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Some students and alumni associated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have caused a stir after being accused of trying to steal part of North Carolina A&T State University’s homecoming culture.

North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT) is the largest HBCU in the country and its homecoming has been affectionately nicknamed GHOE (Greatest Homecoming on Earth) due to the rich culture and immaculate vibes that the campus holds during that time of the year.

MORE: HBCU Homecomings: Celebrating The Best Of Black Culture

A tweet posted earlier this week showed a Black woman in a “DHOE” shirt that stood for the “Dopest Homecoming on Earth University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill.”

The tweet, which showed other versions of the shirt, was accentuated by a message about “The DHOE Collection” written in fine print: “A collection inspired by the community that made homecoming at UNC-Chapel Hill dope.”

 

It was that “inspired part” compounded with the initials (DHOE) that likely upset many in the North Carolina A&T community. It also renewed the debate about Black students at predominately white institutions (PWIs) and HBCUs.

Amber Atkinson, a North Carolina A&T alumna and current UNC graduate student, told NewsOne that the homecoming experiences between the schools are not close at all.

“As an HBCU graduate, the homecoming experience here is nowhere near the experience of one at an HBCU,” Atkinson said about UNC on Thursday. “At NCAT you could feel the energy shift at 12 AM on Sunday of homecoming. But here, nothing matters until the weekend.”

Other North Carolina A&T alumni said “DHOE” is the epitome of cultural appropriation and could have harmful effects on North Carolina A&T and HBCU culture.

“Even though it’s a Black woman in the picture and Black people in the cartoon on the shirt, it’s still appropriation because it’s UNC,” Kiara Norman, who graduated last year, told NewsOne. “High chance with the school’s level of exposure that ‘DHOE’ will takeoff and A&T could be left trying to defend ourselves. It’s funny and biting when smaller HBCUs try to make a version of GHOE, but when household PWIs do it, it’s just appropriation.”

Black Twitter users were also sharing their thoughts on “DHOE.”

“Y’all should be embarrassed to even post this. PWIs, PBIs, and MSIs are NOT HBCUs. The only HBCUs are HBCUs. You can’t have our rhythm without our blues,” one tweet said.

 

“I mean the Greatest Homecoming on Earth (GHOE) is less than an hour away. UNC’s Homecoming wants to be like A&T’s Homecoming so bad…it’s hilarious at this point,” another tweet said.

HBCUs have been under the mainstream radar for decades and this new influx of attention to these universities has helped spark conversations on gatekeeping in the Black community and how other universities should embrace these historic institutions and their traditions. Attempts to replicate HBCU culture typically fall flat because Black colleges are too unique to be duplicated.

“A minute section of UNC’s population is Black, so these pictures aren’t even what their homecoming looks like at large,” NCAT alum Dwayne Branch II told NewsOne. “It’s also blatant robbery of a neighboring HBCU’s culture. HBCUs are supposed to have a different culture than PWIs and it worries me that if Black students keep stealing elements of HBCU culture that HBCUs will one day have nothing left to offer.”

A name in this story has been changed to ensure privacy and prevent retaliation from the University. 

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