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Will I fit in at UT as a black person?

matoxxmatoxx Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
I'm going to UT next year but I hear that its really segregated and I have read many articles about racism on campus.
I'm british and african and I like interacting with people of all cultures and backgrounds. I certainly do not want to be discriminated against. Will it be hard to find a diverse group of friends once I get to UT?
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Replies to: Will I fit in at UT as a black person?

  • SadHippoSadHippo Registered User Posts: 486 Member
    edited December 2014
    Black people make up around 4% of our campus. There will probably be a few classes where you are the only black person. I never thought there was anything tough about being the only black person in class (I'm white) but some of my black friends here have said they feel uncomfortable when no one else in class looks like them in class. I personally have never thought it was weird to have one black person in class and don't see why anyone else would because we know you are in the class for the same reasons as everyone else. I have heard of a few cases where there was discrimination in class but have not seen any sort of discrimination in my classes and I am a senior.

    As far as getting a diverse group of friends at UT, we have around 1,000 orgs on campus that would help you do that. We have TONS of cultural orgs like black orgs, Asian orgs, and Latino orgs. Within the black orgs we have African orgs, African American orgs, general black orgs, and we also have black orgs that are specific to interests like business, pre-law, health, engineering, etc. You do not have to be of the same culture/ethnic background as an organization to join it. They will be happy to have you because they can already see that you are expressing interest in them by joining. I have been in five cultural organizations to date, non of which were my culture and I had no problems.

    Organization directory

    https://utexas.collegiatelink.net/Organizations

    UT Blacks Online

    http://www.utblacksonline.org/

    As far as discrimination around campus goes, I have only ever heard of racial discrimination against minorities in a region that's called "West Campus." This is actually two minutes off campus (to the west) and you won't ever be going to this place unless you choose to have housing there. This region has tons of traditionally white greek orgs and some of them have been alleged to have discriminatory actions towards minorities in recent and past years. The housing in West Campus also has a high percentage of white people.

    This may or may not be important to you but I can say that there's a high percentage of black students that reside in Jester (dorm) and Riverside apartments (10 mins off campus by car or bus). I've never lived in either place but I have around 50 black friends who have lived in either or both of those and none have told me of any sort of discrimination issues there.

    Lastly, we have black student orientation usually 2-5 days before school starts (you should be able to look it up) which is ran by multiple black organizations around UT and it gives you an overview of being black at UT and different black organizations at UT.

    Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions and I hope some others will respond too. Best of luck!
  • matoxxmatoxx Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Wow! Thank you so much for your detailed and informative response! It was more than enough help :) I had my doubts and insecurities but I feel 100 times better now and will definitely be saving your response for future reference in terms of the orgs and black student orientation.
    Thank you so much again!! This has been a great help xxx
    (and best of luck to you too! Being a senior and all lol..)
  • freverfrever Registered User Posts: 647 Member
    Just want to pipe up and say thanks to SadHippo for such a well thought-out response. I'm sure that took some time to write but it was very informative.

    From my own experience as a UT student, I would say that we harbor a very inclusive environment. UT prides itself as a liberal school, with open-mindedness and great diversity. As SadHippo stated, there are a plethora of cultural organizations, all of which quickly take on a family-like atmosphere if you stay on board. To be fair, I have heard about limited race-related incidents. They were, however, related to drunken antics that really stand as exceptions to the norm.

    When I first read your thread title "Will I fit in at UT as a black person" I honestly chuckled -- you will *definitely* fit in. In fact, I think you'll feel welcomed. UT is simply too large of a school, with too much diversity and too many student orgs for a person to not fit in somewhere. I understand your fears, but I would exchange them for excitement. UT will be a blast :)
  • matoxxmatoxx Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Thank you so much for elaborating on this topic! Your response was also very informative :) i suppose I can see why you found my question amusing, but I was wary because UT has such a low black population. That aspect never really bothered me as long as I knew I could find friends of other ethnicities, which made me wonder whether or not I would be accepted by them at all. I now know I should have nothing to worry about. Thank you! i'm super excited now
  • krazekidgkrazekidg Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    edited December 2014
    I'm a black student at UT and a math major. Please listen to me a little bit. You will often times be one of the few black people in your class. Fear not though, people will not discriminate towards you. You will be treated the same as everyone else. Also, being black and walking around a predominately white and Asian campus, you'll feel a little like a bad ass.

    One last thing, I'm a transfer student and a lot of people say its so easy to make friends but i did not find that to be the case, Making friends was hard for me and there was even transfer meetings that i went to where they acknowledged that it is hard to make friends at UT as as transfer. That really has nothing to do with being black though. To cut the story short, I turned to Tinder to meet new people and my now girlfriend.

