The Battle Against Misogyny at Spelman College

February 27, 2014
By

By Banah Gha

Audre With Hat

Image Credit: © Dagmar Shultz

As a student at Spelman College,  I want to share our story of activist organizing against misogyny, misogynoir, as Moya Bailey puts it, on our campus. This is a project of recording our stories, our traumas, our frustrations as the vibrant womxn* we are in this campus community. It is a decolonial project to record our stories. Our narratives that have been rendered invisible over and over. This is a story about the forces in your own home that try to swallow you whole. This is a story about unraveling, as Audre Lorde says, the deepest parts of us that hold loathing and seeing what lives there.

This is the Women Against Violence Brigade—a collective of sister-scholar-activist-writers that originally emerged from the Fall 2012 Violence Against Women Sociology class taught at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, overlapping with the Audre Lorde seminar taught in the same semester.

Our professors in the classes encouraged us to choose an activist issue on campus implicated in the continuation of violence against womxn on our campus and create a protest around it.

There was so much to cover. But what could we focus on, what would be small enough to address an entire structural set of internalized values? How could we talk about the ways in which women’s bodies are commodified on our campus, specifically how Black women and women of color bodies are hypersexualized and molded into white supremacist standards of femininity—as exemplified by our virginal “White Dress Tradition,” the heteronormative pairing of Spelman women with Morehouse “brothers,” as part of our initiation into the campus community, and the now-abolished requirement to wear dresses the first 12 days of New Student Orientation? Could we talk about the requirement for Biology students to straighten their hair during class presentations? How could we talk about these issues between and among us, as a campus community supposedly devoted to the empowerment of women of color?

We thought about our social events on campus—and of a weekly event called Market Friday, where local vendors and DJ’s come to our campus for a good time.  As a group of friends several of us used Market Friday as an entrepreneurial platform, selling vintage clothes and original jewelry to raise money for our bills, pocket money, and student loans.  After hearing about sexual harassment at Market Friday, a few of us decided to address the issue head-on. We wanted to choose a small microaggression to address larger issues of internalized misogyny on our campus, so we thought about the music played in the background of Market Friday. At the beginning of the day, smooth jazz and Sade float through the event, but around 2pm, when all the men rush to campus to “watch the women dance,” everything from 2 Chainz to Rick Ross starts blasting. While we didn’t want to make it about respectability politics or shame anyone for dancing or enjoying themselves, we did want to point out the blatant contradiction in blasting misogynistic music on a historically Black women’s college campus. We wrote the following petition, and starting amassing signatures:

Dear Office of Student Life and Engagement,

“All I want for my birthday is a big-booty hoe.”

These are the type of lyrics we are surrounded by while perusing local vendors each Market Friday here at Spelman College. As Spelman women, agents of change, global citizens entrusted to bring about free-thinking dialogue wherever we may go, is it acceptable for us to be subject to demeaning, misogynistic, homophobic, and sexually explicit lyrics in spaces we occupy? Additionally, what about the visitors who enter our campus and encounter this music as their representation of Spelman?

As Market Friday is an arena for our own community and creative expression, having all-male DJ’s constantly reinforce the notion that we exist only in relationship to the male gaze directly contradicts the values of Spelman.

Rather than play the infectiously offensive synthetic reels of Rick Ross, Young Jock, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, why don’t we introduce more women-friendly musical diversity into our soundtracks?

We, as socially aware Spelman women, propose to create our own misogyny-free playlists in order to make the musical selection more democratic and representative.

Like the Nelly protests in the past, Spelman women have historically been conscious of the standard for what we as students allow to permeate our campus.

We echo the sentiment that students should have a good time socializing and appreciate the efforts and activities the Office organizes. However, it would be of great help if we may be able to determine what having a good time means.

Respectfully,

Dr. Spence’s Violence Against Women Class, Fall 2012

The class created a series of events for the month, addressing various issues concerning violence against women, from human trafficking to intimate partner violence. By petitioning what was logistically a small issue, we hoped to unravel the large systems at work and begin conversations on the complex nature of misogyny on our campus.

photo credit: Aishah Shahidah Simmons

photo credit: Aishah Shahidah Simmons

As we began amassing signatures for our petition with relatively little controversy, our activist journey took a quick turn. Over the course of a few hours, a rumor had spread on twitter that a group of feminist-lesbians-bitches were trying to ban the DJ’s from playing at Market Friday.  Suddenly, the situation snowballed and the DJ’s called for a counter petition.

