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Nylah Burton

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What It’s Like Being an Asian Student at an Historically Black College or University

I attend Howard University, an historically Black college/university in Washington, D.C. As a Black student attending the unapologetically Black Mecca, I have never felt like my race was a barrier here – an obvious blessing of an HBCU.  But for Asian students, of which Howard has a fair percentage, does this also ring true?

Living in a WASPy suburb of Seattle made me intimately familiar with the painful feeling of not belonging. I sought out friendships with my POC classmates — Black, Asian, Samoan, and Latinx — just so I could feel more confident in my own skin. At Howard, I was a part of the dominant group for the first time in my academic career. I couldn’t help but wonder if my Asian friends and classmates felt out of place, like I did when surrounded by a sea of white faces?