black community believed that seeing an Obama walk the campus of an HBCU as a student would send a message that HBCUs are viable and important.

It would, in a sense, prove that HBCUs are just as good as PWIs or an Ivy League school. But Ms. Obama’s parents both attended Harvard and Obama would be a legacy student. There is also autonomy in her decision making, which is her right.

But the debate seemed to center around the worthiness of HBCUs and if the black president’s kid should attend. Instead, the arena should have placed more attention on Obama’s decision to go to school, and that she chose a prestigious one.

While the comments surrounding the debate over HBCUs and PWIs was civil, the same may not be said about those who have disdain for the Obamas.

From calling Ms. Obama “little monkey” to wishing one of the “colored diseases” on her like AIDS or cancer, there is still plenty of hate for the first black family to occupy the White House.

While the racism is anonymous and cowardly as many internet commentators hide behind usernames, the hate is almost palpable.

An unfortunate turn to a very fortunate and celebratory event shows just how divided we can be as a nation, especially along racial lines. Still–that doesn’t stop the fact that Ms. Obama will attend one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education and we here at The Edvocate wish her the best of luck. 

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