Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mall Area vs. Yard

A friend of mine from our Student Government Association once told me of an experience on campus that puzzled her. She tried to get through what's widely known as the mall area, but it was blocked due to performances from Greek chapters who view this same mall area as "the yard."

I explained to her that Greeks were strutting, party-hopping and chanting. But before I could get to her, she asked someone close-by what the commotion was. Why was it so intriguing that she couldn't even get through to see what it was?

The stranger told her it was militant Black men - they may have been equally clueless at the moment.

Just a few days earlier, my friend from SGA texted me saying The Houstonian should do an investigate report on the blatant segregation in the mall area. Even though students seem to enjoy themselves on campus, mingling diversely and respectively, it's not hard to identify the segregated groupings.

White fraternities hang out next to their letters, on the side closest to the library. Black students are trademarked right in front of the Pawprint area (where the stepping normally takes place).

The wall that surrounds the Smith-Hudson business building is evenly shared, but most areas are still flooded with Black students.

My theory on this has nothing to do with real segregation or racism. I don't even think it's important to question whether or not students from different cultures are blatantly segregating themselves.

What's essential here is to consider how differently the "mall area" is viewed in the Black student community. It's "the yard" - much more intimate in than a mall or courtyard. It's like the backyard, or front yard.

Everyone is out there socializing, somewhat posing for the crowd, but Black Greeks dare to block off the walkway and say, "Walk around the yard today, it's about to go down. Come see what's happening if you're interested."

"The yard" has some level of privacy tied to it - the "mall area" is a public stop.

No comments: