My Saturday night started off the same way it would for most of my peers. I spent time calculating my ensemble, making sure that my makeup and hair would complement the look, and figuring out plans to ensure that I would hold true to the idea that we never lose a party.
Personally, this was time to catch up on the game day. As an independent student, the luxury of attending the Grove or a game is rarely afforded to me, as I am often consumed with work to ensure that I have the necessary stability to obtain the degree that I work diligently for.
Nevertheless, the night went exactly as planned. My friends and I, oblivious to most of the commotion that occurred that night, had the times of our lives. We laughed, sang off-key to several of our favorite songs, and chatted with a plethora of powder-blue donning strangers all in the name of being a Rebel.
We thought that this would be the end of our night. Another fun yet typical game day night.
We were wrong.
The uptick in notifications is what got my attention. People from multiple social media outlets notified me about a post made by Ed Meek, one of the school’s most noteworthy affiliates. In truth, I initially thought that it was all a factitious Facebook thing, but that was not the case.
Ed Meek’s post was not meant for me nor my good friend Kiyona Crawford. We weren’t the ones fighting Alabama fans at a tent in the Grove, we weren’t harassing our LGBTQIA+ counterparts, nor were we the ones fighting in front of bars around the Square. However, somehow for Meek, the blame for the university’s enrollment decline and city’s decline in property value was easier to associate with two women of color as opposed to the particular demographic that has been at the forefront of the school’s most controversial moments by far.
The post reeks of racist ideology as well as misogyny and is not representative of who either of us are. We work tirelessly for the means to have a taste of the college experience many take for granted. Personally, I have worked hard to embrace my voluptuousness. A term that, freshman year, I wouldn’t have been able to confidently use. I have worked hard to accept my rich, melanated skin tone. I have pushed through the injustices brought to me because of being a woman. All of which I have no control over.
As for Ed Meek: one should never use the physical appearance of a person as a measurement of their morality. As you documented in your civil rights book, “Riot: Witness to Anger and Change,” suits were worn by both the affirming and opposing side during the university’s integration process.
I don’t need your apology. In fact I don’t need anything from the reciprocal guilt you feel after being called out for what you are. The two things that automatically put me at a disadvantage in our society, you’ll never completely understand.
In closing, I relinquish being over-sexualized, scapegoated and invalidated by anyone. I deserve to feel secure in my skin on this campus and in this town just as my counterparts do and I will continue to carry on as such.
Mahoghany Jordan is a senior general studies major from Memphis.