Black College Students at Predominantly White Campuses Feel Internal Cultural Tension

Silas Allen, News OK, July 21, 2013

When George Lee first came to the University of Oklahoma in 2009, he felt out of place.

Lee, who is black, grew up in a low-income, predominantly black neighborhood in Bryan, Texas, near College Station. But when he arrived at OU, he said, he felt pressure to change how he spoke and acted to integrate himself into the dominant culture.

He felt like he couldn’t be the same person he’d been in his old neighborhood, he said. He felt like he was being asked to trade part of his “blackness” for the values and characteristics of the dominant white culture on campus.


The idea of double consciousness—when a person’s identity is divided between two cultures—isn’t new. Sociologist and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois explored the idea in his 1903 book “The Souls of Black Folk.” But a new study suggests the conflict remains for many black college students today.


According to a recent study published in the National Communication Association’s journal, Communication Education, black students at predominantly white universities still often struggle to assimilate themselves into a culture they see as different from their own.

The study consisted of six focus groups spread out over three universities—a major Midwestern university in a small, rural community; a major Midwestern private university in a larger city; and a major Southwestern public university in a small metropolitan area. At each of the three schools, black students made up 8 percent or less of the overall student population.

According to the study, many of the students reported feeling an internal tension between remaining proud of their own culture and altering their own language or culture to adapt to the perceived “whiteness” of their universities.

That inner conflict continues when those students return home, according to the report. Of the 67 students involved in the focus groups, 52 were first-generation college students. Those students reported their families didn’t have an understanding of the students’ college experiences and the desire for a college degree.


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  • AutomaticSlim

    “He felt like he couldn’t be the same person he’d been in his old neighborhood”

    Sounds to me like there is a very simple solution to his problem.

    • sbuffalonative

      What he expects is that the majority change to accommodate him. We must lower ourselves to his level. It’s racists to expect a black man to alter any of his behavior to fit in with the majority culture. It’s WE who must change.

      • dukem1

        Man, ain’t that the sorry fact.

    • Erasmus

      “He felt like he couldn’t be the same person he’d been in his old neighborhood”

      IOW, the people around him disliked when he started acting ******. I got news for you, guy, even black people don’t like when other blacks act all ****** on them.

  • ncpride

    remaining proud of their own culture…..

    Surely they jest. What in the world is there to be proud of?

    • Erasmus

      Culture? What culture? Gang-bagger rap? Rates of teenage pregnancy that would rival Mexico’s? Single moms as far as the eye can see?

      No one with more than a double digit IQ is proud of “black culture.”

  • Nick Gherz

    I wouldn’t want Cornelius & Tyrone to “act White” (or Asian) by taking math, physics, or computer science courses.

    Keep it real with ethnic studies.

  • Creepy as a cracker!

    Too bad you couldn’t be the same person, neither could the better qualified White student whom you displaced just because you have minority privilege.

  • George Lee, straight from the original article itself, (drum roll please):
    an African American Studies major at OU.
    I swear, you just can’t make this stuff up.

    • ncpride

      He’ll take his useless ‘degree’ out into the world, then blame White racism when he can’t find a job.

      • AutomaticSlim

        Yes, useless degree + asinine haircut = no job, for sure.
        Not to mention surly, rotten attitude, which I am sure is there as well.

        • Skip Wellington

          What’s wrong with a salad bowl/pinking shears haricut?

          • Oil Can Harry

            He can get a job as a Jermaine Stewart impersonator singing We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off.

      • If I saw a resume with that major, I would fight the urge to throw it in the trash, along with a degree in Cannabis Cultivation (yes, that major really exists).
        However, I don’t want to be accused of discrimination. Anyone with a degree in Afro whatever is bound to fail any entrance exams, or score near the bottom, so I would let their failing test scores do the work for me.

        • kjh64

          Now Cannabis Cultivation IS a major you could make some good money at.LOL

        • Magician

          Please don’t forget their prestigious degree in music called hiphopology

        • Ed_NY

          The equivalent of a diploma mill.

