Mut(e)iny: The Silent Rebellion
Published: Thursday, September 30, 2010
Updated: Saturday, October 9, 2010 08:10
Everything at Howard involves a hazing experience. Whether you want to play an instrument, advise freshman, join an honors organization or graduate, you will be put through a series of physical and mental "processes" designed to test your endurance.
Since I can't speak from personal experience, aside from being a Howard student, this is not meant to cast judgment on or be unnecessarily critical of any organization. Instead, this observation comes from a place of genuine love for Howard and concern about one of the most detrimental aspects of our culture.
We love to say that adversity fosters a sense of community, but we have a few things confused. Historically, as a people, we didn't subject one another to adverse conditions in order to unite. Self-imposed injuries don't heal anyone. If you cut me, I bleed and you enjoyed being in a position to cut me, then we are both hurting (or at least we should be). The same is true if you don't cut me, but you consistently remind me that you can. If you simply make me pick pepper out of a salt shaker, neither one of us is hurting, but who are we helping. Is it truly necessary?
As I've said before, our favorite excuse for any misconduct we may experience at Howard is that it will make us more prepared for "the real world." If by real world, we mean connections over capabilities and managing the complicated dynamics of power for power's sake, then unfortunately, we are more than prepared for that.
However, while you may feel that you are mentally prepared for anything after having survived whatever ordeal challenged your resilience, there are more mainstream indicators of real-world preparedness that sometimes suffer as a result. For example, if your GPA drops while pledging an honors fraternity (or anything else), isn't that contradictory to your purpose? Better yet, how do you explain that on a résumé or in an interview?
More importantly, would you allow someone to belittle you, disrespect you, present you with less than their best or otherwise jeopardize your well-being in the real world? Most of us would be ready to check anyone, boss, friend or enemy, who mistreated us. Yet, we sign up for and subject ourselves to treatment here that we would never accept anywhere else and convince ourselves that it is part of a bigger picture. Well, strike a pose, because chances are that's all that will remain if you lose yourself in the process.
YOU are the one thing for which you should never be willing to compromise, and no one who cares about you or no action that is in your best interest would require you to do so. There is a difference between obedience and objectification, between dedication and denigration, and between humility and humiliation. Please, family, love yourselves, and most importantly, love one another. We're all we've got.
Britney Wilson is a junior English major from Brooklyn, N.Y.