The “Ideal” Spelmanite (Conversation w/ C. Nicole Mason in the Museum)

While discussing her book Born Bright, C. Nicole Mason talked about the her life and the things that inspired her to write and to continue to tell her story. During our conversation, she read part of her booked that talked about her first experiences at Howard. She talked about how when she first arrived at Howard, she was surprised at the type of neighborhood that it was in. I could relate to this. Before coming to Spelman I had only seen pictures of the campus online and in brochures. All I saw was a nice, gated campus with green grass and flowers, and I figured that the surrounding neighborhood would look similar. To my surprise, the surrounding neighborhood didn’t look anything like the actual campus.

During this conversation C. Nicole Mason also talked about how she felt different from the girls there. I think that the experience that she described at Howard is very similar to the experience that many girls at Spelman have. There is an idea that many people have when they think of the young women that attend schools like Spelman, Howard, Hampton, etc. Many think of middle-class or wealthy young women that come from families that are well-off. Many people think that the typical Spelmanite is “bougie” and high-maintenance. While this is the case for some of these women, there are many women that don’t fit this stereotype and feel pressured to live up to the unrealistic expectations. C. Nicole Mason writes about how from the day she moved onto Howard’s campus she did things such as say that she was from L.A. and decide to go by her middle name rather than her first in order to fit in more with the girls around her. I have felt the pressure to fit into the image of the “ideal” Spelmanite and I know many people have as well. I could really relate to C. Nicole Mason in this portion of her story. 

This conversation in the museum was very interesting and also very encouraging. The conversation that was held encouraged me to continue to improve my writing and helped me to understand the importance of telling your own story even if nobody decides to read it. I also felt encouraged to be myself rather than try to be the ideal Spelamnite.

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