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"Talk Centers on 'Naive Whites'," Hanover College Triangle, 8 May 1969, p. 6.

In the following section of a taped interview with Hanover's 14 Black students predominantly centers around white students, the personal lives of students, and Admissions Director Charles Bedford's admissions methods. In the near future, the Triangle will offer Bedford the opportunity to explain recruiting and admissions rationale at Hanover.

The Black students on campus seem to be genuinely concerned about the white student's naivite about the black people of this country. One black student suggested a black studies just for white students--so they could overcome their mythological preconceptions about the Negro race. They also generally agreed that white students "perpetuated Hanover's whiteness," tended to be more subtle or polished, perhaps, in their discrimination, but were just worse than the admitted, white bigot from the south, for example.

Since this series began, however, one black participant has left Hanover College. That leaves 13, and that is an unlucky number. Aside from graduation, several other black students are leaving. The college may have difficulty recruiting non-white, middle-class students with it's increasingly poor reputation. It is not unlikely that in the near future the college may find its self in the uncomfortable position of being labeled and actively attacked as "racist" in its admissions policy.

More disconcerting for Hanover's 1,000 white, however, was the unanimous statement by all 14 Hanover blacks that they would not come to Hanover College knowing "what they know now." They other consensus was that though this may be, in the end, a trustrating "college experience" for any black student, they have found their experience as rewarding simply because they are in the process of learning to "beat white man at his own game." It must be that the one student who left a few weeks ago, after only being here for 1 1/2 semesters, had sufficient experience in the white man's world, and has left to find her own distinct, SEPARATE peace. (The Editor)

D: You know, I don't think the administration realizes what it's like for a black student here. D.Q. (Dean Quilling) said to me, "As long as you'll conform you're all right. Every white here is loved. When you first got here everybody just loved you. And then you changed. After Perspectives I didn't feel comfortable talking to you. So many people here at Hanover College want to love you. But you won't let them. You want them to love you on your own terms."

E: Bedford said "we'll have more black students next year." There were 12 here last year and there are 12 this year.

D: In my high school, I was a guinea pig. Out of my whole school my counselor picked two girls: my and some other little light bulb. Bedford (Director of Admissions) was in my home city a week, and during that whole week,  Bedford only interviewed us. Bedford gets there and he gives us this big spiel. See, after I came here, Bedford started sending home all these little clippings about how what a good Nigger I was. My counselor used to paste them up on the bulletin board - Come to HC the land of opportunity? I went home for Christmas, and I went into that office, and I asked for a list of all students who had applied to HC. I sought out each senior, and I knew most of them, and I told them forget it, you understand? All I had to say was, Look, this ain't it. No matter what this man tells you, that ain't what's happening." They withdrew their applications. Now you see why we're not going to have no people from my high school coming here next year. They knew they made a mistake, and that is all there was to it. I think Bedford is a poor representative of this school 'cause I think he actually believes all of this mess he says. Bedford was all I had seen of HC. He sincerely believes what he's preaching. He sincerely believes that we don't have problems here, and if he ever wakes up to it, he'd probably die.

E: When I talked to Bedford, and this is an attitude I don't like because it negates me as an individual, he says, But think of the good you're doing the white student. And I said, Well, what good are they doing me? It can't be one way. I can give them, but what are they giving me? They're killing my spirit, my fire for life. It can't go one way. It's got to go two ways.

E: Every time I go through this same questioning about my hair and my appearance and my ancestry, and do I tan, I'm giving to them. The thing is, I figure how is it that I know I don't tan and how they look when they tan, and can tell my roommate to cover her eyes under the sunlamp so she won't burn. Why is it that she can't think, or the white student can't think enough to open her eyes and her ears to grasp that? They're so smart to be here. Why is it that we have to tell them? I don't mind answering questions, but it's just why can't it be a two way thing?

F: When you say things that to you are plain common sense they ask you questions that your five year old cousin knows. Well, why? You know this about them, and one thing I've discovered, in talking with these whites around here is that they get angry.  When that play was given in the Coal Bin Theater, and the statement was made by one of the black students 'We have been psyching you out for three hundred years. We know how you think, we know how you feel, we've had to survive.' When this statement was made one white student just almost went in hysterics and she said, 'You don't know what I think, and you don't know how I feel,' but she's talking about herself as an individual. I'm talking about the white mind, the white rational. I've had to know this to survive in this country. And that is completely the truth.

E: It's pitiful how easy it is to psyche out a person on this campus. I used to walk around or sit in my room. Like I've got an interview tomorrow with Bonsett about my scholarship, and I can sit there for two hours before I go in and write down exactly verbatim, what the conversation is going to be.

D: I've been trying to figure out why some of you have more trouble with the administration than I have. And I've figured out that the thing that hurts me more than anything else is that I'm paying my way through, every penny. And they don't have anything over my head. And that's the catch.

C: The thing we talked to the Dean about was money. I said not one word. He said, What's wrong with you at student assembly? I know you've never been to the meetings. I heard you were against the meetings. I said, That's what you heard. Then, he couldn't get me on that, so he said All right, that incident in the infirmary that happened about a week ago -- yea -- he threw that at me. He said, All right, have you been drinking? Well, what am I supposed to say? He wants to get something on you so that when you start really talking you're at the disadvantage. And then, when you don't want to explain yourself to him he gets angry. If you don't want to explain to me than something's wrong with you. You have to change your attitude to get along with me.

A: They say you can't have this and that because you dress to well, you do this too much, and you do this and so and this, and so and that's personal business. And I don't see where that's any of their business. I can't see why my personal business is just put on display like that! It's just torn apart and I can't see this. They say you have a scholarship here and all that. And I said, Well I feel like I'm prostituting myself. I feel like someone is buying me. And that's one of the reasons why I will not stay here.

B: I think too that another reason why Hanover is not conducive for a black student, or a white student who thinks as an individual, who has finally come unto his self, is that once he is finally growing up, or evolving a sense of self, or understanding, he don't like to be led around, like you can't wear pants here. Here I am twenty-one and I'm told how to dress, when to dress, what to dress. The black student has experienced too much of life because he is black first of all, to be dropped to a place, to be fed like a ten year old kid. The thing I hate, too, is they talk about our grades -- I say how can I study in any kind of atmosphere like this. I mean like I'm sitting around being told what to do, when to do it, and you know you have nothing else to do so you study. I don't study. I think it's ridiculous. I don't see how they can ask a human being to try to think in an atmosphere like this.

F: A lot of whites here are so naive. I don't like to admit to myself, but I think actually that I've become more hateful. When a person first has a realization of blackness it hits you like nothing else. And then you have this hunger for reading. I read and that made me hate even more, but then I decided nah, this is wrong. I came to Hanover to help, and what happened to me? I can't stand to live in that house with those white girls. I can't stand to be around white people here. And this is what Hanover's done to me.

A: When I came here my only contact with white people had been through sports and TV. The thing was I really didn't mind. But I get here now, and I hate it, and I say they're using me.

B: I went to an all white southern school for two years all by myself. I was called everything: you name it they said it. And I was spat on, kicked. I never let myself hate, because I said to myself, if I hate them I become as low as they are. I'd fall to their level. I never hated one of them. But then I come to HC, the land of opportunity, where everything is beautiful, everything is perfect, where I am able to come into my own, and I start hating. This is the first time I ever hated in my life. And not an individual. I hate the race as a whole.


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Caroline Brunner (HC 2018) selected this article for Learning in Black and White, a study of African Americans at Hanover College from 1832 to 1980.
This is a faithful transcription of the text as it appears in the print version of the Triangle, available at the Hanover College Archives.



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