After seeing violent threats, whether serious or not, a relatively small situation turned into a hostile ordeal; we ran to our Social Justice coordinator for advice. She told us about an LGTBQIA tolerance meeting happening that same day, where administrators could lend an ear to what was happening. This would be the perfect time to testify what had happened—how a petition against misogyny elicited a backlash of misogynistic responses.

We ran across campus with the petition, a proposal we had created, the DJ’s tweets and lyrics from the songs in hand. When we arrived at the meeting, we were advised to sit outside. We listened to the muffled shouts of the meeting, “We need to protect those women!” to “Let the students choose what kind of fun they want to have!” When we entered, the room was heavy with silent tension. “Please introduce yourselves,” we were advised. We went around the room each testifying about the ways misogynistic music playing at social events and even in the cafeteria on some days provided fertile ground for a range of intimidating and hostile environments on our campus.

Once they heard our testimonies, one of the administrators made some clicking noises on her laptop and announced, “There! Problem solved! I banned the DJ’s.” We looked at her in disbelief. After spending the last hour carefully explaining the ways misogyny created hostile environments and how it presented itself throughout campus, the entire complexity of the issue had been reduced down to the very thing sparking all the outrage. While we did understand how the DJ’s were encouraging cyberbullying and hate speech, I remember feeling frustrated with the way our critiques of larger systems at work were disregarded for an instantly gratifying quick-fix solution.

Afterwards, word got out that the same feminist-lesbian-bitches who started the petition had effectively banned the DJ’s—ruining all the fun. The social effects were cataclysmic. Now people wanted to know who we were, and some of our peers had even turned over a list of our names and contact information to the people threatening us. Those of us who were associated with the petition would walk into a room and the room would immediately turn quiet. Whispers fell on our shoulders, “That’s them, I think that’s one of them that started it!”

We were social pariahs, already too-queer, too-poor, too-different, too-weird—now those things increased tenfold, both in physical and virtual spaces.

We were accused of betting on respectability politics, and even when the institutional powers listened to us, it was to co-opt our voices for their LGTBQ sensitivity initiative. The Women’s Center, sociology and anthropology departments, and the halls of our newly renovated social justice dorm became our refuge. We attended meeting after meeting with the student government association, who reprimanded us for “breaking their constitution…eliciting illegal” signatures and not consulting them first on the matter, despite that a member of the student government was in our class and fully involved when we crafted our petition.

We held a meeting in our Violence Against Women class with the president of our college, several deans, and the president of the student body at the time. It was so heated as we insisted on telling our stories and we were continuously silenced by the students’ bizarre technicalities. “No one knows what misogyny is. You need to educate the student body about that before you go attacking it,” and “You should have asked for our permission first. Your approach was inappropriate and divisive.” “If you’re protesting against misogynistic music, why didn’t you protest against financial aid, against [x] issues that matter?”

The clash between those desperately invested in the system and the huge amount of resentment we faced for daring to transgress the system echoes a tension that emerges in larger social movements. From how sexuality and gender were deprioritized over race in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, to the ways in which the white feminist movement disregarded womxn of color voices, those differently marginalized are often left out of struggles because their identities are not easily molded into a single-axis. As Audre put it, “there is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

Johnnetta Betsch Cole and Beverly Guy-Sheftall © Susan J Ross www.photogriot.com

Johnnetta Betsch Cole and Beverly Guy-Sheftall
© Susan J Ross
www.photogriot.com

At the same time, when our Morehouse “brothers” so much as dropped a single call for solidarity, Spelman women were in starched business attire at 6AM to protest side by side with them, engendering a long history of solidarity to our “brother-school” over solidarity amongst us. As Drs. Guy-Sheftall and Johnetta B. Cole cite Nelson George in Gender Talk, there is a “knee jerk defense of Black male privilege in African American communities.” Why couldn’t we amass the same kind of solidarity Morehouse students had when protesting a day off for election day? We faced similar roadblocks after engaging in a dialogue with a Morehouse class taught by Dr. Rice on Men’s identities.  We posed the question to them, “would you enact a similar petition on your campus?” to silence and timid laughter. Although the professor made concerted attempts to have his students fight with us, and asked them to draft a similar petition as part of their final exam, we couldn’t help but wonder, where was our solidarity?

