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Miss Who? Selection of White Miss Hampton Questioned (1173 hits)

By Elizabeth Reed -- Black College Wire

After competing against nine African-American contestants, Hampton University has crowned its first white Miss Hampton University, Nikole Churchill. Being that Hampton is an historically black university whose primary focus is directed towards motivating the African-American population, shouldn't they have re-thought that crowning?

The Spartan Echo
Elizabeth ReedAccording to Wikipedia, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964. That's a pretty clear-cut definition, except it's missing one major historical fact: HBCUs were created because African-Americans were not allowed to attend white colleges because of segregation. Though hindered, this did not stop African-Americans from banding together to create schools where they could engage in the same learning environments as their white counterparts. Hence, the creation of HBCUs. HBCUs not only show the struggles we have endured as African Americans, but they also show how we rose above and beyond, preventing any type of hatred from keeping us down.

Now, with that said, why has Hampton University decided to crown their first caucasian Miss HU? Did they ask the student body on their take before making such a decision? Is this Hampton University's way of marketing themselves? In other words, is this the way that Hampton University has decided to show they have steered away from the African- American principles upon which it was founded in efforts to be accepted by a wider array of prospective students?

If this has been done in an effort to entice prospective students and to increase the yearly profit, I think HU needs to rethink their advertising tactics because this one has not gained much respect, nor will it be beneficial in the long run. It is the job of both the students and faculty members to keep in mind and uplift the positive image of African Americans within the school's conduct and sponsored activities.

And why white? The first time HU has decided to reach out to give others a chance, it so conveniently narrows down to a white candidate. It's one thing to be a white candidate for this type of contest at a culturally diverse university, but why at an HBCU? This is the person that is going to be the visual representation of the HBCU Hampton University.

This is a contradictory representation that will also be a confusing one. If I didn't know anything about Hampton University, other than that it was an HBCU, and when visiting the school's website I see a caucasian Miss HU, I would be confused. How can the student body, consisting mainly of African-Americans, relate to someone who does not look like them and probably has not experienced what most African-Americans have?

HBCUs are one of the many things our elders fought for and I know with this crowning they are turning in their graves.

As a student at Norfolk State University, an HBCU, I can honestly say that I disagree with Miss Churchill's appointment. From the blogs I have read, I can see that many HU students aren't happy either. I came to an HBCU to be in an environment that upholds the black community while also being receptive to other ethnicities. Being a resident on campus here at NSU, I am able to see the growing multicultural population and can honestly say that I believe it's wonderful. It, in turn, helps diminish the negative racial stereotypes that NSU has had over the years.

However, on the other side of the spectrum, I believe that no matter how mixed the NSU population will become, African-American achievement should be encouraged and put first above all ethnicities because, as I stated before, that was the mission upon which HBCUs were founded.

I say that to reiterate this: HBCUs are made to uphold black achievement. There is nothing wrong with having a caucasian female, or any other individual of any ethnicity, representing your school. However, there is certain criteria that need to be evaluated before these decisions are made. In this instance, the major criteria up for re-evaluation is the school's history. It is inappropriate for a white female to represent an African American school. If Hampton University wants this person to be the image of their school, then maybe they should reconsider whether they want to be categorized as an HBCU. It's just like when scholarships are open to certain races and not others. It is not racist, it's just the evaluative criteria used to uphold certain ethnic achievement.

This causes one to ponder: What exactly categorizes a university as an HBCU? How do you define an HBCU? Should we do away with the title HBCU totally to eliminate further confusion?

Comments on this article (9)

Elizabeth Reed writes for The Spartan Echo, the Norfolk State University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Articles in the Voices section represent the opinions of the individual writers and do not reflect the views of Black College Wire.

Posted Nov. 05, 2009
Posted By: Jehan Bunch
Thursday, November 12th 2009 at 11:01AM
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Saturday, November 14th 2009 at 5:16PM
Bull_t and sour grapes!! I am a graduate of HU, as were my mother, grandparents, brothers and my daughter and son in law!! HU got its first black president, Jerome Holland , while I was there. I am gong to have to blog this!! Let me stop here by saying while everyone is upset about this girl who is half Guamanian, (think brown skinned Asian) and Italian becoming Miss Hampton, the school voted in an Asian Mr. Hampton this year. Nothing is said about that. I want to know the REAL reason for the ruckus. Y'all knew she was a contestant, so why wait until after she won? Sour grapes. Oh, Boo Hoo!
Saturday, November 14th 2009 at 7:44PM
cece valentine
It's amazing to see how some Black folk are complaining about a White girl being Miss Hampton but when former president Clinton was inducted into the Sigma fraternity they wasn't saying a damn thang.

I know I may be sounding European right now, I graduated from a college where 2/3 of its students were Black, there were non-Black girls who ran in pagents and some of them WON, they weren't questioned about if they were Black or White or Mexican or Chinese. COME ON PEOPLE, let's stop the bull**** and give the girl a chance. This would be a tradegy to strip this title from this lady after the hard work she had done.

Saturday, November 14th 2009 at 9:22PM
Siebra Muhammad
predjudice is predjudice?
Saturday, November 14th 2009 at 10:09PM
Amen amen. Either admit U R bigots or stop the bigotry yourself!! The girl is hurt by this and it's a shame. Shame on those who pumped up this non-issue. (No one mentioned the Asian brother being Mr, Hampton, yet.)
Monday, November 16th 2009 at 11:35PM
cece valentine
Ohm yeah, it was cute, I suppose when people cracked that Bill Clinton was the first black president and later inducted him into Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. (There are 2 other white members.) Like Sister Siebra said, prejudice is prejudice. And a bigot is a bigot, no matter what color!!
Monday, November 16th 2009 at 11:38PM
cece valentine
Wassup, Mozelle?
Monday, November 16th 2009 at 11:39PM
cece valentine
And another thing, HU got out of the NCF (Netro College Find) years ago, so that tells me somethig about their approach. Technically, it is not an HBCU. Look at the pictures and environment, and U see something else, however. Anyone confused about that is confused, anyway and is not at the point of attending ANY college.
Monday, November 16th 2009 at 11:42PM
cece valentine
Mixed feelings on this because predjudice is predjudice is predjudice. Black women can not be expected to accept second in their homes. Since this is a school who has multicultural motives...this is really a none issue. The deed is done and I trust the students had some part in the election process. They are ultimately responsible to choose their queen not me. I have not even looked at chic and we discussed this issues weeks ago and I thought the concensus was we can't be like them, at the same time we have to look out for eachother. This young lady is evidently more like us, Either way congrats sis on your victory. Send me a head shot I will weigh in your appearance. As to the other qualifications I am sure the rules did not state she had to be black..or she would not, cou
Tuesday, November 17th 2009 at 9:48AM
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