        • AutomaticSlim

          You’d actually be better off passing on the resume, rather than having them come in. Once they are in, you are in more danger of being accused of discrimination if/when they are rejected.

        • Greg Thomas

          Don’t fight the urge D.B. That resume should be filed in the round bin.

      • Luca

        He’ll wind up being the 15th Assistant to the Assistant Vice-President in charge of diversity at a company Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton have extorted.

      • TheAntidote

        Lol. He’s immersed in “African American Studies” yet he still feels out of place and, I suppose, disloyal to his neighbourhood and identity. I guess the situation is hopeless. If I was the provost at that school I’d make him more comfortable by placing a bag of skittles in every room.
        Anyway, his future is bright; he will get a job. Gubmint work with the EEOC or Dept of Education. Word to yo’ mama, black boojwahzee.

      • Carney3

        Oh he’ll get a job all right. Plenty of make-work available for quota-fillers, and not only in government — big business, non-profits, churches etc. are only too happy to shower white wealth on such types.

    • Sick of it

      Always an interesting degree plan when offered in Indian country.

    • bigone4u

      He reminds me of Obama. With the publicity surrounding his alienation you can be sure the Democrats are exploring a future presidential run with him at the top of the ticket. The way things are going, Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus will be his running mate.

      • TheAntidote

        Not so fast……look carefully at the pic. At the far right edge of the pic there is a tiny blond bobble head hovering over the scene approvingly. LIke a spirit of inclusion, diversity or race treason she may be arranging the entire tableau.

    • YourMOMA

      African American Studies? Is that where they learn about black power and blame white for personal failures?

  • David Ashton

    The case for apartheid.

  • Luca

    First of all, if George Lee had paid attention in his many English classes he would have been exposed to the wonderful world of proper English. He probably would have been better off trying to apply what he learned rather than to stubbornly hold onto his ghetto ebonics for fear of losing his identity. No one will ever mistake him for anything other than an African American.

    At the beginning of the previous century, first and second generation children of immigrants were forced by their parents to learn English and to study hard in school.

    In the US, English is the language of education, education is a key to success, success is a key to wealth.

    If you insist on speaking some form of broken-English you will not experience full success.

  • kjh64

    “But when he arrived at OU, he said, he felt pressure to change how he spoke and acted to integrate himself into the dominant culture.”

    Boo, hoo. How many people, have found themselves in new social, work or school environments and felt they had to alter their behavior to fit in? It’s called life and it happens to just about everyone.

  • din_do_nuffins

    The hardened mindset of my White privilege tells me to dismiss any complaint from blacks who have Anglo-Saxon names. If college was a n’ro invention in Africa, his sufferings might deserve attention. But when blacks absorb and consume White-invented civilization, they lose their right to complain. They all “have more work to do” at showing us the gratitude we deserve. We’d accept self-deportation.

    When blacks have anything better than a bone through the nose, a dirty loin cloth, and a filthy village full of malaria infested pickaninnies, they owe us for their privilege of not living authentically n’ro.

  • aryanson

    AmRen is bad for my health, my blood pressure shoots up and I get so upset I start on an instant rant.

    • SWPL2

      My God. You’re reading my mind…

  • Puggg

    The irony is that the “whiteness” at the University of Oklahoma, among young whites, is basically warmed over blackness, or to put it another way, whiggerism. The man would probably have a meltdown if he tried to fit in with healthy racially aware white people who acted white.

    • Jack Burton

      It’s pathetic. I’ve known plenty of stupid liberal Whites that pander to blacks and treat them better than they do other Whites, so the article is nonsense.

    • ShermanTMcCoy

      I am more than happy to share my considerable knowledge in the area of “Ebonix.”

      The first lesson anyone needs to learn is the alphabet.

      To wit:

      Mofo “A”, Mofo “B”, Mofo “C” . . . etc. and etc.

      You are all very welcome!

    • dukem1

      It take about five minute to learn ebonic.
      five minute you never gon’ get back.
      nome sane?

  • Greg Thomas

    Was he rejected at HBCU?