In the meantime, a few of us who overlapped between the Violence Against Women class and the Audre Lorde seminar desperately searched the archives for some advice in the sheaths of her handwritten wisdom. We knew,

It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those other identified as outside the structures, in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish.  It is learning how to take our differences and make the strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

Our own organizing collective erupted in internal drama more than once, as we were struggling to cope with the ways patriarchy and other forces were intimately related and felt in our lives.

From those of us facing homelessness and heartbreaks, babysitting one-year-old sisters in their dorm rooms at night, dealing with financial aid and family issues, we were each confronting the ways that power and the abuse of power could hold us hostage. We were struggling to dismantle the master’s house with our own tools.

I was also coordinating a project through the Social Justice program around Syria—where our solidarity protests at Market Friday were directly hit by the music petition fiasco. Because of a counter-petition circulating on twitter, and its call for a boycott of Market Friday, other social justice initiatives were directly hit. Very few saw our attempt to amass solidarity, on a campus that was struggling with its own issues around it. How could I begin to connect the urgent struggle of Syrian refugees and activists to the struggle against misogyny on our campus?

In larger activist circles who organize for Syria in the United States, it is equally as difficult to amass solidarity. It is much easier to mobilize around a “common enemy,” like U.S. imperialism, colonialism, and race-based struggles rather than build support around intersectional movements that require holistic understandings of how those forces interact with gender, class, ability, and other systems of oppression. The Syria cause, like our misogyny cause, although centered around a particular experience—living under dictatorship, or experiencing sexual harassment, for example, encompass complexities that are difficult to explain to larger audiences. In Syria, for example, it is difficult to rally support against a totalitarian regime that emerged after independence from French colonialism, because it requires deconstructing forces not inside the master’s house, but inside your own. On our campus, it is easier to conceptualize fighting for Troy Davis than fighting for Renisha McBride or Cece McDonald, because then we would have to talk about patriarchy, transphobia, and queerphobia on our campus. Then it wouldn’t be so easy. The common enemy is not out there, but within each of us.

copyright: http://www.bubblews.com/news/201074-stop-rape

copyright: http://www.bubblews.com/news/201074-stop-rape

Fast forward to spring semester. The WAV (Women Against Violence) brigade had officially formed as a collective force to organize around issues related to misogyny, ableism, transphobia, classism, and queerphobia on our campus. A Spelman student had been raped by three Morehouse basketball players and a slew of victim blaming in both campus communities emerged. We organized two weeks of events for the HBCU-wide “Denim Day” initiative with  speak outs, a movie screening of NO! The Rape Documentary by Aishah Shahidah Simmons, a clothesline project and a Take Back the Night Rally where somebody muttered, “Bitches..” as our group walked through campus.

The students who wouldn’t stand with us before, who made it clear that the differences we embodied were something that they reviled, decided to organize a separate protest after we asked if they’d like to move in solidarity with us. It was a Slut Walk, of all things, on the same week as our march. Their protest was a success, hugely supported by our “brothers” who had shamed us before. They became the face of student activism against misogyny on our campus. This was frustrating because Slut Walk was directed towards the male gaze. In stark contrast, when we questioned gender violence and reclaimed our spaces through the Take Back the Night Rally, we did not receive any solidarity from men, but did receive hostility and more harassment.

Where does this fit into the matrix of activist organizing on college environments and larger social movements?  In Syrian activist organizing the same contradictions exist. The women and children who started the movement were pushed to the side when it became a militarized struggle in September of 2011,—the macho freedom fighters became the face of the movement, instead of the grandmothers who were cooking their food. As a result, the freedom-fighters—young, able-bodied men, fought for their priorities in the movement, and those who started it, who labored for it and died for it, were silenced in the long run. From the Black Panthers to the Algerian Revolution, to fighting against apartheid in South Africa, women who challenge patriarchy and the forces in their own home start revolutions, but are often not allowed to finish them. Those without normative bodies, those who experience sexual harassment and are trying to deconstruct and decolonize their own traumas, who are on the road to healing, are often not heard. Arundati Roy puts it best when she says, “There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” As Audre Lorde puts it, these are the stories that need to be shared, they are when:

I crawl into dawn

corn woman bird girl sister

calls from the edge of a desert

where it is still night

to tell me her story

survival

Rock speaks a rooster language

And the light is broken

clear.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Using Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ pedagogy as one of our foundations from which we build; we are learning to mother ourselves through this activism. Reaching into those deeps parts of ourselves where healing needs to happen, where the internalized ableism, transphobia, misogyny and self-hate lives—the powers invested in us by larger forces who want to tear us down. Reaching into those parts of ourselves connects those feelings in one constellation of growth and of love for our infinite possibilities—as a community, in our relationships, in our homes. This is for the ways we want to give birth to institutions that nurture us, ones that can carry our pain the ways our bodies have carried our pain.