    I'm new to this site but feel free to ask me anything
  • matoxxmatoxx Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    edited December 2014
    Thank you for commenting! I'm glad to have your perspective on it as a black person. Though I have to ask, what exactly is it that makes you feel like a badass on campus?
    Aww and I'm sorry you had a harder time finding friends :( but its good you have some now, so yay! XD
    (Btw I'm new too lol, this site is pretty cool)
  • chaotixchaotix Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    There's several multicultural organizations on campus that you will fit in with. I feel as if the majority of black-oriented organizations tend to gear towards more African-American culture (which you may be comfortable with). Some of my African friends who were immigrants or children of immigrants preferred more diverse groups such as alpha phi omega, etc.
  • krazekidgkrazekidg Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    by a badass meant there are very few of us and it is very obvious
  • matoxxmatoxx Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Ahh ok i get you
  • matoxxmatoxx Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Yea I think i would prefer a more diverse group too. I've lived around african americans for years now, but I'm not african American so I don't know.
    Thank u!
  • Newsie2015Newsie2015 Registered User Posts: 521 Member
    Does anyone else have any more information on this topic?

    I'm African American and I applied to UT this year. Growing up in my tiny and very stereotypical southern town (all white, heavily Christian, everybody wears camo tshirts and make racist jokes,) being the only person of color in class had more downsides than benefits. I was worried about applying to UT because I felt like this issue would continue and that I would be forced to watch the "Affirmative Action bake sales" and "Catch the immigrant games."
  • SadHippoSadHippo Registered User Posts: 486 Member
    The "Affirmative Action bake sale" and the "Catch and illegal immigrant game" were both events started by UT YCT (Young Conservatives of Texas). The second event did not actually happen due to large amounts of criticism and university officials speaking out against it causing the organization to cancel the event. Other conservative organizations around our campus spoke out against YCT too.

    I think it's important to understand how many organizations there are around campus and that there will be ignorance and racism. I didn't support either of those events and I don't know a single person on campus that had support for either of the two YCT events. I can understand why those events would make students feel uncomfortable (especially students who the event is in opposition to) but I also feel like most students became more comfortable when they understood just how many students were against this organization and those two events. I feel as if what an organization does is just reflective of their organization and not necessarily the others at our school that have no affiliation with that org. I don't know the university regulations and honor code but it does make me a little uncomfortable that this organization was allowed to do the first event with no punishment from the university.
  • fatherof2boysfatherof2boys Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    Well, I'm African-American and attended undergrad and law school at UT in the late 90"s through 2001. My wife (also an African-American) attended UT as well. Texas (especially Austin, Texas) is not the Deep South so it does not have the same lineage of racial strife as other southern states. That's not to say that there is no racism here; however, given the large Hispanic and Asian population in the state overall and especially on campus, most of the students are use to being in an ethnically diverse setting and I would be surprised if you were to experience an overt racial hostility.

    Our son is a high school junior and UT is at the top of his list. He's also considering some other state flag ship universities such as Louisiana State University (LSU) and the University of Alabama - primarily due to the amount of merit aid he would qualify at those schools. One of our concerns about LSU and Alabama is what have read in some of the college review books about self-segregation on campus. This is very concerning to my son who has many non-African-American friends. (We'll be taking campus visits in March to see for ourselves.) Obviously, there is going to be a natural level of self-segregation; however, for it to be pointed out in a college review book is kind of worrisome. With respect to UT, we have no such concerns as was stated above, UT and Austin in general is considered fairly liberal (for Texas) and other than the lack of a huge African-American presence numerically, I think that you'll have a wonderful collegiate experience at UT.
  • matoxxmatoxx Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Thank you so much for your input! Very informative. Yes, when I was searching for colleges to apply to, diversity was always something i looked especially for. And when I was reading up on UT I tended to find *alot* of people saying it was segregated and what not, which really worried me.
    I now feel alot more reassured about it all and i'm really excited (and terrified) to become a student this upcoming fall.
  • DestineeMorehDestineeMoreh Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    I understand how you feel. When I first visited UT back when I was a freshman I fell in love without giving my race or anything like that a thought. Where I come from, and considering I take all AP classes there's never more than about two black students in my classes including myself. Personally for me if that's really the case, then I don't necessarily feel bothered. Also there are so many clubs and organizations to join, I think its all about just putting yourself out there and making the best out of the situation. I haven't heard a response from UT yet however, but I sure hope I get accepted. Hook Em Horns!
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