  • Spartacus

    And the study about white students in majority-blacks colleges/high-schools are… Where, exactly ? Because I’m pretty sure they have much bigger problems than “internal cultural tension” ….

  • libertarian1234

    “According to the study, many of the students reported feeling an internal tension between remaining proud of their own culture and altering their own language or culture to adapt to the perceived “whiteness” of their universities.”

    Yes, their culture of killings, muggings, rapes and hating whitey just can’t be found at their new home, so it’s only inevitable they can’t continue feeling proud about all of it.

    I mean, come on, it’s the language too!

    NOBODY at that honky place even speaks ebonics.

    • If Lee was proud of what passes for black “culture”, why did he decide to go to a university instead of prison?

  • Puggg

    Except he went from Texas to Oklahoma. Not that big a difference.

    • ShermanTMcCoy

      Now Pugggy, haven’t you ever heard that “the world’s dumbest Texan moved to Oklahoma and raised the average IQ in both states.”

      Well, perhaps not in this case. . .

      • Puggg

        When I was growing up, almost all of the state jokes in my house were about Arkansas.

        • I grew up with a few jokes about Texans, but most of them revolved around the fact that they don’t ski very well.

  • frozenpie77

    And what about white kids like me who are 40% of the student body on my campus?

    • Skip Wellington

      “Hey Frosty – gimmie a solid and do my maff homework!”

    • ShermanTMcCoy

      4 words: Get The Hell Out!!!

  • Michelle

    Only black people would get to college and complain about having to speak proper English. Naw I gotta lern haw to tak lik dem white folk,wit an 62 IQ dat too muh to ask from a blak man.. This is too much.. I can’t believe this is an article. If someone made this up to make fun of blacks,I’d get it,but its unbelievable that this is a real article. About a black college student complaining about having to attempt to speak and write like everyother college accepted student.. He is the 1 in 100000 ghetto black kids who made it out of the ghetto with grades good enough to go to a white college,so what’s to complain about? Of course black people will find something to complain about. But complaining about having to learn proper English now that youre in college,well that just takes the cake of black complaints doesn’t it.

    • Ed_NY

      His grades were good enough to get him into a White college but those same grades would not have been good enough for a White kid to get into the same college. And let’s not forget, some poor White kid who busted his butt in high school and who did much better than this ingrate was denied entrance to this same college so as to make way for the wonderful benefits of diversity.

      • Michelle

        This diversity bullshit will bite them in the ass when campus rape and violence reports sky rocket.

    • Tom_in_Miami

      “..dat too muh to ask from a blak man.”

      Correction of your diction: The word is “axe,” not “ask.”

      • Michelle

        Lol thank you tom 🙂 i was trying to think of how they would pronounce Ask in their disrespectful butchered version of English.. Took me a good 5 mins to write that 1 sentence, its hard work for a normal brain to dumb down to the level of basically retardation.. And im not even that smart, if i had difficulty dumbing down to their level,so i could form a sentence as they would, then i can only imagine how difficult it would be for a smart person to understand their moron language. No wonder they can’t get jobs, it would be near impossible for some to understand the jibberish, broken and butchered language they speak..however trying to write in jibberish was a good exercise to show myself how truly and incredibly dumb they are..

        • Tom_in_Miami

          Ah ain’t too smaht neither, but I can mawk duh bruthah talk.

  • Michelle

    Can you imagine what the old school blacks must think of this? The ones who would have sold their soul to go to college. Black people fought for their stupid rights to go to white colleges. We let them and now they’re complaining about having to speak and write the way every single other college kid is expected to read and write. They are the most ungrateful disgusting things on earth. 50yrs ago this negro wouldn’t have been allowed to step a foot into that white college and he complains about having to speak normal English..

    • Sick of it

      Give an inch, they take a country.

  • Rhialto

    Language note: I worked in a rural area, where the locals spoke a somewhat non-standard dialect of English. The local blacks had their own version of this local dialect that they spoke among themselves. The local blacks had no difficulty shifting from one dialect to another: they spoke to me in standard English; they spoke to the local whites in the local white dialect; and they spoke to each other black style.

