Students at a PWI and an HBCU

Students at a PWI and an HBCU

The avenues to engage in conversation are limitless these days. You can text, tweet, Skype, Facebook, comment on Instagram posts, and of course, you can do the old fashioned open-your-mouth-and-vocally-express-your-thoughts-with-others method. Social media, specifically, has made it easy to become comfortable with the same circles of people and talk about the same things repeatedly. There are endless topics to discuss on any given day, yet there are a few debates that seem to make their way back into our conversations in person and on the web. They’re fire starters, undoubtedly, but they’ve been exhausted.

Here are four debates that---though they will likely never go away--- should be tabled, at least until there’s a new spin.

#TeamNatural vs. #TeamRelaxed: Maybe India Arie was wrong. Maybe we are our hair...because we can’t stop talking about it. Women love to debate over which hair choice is better. By now, we’re familiar with the go-to arguments for each side. One group of women is enslaved by the desire to have straight hair like Caucasians and the other is crazy for choosing to be “nappy-headed.” The extremities are so exhausting. When we all make a conscious effort to stop being judgmental about other people’s hair choices, only then will we really be free. Next.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) vs. Predominately White Institutions (PWIs): There will always be value in this topic, and rightly so. However, the “evidence” given to support why either is the better choice for educating African-American students is often one-dimensional. Rebuttals include: Students who attend HBCUs are less likely to secure “good” jobs. Those who attend PWIs aren’t recognized by predominately White faculty and staff. As an alumnus of both an HBCU and a PWI, I’ve been on both sides of the argument for over 10 years, and even I am tired of talking about it. The value you get from each type of institution is dependent upon a number of things, but your personal perspective and experiences are often the greatest factors.

What we shouldn’t ignore is the longevity and relevance of HBCUs, nor the valuable experiences that many folks have had at PWIs. Rather than argue for hours on end over who received the better education, consider joining alumni chapters and contributing to make HBCUs fiscally stronger or building camaraderie and movements within the African-American student bodies for change at PWIs.

The "90 Day Rule:" Men are still secretly planning to overthrow Steve Harvey as the king of relationship gurus three years after the release of his bestseller, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. In his book, and recently, the movie adaptation, Think Like a Man, Harvey suggested women treat men like an employer would a new employee by placing them on a 90-day probationary period before he can have sex with her. Does it really work? The jury’s still out. Though the premise makes sense logically, matters of the heart and body often aren’t treated the same as matters of finance and livelihood. In the meantime, we’re still bringing it up at house parties, intimate gatherings and on social media networks, maybe just for kicks. Is it sensible for women, a way to punish men or just plain stupid? There’s sure to be a different motivation for each relationship, but it’s time to move on to another topic either way.

The $200 Date: Apparently, a date isn’t a proper date unless a man spends at least $200. Oh. I don’t know who came up with this theory, but I’m pretty sure it’s been picked apart on Black Twitter at least one million times in the last six months. Maybe it takes time for a topic to circulate throughout different Twitter following circles. In any case, the debate is baseless and everyone has varying expectations of what a date is or isn’t. Location, cost of living, profession, personal preference and standards all determine what a date should be. An intimate conversation over coffee at Starbucks for one woman is the equivalent of dinner and drinks at five-star restaurant for another. There is no written rulebook on how to spend time with someone. 

What other tired debates would you like to put to rest for good?