Sometimes HBCU news and affairs reaches the radar of PWI advocates. In Tallahassee, it is a frequent occurence for supporters of Florida State University.
Here’s a few points of emphasis from fans on Warchant.com message board, which is designed to be a place for FSU friends.
Normally a gallery of FAMU non-supporters would not be a big deal. But it should be, and it always should have been. Because the people who comment on message boards, on articles from local newspapers and broadcast television companies, and everywhere else divergent opinions can live aren’t just some run-of-the-mill racists from Podunk Town USA.
They are a sample of Florida’s God-fearing, taxpaying, 9-to-5 working, football watching neighbors who happen to love Florida State more than they love Florida A&M. Some of them are racists; most would consider themselves not to be. And if we met either of person in line at the grocery store or at a football game, chances are we wouldn’t be able to tell one from the other.
They are also voters, legislative advocates and donors. And you should believe that if they are willing to off anti-FAMU rhetoric pseudo-publically, they are fully willingly to back it up privately with donations and ballots.
These commenters believe and share, even in private spaces just out of sight even on the Internet, that life without FAMU means more parking for FSU football games, more resources for Florida State research and development, and expansion of the Seminole brand in a city dyed in FSU garnet and gold. They think FAMU is a waste of taxpayer money, is an ultimate resource of political and racial division, and takes up too much ink in local news coverage for too many bad headlines.
But what they don’t see is thow FAMU gives so many FSU undergrads an affordable shot at masters’ and doctoral education, which they can’t get at FSU. They don’t see that if you are African American and poor, Florida A&M offers a better shot at admission, graduation and post-graduate earnings than FSU offers.
But most importantly, they don’t see that Florida almost has to guarantee FAMU’s survival and the ability for certain programs to thrive, because anything less is likely to trigger a federal desegregation lawsuit that the state would likely lose, which would likely cost billions of dollars to fix and would deepen racial animosity between citizens.
And those billions would come right out of FSU’s budget, along with programs, resources and students in an effort to make FAMU more equitable.
That’s what some Florida State lovers don’t get. No, its not our job to make them smarter about it, but it is our job to ensure that as many people as possible are exposed to the best of what FAMU has to offer, and not just the controversial parts which come being a historically black school in a historically white town.
After all, folks in Tallhassee deserve to know the truth; a FAMU that simply exists virtually gurantees a strong Florida State. And fortunately for them, enough of FAMU’s leadership is comfortable enough with that prospect to ensure its success, year after year.