    Were these blacks advanced in language or is Lee retarded? Or is Lee just a trouble maker?

    • Sick of it

      Considering his major, the last possibility seems the most logical.

  • willbest

    Remember when people melted into the pot. Good times

  • Sqeptique

    What is the point of this article? If I went to an all-black college I would feel totally out of place. DUH…

    • Winston Merryweather

      A shocking observation!

    • Ed_NY

      And you probably would have been a repeat crime victim many times over by the end of your first semester.

  • MBlanc46

    If he’s wanted to be the same person he was in his old neighborhood, he should have just stayed their and been a hood rat. If he wants to avail himself of the opportunities of the larger society and the larger economy, then he has to become a person that the larger society and larger economy require. This is certainly the choice that working-class people who seek higher education have had to make. No one is forcing him to do anything. He has the choice. I certainly don’t want to here him whine about it.

  • libertarian1234

    “The black pity party is so boring.”

    And disgusting as well.

    I’m sick to death of listening to them whine.

    O’Reilly has been trying to get the leadership on board to encourage them to clean up their acts, but they so love to be able to lay off all their many failures and inadequacies at the feet of white racism they go ballistic at anybody who admits to the truth.

    To do otherwise they would have to admit their shortcomings rather than shift all the blame to whites, and they’re far too arrogant for that.

    It’s embarrassing for them to see so many pathologies within their communities all at play at the same time which unequivocally reveals their inabilities, so, to save face, some of them pretend something or someone else is to blame, while others of them are so dense they actually believe their own lies and the lies that are told to them by their leaders and the white dorks on the left.

    Nobody is to blame for their present situations but themselves, although they might have a good case to make that they’re victims of their own stupidity, avarice, hate, tendency toward crime, taking short cuts, and hating to apply discipline and log term learning to get ahead, which is beyond their control since it is a basic part of who they are.

    They’re still in the village/hunter/gatherer plane of evolution and need an African environment for another 1000 years to move ahead a bit more.

    But, in the meantime, they ought to save everybody a lot of angst and turmoil and return to their home continent to form their own civilization of sorts.

    Of course, they’d wind up killing each other, but they’ll do that anyway.

    • ShermanTMcCoy

      “They’re still in the village/hunter/gatherer plane of evolution and need an African environment for another 1000 years to move ahead a bit more.”

      I disagree. They need to be moved into a (previously uninhabited) place in the world with 4 seasons, where they would be forced to develop planning abilities, delayed gratification, and strong family structures in order to survive. Left in Africa, they will never evolve, since they never have.

      Of course, I’ve little doubt that they never would, no matter where they are. Check on then in 1,000 years and we’ll probably find 999-year-old skeletons, many with teeth marks.

  • dave

    you never hear the indians complain. you never hear the irish complain. the Squeaky wheel gets the most grease. these people are professional cry babies. if whites went to an all black school they would probably get assaulted,these people have nothing to fear except the fear of learning and speaking proper english. they cant and wont do either.

    • Michelle

      They would Defiantly get assault. And if any of them reacted in defense during that assault they would be branded a racist by the media and the president,and have to live out the rest of their life in hiding.. Cause that’s apparently the outcome when a black thug assaults a white person.

    • ShermanTMcCoy

      They can’t help it. They cannot accept their own intellectual and emotional primitiveness and must explain their failures in advanced societies by blaming someone else.

      This, then is the definition of racial realism: Understanding that races exist, and that on average have different weaknesses and strengths, based mostly on how they adapted to their respective environments over the millennia.

      Race Realism is the antidote to the fantastical religion of Egalitarianism.

  • biscuits&gravy

    Well, then, that’s their fault for being weak-willed and not confident in their own ways. I live in Japan where the social pressure to assimilate is far beyond anything in this article. But I stand white and proud in my race and in my nationality, and when someone tells me I should settle down and act more Japanese with all that “when in Rome” crap, I just give them a look like I’m gonna smack them in the mouth, and they stfu.

  • Easyrhino1

    No doubt this is a matter for Eric Holder

  • Easyrhino1

    Equal opportunity will not mean equal results which is what Obama demands.
    And he’ll get it by leveraging his crony Holder to enforce “disparate impact” laws along with mandated quotas and AA.