This is about the ways homes can work to eat us alive and how we try to kick, scream and fight our way out, make others angry, make ourselves angry and move through that anger to create something beautiful for ourselves. It is to transform hostile spaces into inclusive ones, to tear down the borders between us that prevent us from listening, from understanding, from believing one another, making that pain visible and not carrying it silently, no matter how many times we are conditioned that it is ungrateful for us to critique our institutions. As Edward Said put it, to criticize something is an act of love. It is learning to stand apart, together, reviled, knowing that our silences will NOT protect us. No matter how many benefits come from harboring that silence—even if those silences allow us to navigate spaces and survive easier—we know that those silences can eat through our throats, burn into our stomachs and poison the ways we interact and respond to one another’s traumas.

It is recognizing the internal differences among us—and even our different approaches to activism— to understand that those differences do not polarize us, but make us more beautiful, make our stories that much more necessary to tell. It is telling our stories that allows us to stay alive /afloat / bridge our vulnerabilities together in sustainable, real, transformative ways.

*I personally insert the X as a form of resistance against hegemonic constructs of womanhood that exclude trans womxn in particular. It is my way of naming the myriad of experiences and ways of performing gender Spelman womxn have, that we are often silenced discussing in our campus community.
_________________________________________________________

 

Banah Ghadbian

Banah Gha.

Banah Gha. is a cis femme student, muslimah, and poet raised in in the U.S South. She rallies for refugee rights, environmental justice, anti-imperialism, disability justice, anti-zionism, transnational feminist issues and the eradications of all oppressions. In her free time she creates and sells jewelry, and writes about womxn’s nonviolent resistance in the Syrian revolution. She likes traveling, eating mangoes and sculpting eyebrows.

 

 

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24 Responses to The Battle Against Misogyny at Spelman College

  1. Melinda Goodman on February 27, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Wow. Everybody all over the world should read and teach this essay. Audre Lorde would be proud. Thank you for writing this.

  2. jamal lewis on February 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Banah,

    thank you for writing this fierce account of y’all’s her story.
    reading this makes me so proud.
    it fills my heart with so much joy.
    y’all mean the world to me!
    sending lots of love to you and all of my sister-scholar-activists doing the work at spelman with the women against violence brigade!
    this work is so important and now it’s documented.

  3. Opal Moore on February 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Beautiful, Banah. Thank you for speaking with love and clarity to women caught in the contradictions, that we not be defeated by them.

  4. Martha on February 27, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Brilliant. So wise and insightful. Thank you.

  5. Gwendolyn C. on February 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I really appreciate the article up as both an HBCU alum and as someone who has great familiarity with Dr. Spence, but I found it a bit problematic that race is only explicitly mentioned when explicating the assaults on Black feminity at Spelman and to swiftly do away with any space left to deal with the complexities of Black masculinity. I recognize that there may be a “knee jerk” reaction to defend Black masculinities (as put by Nelson George), but I don’t believe it’s possible to evenly and fairly discuss the problems connected to the Black female bodies at Spelman on Market Friday (which I’m very familiar with) without accounting for the brand of (black) masculinity that is so profoundly attached to the notion of the “Morehouse Man.” I understand the author is the child of Syrian refugees and a cross-movement, coalitional moment was relevant to her story (as it is to all of us), but the article seemed to provide an underdeveloped critique of Black masculinity in order to propel the narrative in a explicitly one-sided fashion. I don’t intend to suggest that we defend Black masculinity, but certainly more must be said of it than is elucidated in the article. The author is a non-black person in an almost sacredly black space, so I can definitely appreciate her take on the matter, but I do believe it can be thought presumptuous to take on the project of securing black feminities (undoubtedly with other black women), while nearly vilifying and/or denying space to black masculinities.

    • Kristine on March 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      The point of this article/essay is not to discuss Black masculinity, Gwendolyn. Not everything is about Black masculinity. Furthermore, you also don’t have to be a Black person to understand/recognize/critique misogyny. In fact, being a “non-black” person within a “sacredly black space” is irrelevant to her argument, which is well-thought out and thorough.

