“They tell you to speak well, but when you are outspoken you are silenced,” said Jauan at the student lead crown forum entitled #TheRealCrownForum on Brown Street while surrounded by students from each institution represented in the Atlanta University Center.
The discussion came about due to a Morehouse freshman going viral because of a video he made which featured a shirtless him, the hymn of the college, and a number of the collegiate signs featured in the Atlanta University Center. The backlash the video received, pushed the college to make a harsh choice regarding the young man’s existence at the college. The student was charged with a claim that his video was “unbecoming of a Morehouse man.” This phrase, one heard throughout years and years of the college, sparked within current students a need to know… what qualifications and/or attributes are or should be associated with this famed Morehouse Man.
The preservation of the brand has created an avenue for respectability to become an even more prevalent and primitive part of the character that is a “Morehouse Man.” Within these subscription students are placed into a realm of: fitted suits, clean shaven faces, low haircuts, and a vernacular that includes SAT words, anything less being chastised. This ideology alone silences or forces many students to conform. However, within the mission of the college, Morehouse men are called to, “cultivate the personal attributes of self-confidence, tolerance, morality, ethical behavior…” but to what extent? What is the standard set forth for these values or attributes to be satisfied? Why do students have to create loopholes for how they should establish or continue to grow themselves at an institution designed for just that?
If students at Morehouse are forced to disregard their past or upbringing in an effort to solely uphold the identity of a Morehouse Man, is the college really “developing men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of LEADERSHIP and service?” Morehouse is continuously producing men who are following the colleges ideas blindly. While a student, the defining process simply includes reprimanding the physical aspect of the student and neglecting the intellectual. Yes, we have courses which challenge our thinking, establish certain concepts, and aid us in the future, but as an entire institution we are lacking. A student asked, “Why are we an HBCU, but Africana studies are not a part of our prerequisites?” We as an institution are not utilizing our time or space effectively. We as an institution are so focused on graduating in four years, that we are disregarding the emotional advancement and connection of the students to the college and one another. Instead of progressing in a society which has never had our best interest at heart, we are regressing back into a space where we are policing one another for being our complete selves.
Students are having discussion about where to begin redefining the concepts and ideologies surrounding the Morehouse Man concept in order to offer tangible concepts for students both current and graduate to grasp as well as further develop. The statement “unbecoming of a Morehouse Man” offers a level of ambiguity that can easily be argued due to its lack of context. A number of us believe that it will always be up to the students to decide what we should be seen as, but in an effort to accommodate the college, we will establish definition.
Check out some footage from #TheRealCrownForum below: