For the Rebels We Used to Be
I’m learning ethics right now in my Business Law class. It’s interesting to see the principles that have been taught to me all my life to come in lecture form. It’s interesting to hear the principles that have lead me since I was a child to come out of my professor’s mouth and for me to take notes on the Golden Rule. It’s interesting that I have to write out, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
When I think of how interesting all this is, it makes me think how beneficial this would be to others. I think about how the fourth chapter of my textbook (which I cannot afford) would be a good read for many of the people we run across in Gloster Hall. But there is another principle I have learned that I’ve been challenging Gloster with for quite some time: "Thou shalt not bear false witness." I have encountered yet another lie that has entrenched our administrators and staff. The perniciousness of this lie has the power to move toward through the future of Morehouse and potentially bring its downfall.
That is the notion that we treat those who enter these gates as men. The lie is in our titles of Men of Morehouse. The lie is in the belief that the service we give to one another is sufficient and beneficial. The lie we spread is laced in our arrogance and shortsightedness.
It is this lie that halts alumni contribution through immense dissatisfaction. It is this lie that creates the “other” reputation that spreads about, one of inadequacy and acrimony. I have tired of the lie that we spread believing we are treated as men. I have tired of this fabrication of satisfaction. I have tired of the history we refuse to acknowledge in favor of the fable that has constructed our narrative.
There are those I have encountered in the three and a half years I have spent here that have colored my being. I have met new friends, established connections that I may actually cherish through my life (and I tried not to buy into that propaganda), and I have learned a great deal from being here. Yet I have also learned of the lie of the Mystique. I have found a network of people who seriously believe if one flounders at a job and calls it a process, one can sell it as a product and call it trial by fire.
Assistant Director of Admissions Quentin Johnson is a man who may possibly destroy the future of this institution of which I have grown quite fond. This is one of the men who conduct the interviews for prospective students. He is one of those who decides who will be admitted and who will receive scholarships. He is the filter for those like me and those who most certainly will come after me.
On a normal day, he stressed the arbitrary rule of removing my hat in the very informal cafeteria. He didn’t tell this to the legions of others who see this rule as useless unless in a formal setting. He told this to me and my friends because this day he needed to assert his authority and crush some egos.
Thinking back on this, I think I should follow all the rules here, no matter how fundamentally pointless and unfounded (I reference my article “The Restoration of Antiquity” in the seventh issue of the Maroon Tiger this year), when I receive all the services I pay for. In essence, when I have hot water in the shower every day, internet in every building, and grassy areas to use that make me feel like this is a real campus, I’ll take off my hat in every building, awning, carport, garage, and umbrella presented.
Quentin Johnson is a man who perpetuates the lie that rule without reason is logical. He is a man who continues the notion that tradition without rationale should be upheld to the utmost standard. This is a man who does not understand the ways of people and personality. In his still-present youth, he believes he has created the ties to those in my place now, but he only proves his dedication to blindness.
Let me just say, this is not just me complaining about my hat or some rule, it’s a larger issue (as I always say). This is about recognizing the meaning and history of law. This is about the proper assertion of power. This is about the intention of the institution to which we vow our lives. Like how grassy areas represent campus life and proper stewardship of our property, the dispute over this rule is much bigger than one could surmise at first glance.
When one claims to listen and only talks, I am not treated as a man. When the campus is only presentable in times of alumni return, I am not treated as a man. When a parent must call for a financial matter in order to receive service after the student has tried for weeks, I am not treated as a man. When the facilities I pay for are not provided, but pointless rules are stressed without merit, I am not treated as a man.
Is not the Morehouse Man a rebel? Can you always tell me but not tell me much? Why is our standard one of social justice when I am treated with inequality in my own House? Why are our ideal agents of change those who have rebelled against the system and yet we train those in this institution to be docile? I ask these questions constantly and I ask what I have continued to ask: why is our rhetoric not aligned with our actions?
As an agent of truth, I will continue to fight until what we say here at
I will embody every aspect of the Franklinian Renaissance and bring back the rebel that we have lost long ago. I will reveal the truth that we have lost. I will call others to follow me. We shall be diverse and we shall be unified. We shall represent the diversity that encompasses every facet of the Morehouse Man, but we shall be the fastidious thinkers we are expected to be.
And every now and then, we’ll rebel in order to prove it.