Athlete At Florida HBCU Says He's Shocked By The Number Of White Students: 'I Thought There Would Be More Black People'
On Clarence Carter's baseball team, there are only four Black athletes.
When one thinks of HBCUs, a campus flooded with Black students and educators must surely come to mind. For one campus, however, it appears the real-life demographics do not reflect those thoughts.
Clarence Carter III, a student-athlete at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida spoke with The New York Times about the absence of Black baseball players in college athletics. In his conversation with the publication, he also touched on the confusion he felt wandering around campus and being surprised by the presence of lighter faces around him.
"It did catch me by surprise; I'm not going to lie," Carter confessed. "I would have thought coming to an H.B.C.U. there would be more Black people, but things aren’t always what you expect."
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Out of the nearly 3,800 undergraduate population at Bethune-Cookman, the publication reports that 79% of students are Black. On the baseball team, The Times said only four Black athletes make up the 28-man roster. Carter is one of those four. Bethune-Cookman's athletic director argued that it contributes to the diversity of the institution.
"We just happen to be historically Black; we’re not exclusively Black. Our job is to tell the great story of Bethune-Cookman through the lives of these great kids who wear our uniforms, wherever they come from and whatever they look like."
Despite what those numbers reveal, Carter asserts he feels comfortable on campus. In fact, the California native says he doesn't have to alter his demeanor in order to fit in. However, the junior admits more athletes who look like him would be drawn to the sport if individuals would become more accepting of Black baseball players.
"If people could just accept us more in this sport," Carter explained. "If they let us express ourselves — not in a disrespectful way — but just learn to accept how we actually play we will come out of our shell and start picking up the bats again."
A 2017 report from Pew Research Center revealed that 17% of white college students were enrolled at the 101 HBCUs across the country, a 4% increase from 1980. Over in Washington, President Donald Trump vowed to place more attention on HBCUs during his time in office. One of these actions included naming Johnny Taylor Jr., former leader of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund as chairman of his HBCU Advisory Board.
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