My Experience at Trinity BSU’s ‘All Black Everything’ Party

This past Saturday I attended the Trinity University Black Student Union’s (BSU) “All Black Everything” party. The organization’s goal was to raise awareness for Black History Month, which occurs each February to commemorate important people and events in the African and African-American community. The theme was all black, meaning partygoers were asked to wear an all black outfit with the option of wearing silver or gold accessories.

At first, I was unsure about attending the party because I did not know it was being promoted across campus. I thought it was only for members of the Black Student Union, or people in the African or African-American community. However, when I actually went up to the table to ask for more information about it, I was assured that anyone could attend the party. It was then that I acquired a ticket and asked my friends Victoria and Erica to come along.

The party was held at Lush Rooftop, an exotic and buzzing nightclub about twenty minutes away from campus. Bus service was provided for all the students to ride to the nightclub. Each hour, a bus was scheduled to take students from the Bell Athletic Center to Lush. Also, a bus was scheduled to take students from the nightclub back to campus, which I really appreciated because of how many students attended. BSU noted in an email after the event that there were at least three hundred attendees at this event.  

When Erica, Victoria and I arrived at the nightclub, we had to wait at least twenty minutes to get inside. There really were over three hundred attendees at this club, in addition to the non-Trinity partygoers. Once inside, I could see that the club was bustling. Music blaring, drinks pouring, friends laughing, just as an average nightclub atmosphere would be. My friends and I stuck together for the whole hour we were there. When I was there, I was expecting the Black Student Union members to judge or glare at my friends and I, especially since they know our background of being a part of Trinity’s Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT).* However, I observed that everyone was minding their own business and having a good time, and I did not feel judged at all for being there.

Once we left the club and got back on the bus, BSU members were making sure everyone was on safely. For instance, a fellow student became nauseous.  Immediately the members helped the student and cleaned up the mess. I admired the responsibility that the organization’s members portrayed.

Even though I enjoyed my time at the party, I am still critical about the setup and logistics of the party. I learned that the event was fully funded by the Trinity University Student Government Association (SGA), which is in charge of allocating funds from the Student Activity Fee (SAF). From my knowledge and experience with the Student Government Association, full or substantial funding for club activities is very hard to acquire. I think funding this event should have been primarily through donations and reaching out to the community in San Antonio. The event must have cost a significant amount of money, considering there was bus service and admission tickets for everyone to attend.  

Overall, I enjoyed my time at this party.  I think the Black Student Union should definitely host this event again next year. However, funding should be primarily from the San Antonio or Trinity community through donations instead of from the SAF. I think these are the best ways because it would raise community awareness and support for the Black Student Union and Black History Month as a whole.

*Editor’s Note: Emma McMahan is an officer of YCT at Trinity. The Tower is not affiliated with YCT at Trinity.

Racial Discussions Between YCT and BSU

The Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) at Trinity University held an event on Jan. 29 that facilitated an open discussion about color blindness versus color awareness. YCT presented questions such as “is calling yourself color blind racist or offensive?”, “how should conservatives think about race?” and “what are we to make of social justice responses to racial issues in the United States?” to stimulate discussion. The meeting had the largest non-YCT member attendance of the school year. This was due to overwhelming attendance from the Trinity Diversity Connection (TDC) and the Black Student Union (BSU). The discussion did not take the course that is typical for YCT meetings. The questions were all answered, but only by one side of the argument, with some representatives from TDC and BSU dominating the discussion. This left many people with unsaid comments and more questions than they came in with.

Regardless of how the meeting went, there was a much more productive discussion that went on after the meeting. Members from each club were able to ask each other questions and understand how the other side perceived the initial questions intended to lead the discussion. The discussion even got to the point where the members found a middle ground and introduced solutions. This just goes to show that the type of discussion and the demeanor of the participants can really affect the outcome and views of everyone involved. This may just be anecdotal, but it definitely rang true in this instance.

So what was actually discussed at the meeting? A lot of things were brought up but what it really boils down to is the question of equity over equality. YCT members were mostly arguing for equality by advocating decision-making ignorant of race. BSU and TDC members were largely arguing for equity by advocating for making decisions conscious and inclusive of race.

Individuals from BSU believed that white people will have to put themselves down and be “uncomfortable” for a little while in order to achieve true equity of the races, typically being facilitated by the law. This obviously is well-intentioned, as it advocates for the furthering of success of black people and other people of color. The only people who would speak out against this argument’s goal are racists. However, this is just fighting fire with fire and actively disadvantaging people through the power of the government.

There are many alternatives to using legislation to further the success of people of color. It can even be done on Trinity’s campus. Members of BSU and TDC felt that a way to promote the success and comfort of black and people of color is the installation of an “Afro Affinity Hall.” This idea did not make sense to many people when they initially heard about it. However, hearing from people who would actually benefit from it can really change how it is viewed. At a predominately white institution it can be harder for people of color to feel a sense of community and an “Afro Affinity Hall” is a way to combat that. Members of BSU believe that “having that space, that community, helps us to have some sense of identity on campus, some sense of community culture.”

If there are attainable solutions such as the “Afro Affinity Hall” to racial barriers, then it falls to those, of all races, who care strongly about civil rights, to work with the administration to achieve these solutions. This is the middle ground that conservatives and liberals can reach. It is not making laws completely conscious of race but it also is not completely ignoring of race.

Overall, this meeting provided two lessons to be learned. The first is that equal, two-sided discussions, elicit the most meaningful understanding of the actual goals and questions of the discussion. The second is that middle ground can be reached on political discussions and that this middle ground can introduce solutions to existing problems.