By Ashley Williams
As you can tell by our previous post about homecoming, we have been feeling very nostalgic about the four years that we spent chillin, eating, studying and coasting on federal funds (a shout out to the Pell Grant). Oh College.
It was one of those rainy days, that led to one of those rainy day conversations. Soon we were talking about TV shows from the 80’s and 90’s (that’s how we spend our free time, because we are nerdy and cool like that). Anyway, we ended up talking about A Different World. Yes, it was before our time, and the show had Velveeta cheese oozing from it’s crust, but Velveeta cheese is good cheese and the show was great cheese.
In high school, we remember watching re-runs and thinking, college is going to be full of all kinds of awesomeness, lessons learnt within an hour of programming, attractive black people and catchy one-liners. Years after we drank the cool-aid, we sit in front of our Macs, like an old man sits on his porch and reflects on his life.
We are forced to ask, was college really that great for black people or was a different world smoking their own 90’s pipe?
Here to comment on our ‘philosophical’ ponder is our contributor, Ashley Williams:
“It’s a Different World” and indeed it was. The groundbreaking show “A Different World” channeled the college experience at a fictional HBCU located somewhere in Virginia. The show expressed its views on relationships, fraternities, parties, date rape, and racism. “A Different World” was one of the first shows to ever tackle the subject of AIDS epidemic in the late 80s.
Looking back at all the accomplishments of the show has led me to pose a question. Did the show bamboozle later generations of young black college students into thinking the “black college experience” meant more than basic education for a field of study?
What the black college experience offered to the students on the show, was so much more than flare and style, but who can forget Dwayne’s kooky classes or Whitley’s shoulderpads.
It was the allure of the fact that a certain kind of dialogue and mentality could exist among black students. Peers; whether they may be dark skin, yellow toned, or every bit of mocha could co-exist.The sense of understanding was comforting.
Beyond the “Q” parties, step shows and fundraisers was the intense work load. The challenge was extremely apparent when midterms came along. Everyone had their share of midterm horror stories. The long legacy of being part of the educated minority, also played a role. There was also that lesson to conquer the man. Whoever he is…
Now readers, a question for you, regardless of whether you went to an HBCU school or not, but was your black college experience, well, black? or were you just another kid taking classes?