White student’s Instagram post about attending Spelman sparks social debate

White student has been criticized for fetishizing the experience of attending an HBCU

A newly enrolled Spelman College student’s Instagram post about her elation over attending the “home of Black girl magic” has attracted disparate views about the tone of her post and generally her acceptance into the predominately Black institution.

Over the weekend, a woman with the Instagram user name @_camillarose posted an image of herself smiling and posing in a “Spelhouse” sweatshirt along with a lengthy caption speaking about the significance of her attending the historic and prestigious Atlanta institution, which is one of the select historically Black universities left in America. According to the latest U.S. Department of Education stats, there are 104 HBCUs opened across the U.S.

Spelman’s history as a school built to serve Black women who could not attend predominately white universities at its inception is preserved by those who attended and those who have invested millions in keeping the school at the top of various rankings.

The Instagram user’s statements about the fortuitous chance to be among the scholars at such a university has drawn mixed reviews. Her statements in the post have been picked apart by some but given a pass by others who say she is simply a student expressing her pride for good reason.

“Transferring to a Historical Black College or University has been my dream for almost two years now. I could never have genuinely imagined I’d be transferring to the #1 HBCU in the country, Spelman College,” she wrote in the post. “The home of Black girl magic. I feel beyond grateful for every facet of my journey & for this IMMENSE privilege...I understand the privilege I hold as a White woman in America and I choose to wake up everyday using this privilege to create a more equitable and healed world.”

A Twitter user screengrabbed and shared the post Sunday. The student’s Instagram account was reportedly changed to a private account after some of the criticism was hurled at the Spelman student. The Twitter user simply captioned the screengrab with “How y’all feel about this.”

Thousands began quote tweeting and commenting their sentiments about the post. For those not offended by the post, they found that the naysayers were being hypocritical. If Black students can attend — and beam with pride about attending — a predominately white, PWI, then the student should not have received an online bashing, some argued.

The backlash came from users who felt her statements seem to glorify the HBCU experience in a way that minimized the struggle or even fetishize the idea of attending a Black school as a non-Black person, pointing to her “Black girl magic” comment.

Later Sunday, the student apologized for how her first post came off to some fellow Spelmanites and other Black people.

“For one, I understand White Saviorism is a very huge issue and my post literally wreaked of White Saviorism,” she wrote. “That is wrong. I also really completely acknowledge that me speaking about my mental health issues equated to comparing those issues with the experience of being Black in America. There is absolutely no comparison. That is what I did.”

She ended the extensive follow-up, apology Instagram post with: “Black Lives Matter is not a trend. It’s not a trend. I am aiming to be better everyday. Once again, I am sorry for everyone I have harmed.”