WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2015 – The article “Dear Bennett College: Just end it with Morehouse already,” (CommDigiNews, Nov. 6, 2015) prompted unsolicited attacks on social media against the Bennett College name and towards the women of Bennett College. Conversations turned into debates as to why Morehouse and Bennett are still associated.
Most of the negative feedback came from Spelmanites, who, based on their arguments on Twitter, did not like Jackson’s reference calling them “low-hanging fruit.”
As a graduating senior majoring in English and currently attending the illustrious Bennett College, I could not help relating to everything my Bennett sister was discussing. I have had my own share of experiences dealing with Morehouse “men” and Spelman “women.”
At Bennett College, we pride ourselves on tradition and history. We accentuate the importance of sisterhood and uplifting black women, and this is where young girls graduate as educated women. One of the first things we are taught at Bennett College is the importance of conducting oneself as a lady at all times and the bond we share with our Morehouse brothers. I put emphasizes on the “our” because formally that is the relationship we share with them.
Freshwomen at Bennett College learn this from the very beginning, during orientation week.
Like Jackson mentioned, as a Belle, you get excited to go the annual Morehouse trip and you are anxious for homecoming season to roll around. Then, once you experience what all the hype is about, you learn there really is not too much behind hype.
The way Belles feel about their brothers is not mutual. When you take the long ride to Atlanta from Greensboro, N.C., the enthusiasm builds. However, once you taste the bitterness of sour apples that you once referred to as your “brothers,” you leave with negative thoughts towards a historically black institution that is supposedly teaching its students how to be gentlemen.
I do not point the finger at those who try to poke fun at the situation with their ignorance on social media. I am not mad at the Spelmanites and Morehouse men, who are not mature enough and were not taught respect, for trying to bully and slander Bennett Belles on Twitter. I blame it all on your institutions for not educating you.
In one argument on Twitter, I was told to “stfu” because I had not taken a class on the history of Morehouse, where the person mentioning me had so proudly stated that there was not any formal documentation that Bennett was Morehouse’s sister school.
@johnellee on account I’ve taken a class on the history of Morehouse and you haven’t. Stfu.
— Pulley (@Pants_So_Short) November 7, 2015
In other cases, Spelmanites were upset at the fact that they were exposed for being the unfriendly and unwelcoming school that they are. They were also upset that they were labeled as women who can be obtained with little effort. I understand that Spelmanites may feel a little resentment towards Belles for the untimely exposure, but facts are facts. What really gets to me is the type of retaliation Spelmanites have launched against Belles. There were jokes comparing Morehouse men marrying a Bennett Belle to marrying a Spelman Jaguar, where Spelmanites were made out to be the better choice. My sisters and I were getting referred to as “bitches, whores, sluts and ugly.”
Although I personally do not take offense from insults from the ignorant, I was utterly disgusted with black women bullying, bashing and tearing down other black women and an institution that is dedicated to empowering and educating black women.
Bennett and Spelman supposedly stand for the same purpose; uplifting black women, progressing and giving them the power to change our own conditions. At Bennett we are taught the importance of forming a bond with other black women, but since the backlash of Jackson’s article, it is hard for me to make the same observation about Spelman college.
As women and as African-Americans, it is important that we stand in solidarity. It is important that even though we do not share the same issues, we are still understanding of one another. It is extremely important that we remain professional in all situations.
Calling me out and making it seem like one school is better than the other does nothing towards progressing as black women.
I loved Jackson’s article and her argument about why Bennett should end its ties with Morehouse. Although I do not agree that we should end traditions, because Bennett is built on honoring our history, I do suggest that the administrations of these schools incorporate their association with Bennett College.
I also suggest that we reiterate the importance of standing together as a black community and being the change we seek. I commend Aziza Jackson for not being afraid of the consequences of publishing such a thought-provoking and controversial opinion piece.
A true definition of a Bennett Belle.