  • A Freespeechzone

    Many of the blacks my kids went to college with brought the ‘attitude’ with them to campus and made every attempt to assert their ‘blackness’.

    The article is full of crap.

  • Romulus

    Another piece of bogus garbage!! It is no different for a white kid growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood who is pressured or converted into a w*gger

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    He felt like he was being asked to trade part of his ‘blackness’ for the values and characteristics of the dominant white culture on campus.

    I know. Let’s cut the engineering, science and medical programs to fund yet ANOTHER multicultural PC, hate-Whitey program.

    The University of California at San Diego has created a new full-time ‘vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.’ This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus.

    To save money, UC San Diego’s Academic Senate has cut master’s programs in electrical and computer engineering and comparative literature and dropped courses in French, German, Spanish, and English literature. At the same time, the body mandated a new campus-wide diversity requirement for graduation.

    He felt like he couldn’t be the same person he’d been in his old neighborhood

    Yeah, no ebonics, no standing around representin’ with the bros, must be tough…


    • Evette Coutier

      Our we could just cut government funding to colleges and have them compete in a free market. Let’s just see how long they stay in business offering Mickey Mouse degrees.

      • Bon, From the Land of Babble

        Doesn’t matter — the government will give them a job, with their phony college degrees — businesses are being forced to hire them too over more qualified applicants, schools too — or face sanctions and boycotts by Jackson & co.

        I read the stats somewhere about how much AA costs businesses – it’s A LOT. AA drags them down, they have to carry a lot of dead wood and cannot hire the best.


  • TonyWestfield

    A quotable quotation from the senior thesis of Michelle LaVaughn Robinson:
    “My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my “Blackness” than ever before. I have found that at Princeton no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my White professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don’t belong. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be Black first and a student second.”

    This mediocrity, whose senior thesis at Princeton University demonstrates that she writes and thinks at a level more appropriate to junior high school, hits the bulls-eye: “I really don’t belong.”

    So, Mr. George Lee, the subject of the present article posted on AmRen, is not alone in his “internal cultural tension” and his “double consciousness” and whatever other gibberish can be served up by the peddlers of psychobabble.

    The simple solution to the problem: DON’T ATTEND a predominately White college.

    P.S., Despite the pain of her years at Princeton, Ms Robinson has done okay for herself. Rumor has it, she’s even slept at the White House and is acquainted with the President of the United States.

  • Who is paying for this ghetto black to attend an out of state college and get a ridiculous degree?

    Oh that’s right, me and you and our white privilege.

  • To be honest, for being a communications M.A., your writing skills are horrid.

    The prestigious Middelbury College and Staford University?

  • dd121

    Why am I supposed to care about some guy’s “double identity”?

  • Evette Coutier

    I feel like a stranger in my own country. Where’s the articles expressing concern for people like me who cannot be white, who must be politically correct or fear losing their jobs, who must watch the death of our culture in the name of diversity. Why the f&#k should I care about this individual when he does not care about me and my culture? I have to knuckle under each and every day and trade away part of my whiteness without the slightest concern from anybody, so excuse me if I don’t have any sympathy for you homeboy.

  • ShermanTMcCoy


  • ShermanTMcCoy

    I have to agree with rjp. Your posting does not appear to have been written by the holder of an M.A. in communications. However, were I to give you the benefit of the doubt (perhaps you are working through a hangover), I would suggest three possibilities:

    1) The blacks with whom you are acquainted were being given a free pass by the institution to do as poorly as blacks usually do, but were graduated anyway, or
    2) The blacks belonged (perhaps) to the “talented 10%” with IQ’s at or above the average 100, often due to white admixture, or
    3) The blacks, having a higher IQ in the area of mimicry, were simply going along to get along.

    It was probably a combination of all three.

    • Luca

      I wonder how much Euro-DNA they possessed? Mulattoes or variations thereof seem to do better. The other factor would be a father in the family to maintain some discipline. All kids do better with a father who is involved in their lives.