      • Gwendolyn C. on March 6, 2014 at 11:44 am

        Kristine, surely not everything is about black masculinity, yet I think it a bit amiss to discount the particularities of black masculinity that inform the Spelman/Morehouse relationship (and thus inform the specific implications and ramifications of how black feminity is put on display on Market Friday). After all, this isn’t simply about misogyny, it’s about misogyny that affects particularly black women (“misogynoir” as described in the article). Honestly, a critique and/or analysis of the reception of any given subject (in this case black female bodies and a petition to more or less change the reception of those black female bodies) cannot be fully wrought without discussing those who receive and even demand the display of the subject (most problematically males from Morehouse). Moreover, I think whether a speaker is or isn’t a black person is inherently relevant in any discussion of black bodies. I can’t think of any critical race theory that would suggest otherwise.

  6. Aditi on February 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Dear Banah, I congratulate you on your spirit and passion. I appreciate your fearless voice. Honestly I do. But I wish to draw your attention to what you said about students required to straighten their hair for biology class presentation. I have been a biology faculty member for 8 years now and that does not ring true for my experience. I spoke to my colleagues(some who have been around for 20 y) and consulted our students. They too have not heard of such a thing. You suggest in your piece that you would like to talk about that among other things. Lets talk! I am all ears. As one of many feminists in the department I am frankly upset by the unfair impression of my department, my colleagues, my students and our work. Our students are bright and spirited and frankly I don’t imagine they would stand for it. So I would dearly like for you to share specifically who had this experience and when? So Banah let us talk, may be then we can start with simple specific FACTS! I ask if it was recently or in the distant past, ask if one student said so or many, if one faculty member allegedly required it or the collective department? Also lets talk about the fine intellectual endeavors of biology faculty and students. Respectfully, Aditi Pai, Proud Feminist and faculty member of Biology Department with all natural hair

  7. Mark Lee on February 27, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    I echo Opal’s sentiments. I think that women everywhere risk being caught in contradictions. As a husband and father of two daughters who does much of the work traditionally relegated to women at home, even I can wonder what role I am “supposed” to play.

    As chair of the Biology Department, I cannot support the assertion that there is a tradition or an expectation that there is a “. . .requirement for Biology students to straighten their hair during class presentations?”

    There’s no such thing. There is no one in our department that would stand for anything like that. We stress the value in the message and not the packaging.

    To answer your rhetorical question, YES, we can talk about it. We welcome any discourse to discuss related matters. Our students are doing great things in science and research with hair in various states of curliness.

    • Kevin Clinton on March 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      I ask that you think on power dynamics and everyone in your department think on power dynamics. Do you expect me as a person outside of your community to believe the claim that this is not a requirement? Organizations are set up to protect themselves and their reputations not to admit wrong doing. I have seen administrators lie about myself and others frequently and then say to the press something completely different. Now I am not claiming that you are wrong, but what i am claiming is it is in your benefit to lie to the audience of this space.

      When it would be a great embarrassment if this got out? You can say you are open to talking about it all you want, but considering the attack that the author got for trying to help end a simple bit of microaggression. You can hardly expect them to respond or even be open to you. I don’t think you should take this personally, but she didn’t get this from no where. If she doesn’t respond to you, then you should not begrudge her for speaking out.

      I am giving you and your staff the benefit of the doubt, because you are reading the feminist wire. That is more than you or your staff deserve though. I feel like you are just defending yourself for your reputation and you don’t explicitly deserved to be believed.

      • Michelle C. Farrell on March 3, 2014 at 11:53 pm

        Kevin, I have to disagree with you. As a Spelman alumna and a product of the biology department, I can say that was never a requirement to have our hair straightened when we gave presentations. We were always told to look our best but that was required for all disciplines not just biology. As women of Spelman, we were always encouraged to put our best foot forward in everything we did. Whether some of my sisters chose to straighten their hair was up to them, however we were never required to do so.

        • Aditi on March 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

          Thanks Michelle your voice as a student is way more powerful than anything a faculty member might say.

  8. Sarita Smith on February 27, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    As one of your Spelman sisters, I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you and the WAV brigade. Thank you, thank you, thank you for truly exemplifying what Spelman sisterhood is all about: looking out for your sisters’ best interests, and that is exactly what you all did. It takes a great deal of courage and maturity to fight for your fellow sisters’ liberation even when they don’t have the insight and clarity to fight for it themselves. And by the way, this was a beautiful and well-written piece.

