Aisha Tyler To Students: Think Beyond Black Colleges And Universities
Nowadays you can’t turn on a TV without seeing something race-related. Whether it’s police brutality, a racial hate crime, or even a celebrity who’s said something politically incorrect, racial tension in the US is definitely at an all time high.
But when it comes time to choose between all of the colleges and universities, comedian and actress Aisha Tyler wants young African American students to stay open minded and not just apply to schools where they are the majority.
Tyler is a proud graduate of Dartmouth College. According to the Dartmouth site their 2019 class has 1116 students and eight percent of that group is African American. The school has also had its fair share of attention in the media ranging from sexual violence allegations to racism on campus.
In 2014 Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon said the Ivy League school was being “hijacked by extreme behavior,” when he addressed a group of faculty two weeks after a group of students staged a two-day protest in his office, demanding a point-by-point response to a 72-item “Freedom Budget,” that addressed sexual violence. And in that same speech he also announced the formation of a presidential steering committee who would be tasked with researching possible reforms and presenting them to the Board of Trustees.
However, Tyler thinks African American students should face these schools head on. During an interview with Money she was asked what would she say to students who might be put off by hearing about racial incidents on a campus?
And she replied:
“When incidents of discrimination happen, that is the real world. You know, if someone doesn’t write something nasty on your dorm door, that doesn’t mean they are not thinking it. I applied to Dartmouth the year the school had a big demonstration against apartheid. The students built a shantytown on the green, and some students, ultra-conservatives, destroyed the shantytown with sledgehammers. I told my high school counselor I was going to Dartmouth, and he asked me: “Why go to a school where that happened?” It’s not for everybody. You have to decide what you can tolerate. But my great-great-great-great- grandfather escaped slavery in Texas and eventually went back into post-reconstruction Texas and built a successful business. What would we be like if black people didn’t go into the heart and didn’t try to change things? We would have made no progress in the country. Bravery is the engine of change.
When asked what advice would you give African-American high school students who are thinking about where to attend college she said: “I’d say: ‘Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t pick a college that replicates what you did in high school. Test yourself in an unfamiliar context so that you can learn to succeed no matter where you are placed, so that you know you can excel’.”