    • saxonsun

      M.A. in communications? And you’re wondering about grammar problems!

  • ShermanTMcCoy

    You mean, most campus white WOULD BE happy to see Blacks outgrow their past.

    There, fixed it.

    Of course, as this is a pipe dream, it’s rarely going to happen.

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      He means, most campus whites WOULD BE happy to see Blacks outgrow their past off their campus.

      At least I THINKS that’s what he means.


  • This must be the first time in history that an 18 year-old left home only to discover that the rest of the world wasn’t interested in stopping in its collective tracks to accommodate him. How uniquely horrible! The End Times must be close at hand.

  • JackKrak

    So we need to lower the GPA needed to get in, lower the SAT score needed to get in and STILL cut him a break so he can be admitted (over plenty of other more qualified and deserving applicants). After that, we need to offer a curriculum with dumbed-down courses so as not to place too much strain & stress on this poor young man trying to make the transition to university life. Then, when maybe thirty or forty percent of people like him manage to graduate within four years, we can all wring our hands in worry over what we’re not doing to help people like him.

    Oh, and of course he will never be troubled with any piece of mail from the university containing the words “Please pay this amount……”

  • Ed_NY

    “With stone age skills and hard-wired stupidity” – so true!

  • Chris Granzow XI

    Apparently “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” has become “…being pressured to change values and characteristics, and integrate oneself into the dominant culture.” This is becoming pathetic and melodramatic. Just adapt, evolve, grow-up and shut up about it. Most white people would just adapt, learn, and move on with their day. Who in this world, with half a brain, would even think to complain about having the opportunity to be in a safe-nurturing environment with intelligent people who speak proper English. I have no sympathy, since it’s highly probable that he chose the university in the first place because of its high white population. This is too reminiscent of third-world immigrants who move to prosperous Europe, then complain about how much they hate white people while at the same time leeching off of them.

  • Erasmus

    So, poor baby, you feel out of place in a predominantly white college? What are you? 6?

    You’re never always going to feel 100% comfortable wherever you go. Boo-hoo. Suck it up and get used to it. Learn how to deal with it. Welcome to the big wonderful world of being an adult.

  • Erasmus

    But they did build the pyramids…right?

    They had to have something to fly around.

  • dmosely

    Just another moon cricket with a chip on his shoulder.

  • MystiKasT

    How does he expect to act? Like an illiterate thug? In college?

  • David Ashton

    There is a bell curve overlap, of course. I too have known a few intelligent, well-educated and temperamentally composed individuals with “negro” physical appearance, whereas their ancestral population in general fits Carl Jung’s description of their “jumping and rocking” and “primitive motility, expressive emotionality, childlike directness, picturesque language”. I think that such able individuals should be encouraged to lead their people in constructive directions, rather than to slip permanently into white society and “disappear” by intermarriage. Admittedly easier said than done.

  • YourMOMA

    Blacks can enroll into HBCUs if they fill their culture is being taken from them. They’re not forced to attend predominantly white schools.

  • Ed_NY

    And like you, most people have to find out about blacks the hard way. That is so disgusting.

  • bob

    Strange how foreign exchange students can come from Europe, South America, and Asia and fit in just fine. Blacks leave their hood and they’re stressed.

  • dukem1

    But “don’t get high on your own supply”.

  • dukem1

    Day be lawyers!!!!!!

  • dukem1

    Please do not confuse the lexicon with the rules of the grammar.

  • “Gnome sayin?”

    This is a substitute for the period punctuation.

  • willbest

    well they were starting to in the 40s and 50s, then LBJ started his war to keep blacks poor and its worked shockingly well

    • Puggg

      “war to keep blacks poor”

      LBJ or no LBJ, “war” or no “war,” blacks do a good job of that by themselves. I wish I had a dog biscuit for every time I heard someone float a goofy theory that some nefarious force was/is “trying to keep blacks poor.”

      • willbest

        Well its logical really. If we stopped paying people to exist they would either rise to the occasion and earn a living or they would die off. The ones that didn’t die off would be more capable and better integrated.