  9. Christian on February 28, 2014 at 9:28 am

    As a biology major I just wanted to speak to the fact that this “requirement to straighten our hair for biology presentations” is untrue. Teachers only stress that you make sure that you look presentable for a presentation, but none would ever suggest that straightening your hair is a requirement. If someone saw it as such then I believe they were misinterpreting what the teacher meant in the situation. At the end of the day what your hair looks like to the teacher is in no way as important as one’a ability to convey the information and prove that they are knowledgable during the presentation.

    • Aditi on February 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Dear Christian, I am so glad you spoke up. Glad to see a Biology student respond.

  10. Lauren on February 28, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I am very proud of you, and heartened to see this level of informed critique being produced within my alma mater.

  11. Anita Wheeler Plummer on February 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Bravo!The spirit of your perspective and sharp analysis is inspiring:
    “It is to transform hostile spaces into inclusive ones, to tear down the borders between us that prevent us from listening, from understanding, from believing one another, making that pain visible and not carrying it silently, no matter how many times we are conditioned that it is ungrateful for us to critique our institutions. As Edward Said put it, to criticize something is an act of love.” –B. Gha
    I’m fired up! BRAVO AGAIN!

  12. Kenya on March 1, 2014 at 9:03 am

    This is a thoughtful and generally well-composed piece. But I’m confused by some of the ideas posed. I keep turning over in my head the pairing of students with Morehouse brothers in particular; I don’t understand why that’s heteronormative.
    Nevertheless, the questions posed are insightful. I’m glad to have read this.

  13. […] The Battle Against Misogyny at Spelman College By Banah Gha […]

  14. Silent Voice on March 4, 2014 at 12:18 am

    As your Spelman sister, I do want to applaud you for your courage in standing up for what you believe in. Not many will do that. However, I do have a problem with the whole music ban situation. As a current student, I had a talk with one of my friends who was recently elected to a SGA position that why weren’t all of the students taken into account when all of this was going on. Spelman wants us to be free thinking women and how will we be that when our “thinking” is limited. Though some of the music was out of control, I never identified myself as a “big booty hoe.” I know who I am and whose I am so I was never offended. As I was having a talk with my sister who is a Spelman Alum, she too does not agree with the situation. A different approach could have been used. Banning the DJs aren’t going to stop them from playing the music elsewhere. Sitting down one on one with them having a peaceful conversation and giving them a list of songs that they could not play would’ve been a better approach. Market Friday is not the same as it used to be. Hearing about the old market Friday stories from a lot of Alum makes me feel as if I’ve been robbed. And what upsets me is is that the Admin can make a quick call of something as small as this but can’t get girls the Aid and support they need to stay here! Our main goal is to GRADUATE WITH A DEGREE AND A JOB!

    • Silent Voice on March 4, 2014 at 12:29 am

      Continued… My main point is that so much emphasis should not be put on music when we have so much more to worry about. The music we play does not represent Spelman badly though the girl “twerking” on stage during a hip hop concert does. As I said, I know who I am and will not be defined by the music I listen to. Together we stand and divided we fall. We were divided when some of the voices such as myself was not heard as well as others who may feel the same. We have to stand together and not separate ourselves from our sisters that need us the most. Until we deal with bigger issues, I honestly can’t support the small ones such as a music ban. Well written article. Thank you for sharing it. Stay strong my beautiful Spelman sister. Though I do not agree, I will always have your back.

  15. Ss on March 5, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    As a Spelman student I applaud you for writing this important article. It is extremely disappointing that some of our professors and fellow classmates have ignored the main points of this piece and attempted to derail the conversation.

    I stand in solidarity with you and am proud to be your Spelman sister.

    p.s.
    When people in positions of power claim that they are open to discourse and then proceed to discount our experiences they have negated their vow to participate in said discourse.

  16. Kristine on March 5, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I stand in solidarity with Banah. I think some of the other comments are missing the point of her argument altogether. Furthermore, THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT. GET OFF OF YOUR HIGH-HORSE. And to the VERY few comments about the Biology department, if someone is telling you that they experience something to go and discount that experience by saying that it didn’t happen and it isn’t true is wrong. You have to AT LEAST accept that, yes, this was said to this student. She actually experienced this. But you first must be open-minded and reasonable enough to get that.

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