A newly enrolled Spelman College student’s Instagram post describing her elation of joining the predominantly Black institution has triggered an online debate around the appropriateness of the reasons behind her joining the college.
Some users reportedly found her post fetishizing the college, and in the process, overlooking the real purpose for which the institution has stood for since its inception in 1881.
“Transferring to a Historical Black College or University has been my dream for almost two years now. I could never have genuinely imagined I’d be transferring to the #1 HBCU in the country, Spelman College,” the white woman with the Instagram username @_camillarose wrote along with an image of herself smiling and posing in a Spelhouse sweatshirt, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“The home of Black girl magic. I feel beyond grateful for every facet of my journey & for this IMMENSE privilege… I understand the privilege I hold as a White woman in America and I choose to wake up every day using this privilege to create a more equitable and healed world.”
Instagram Post Shared on Twitter
The post was screengrabbed and shared on Twitter resulting in thousands of users commenting about it.
“My question is why is she sooo motivated to got to an HBCU?” one user wrote. “While she should be welcomed, that post is only a few words away from fetishizing Black peoples, Black struggles, and Black power. Someone should keep an eye on her. Culture leeching is getting savvy.”
Another one interpreted her statement as though she is taking the opportunity for doing community service or a political campaign to create a “space” for herself.
When I attended a PWI I wasn’t trying to “create a space”, “make a change” or nothing else bc that school wasn’t originally created for me, so I’m just confused on why she’s treating HBCUs like a community service/ political campaign???? Her reasoning is what makes it weird..
— Paris Monét (@ParisLann) December 6, 2020
It was not all negative though, as some of the users tried to reason with the naysayers, equating her reaction to some of the Black students who elate at the thought of joining a predominately white institution.
Most of the reactions pointed out her use of the words “Black girl magic” and not providing the attributes she liked about the college that made her join in the first place.
The student made her Instagram account private after the backlash grew more intense, and later wrote a post apologizing for her choice of words in her earlier posts, acknowledging that they reeked of “white saviorism” and alluded to the fact that she has some “mental health issues.”
“For one, I understand White Saviorism is a very huge issue and my post literally wreaked of White Saviorism,” she wrote. “That is wrong. I also really completely acknowledge that me speaking about my mental health issues equated to comparing those issues with the experience of being Black in America. There is absolutely no comparison. That is what I did.”
She further wrote that “Black Lives Matter is not a trend,” and that she is “aiming to be better every day.” She apologized to “everyone I have harmed.”
Spelman is a prestigious and historic liberal arts institution in Atlanta that was built to serve Black women who could not attend predominantly white universities.