To anyone who is continuing to question the existence at Howard University of the so-called “Booty Wall,” please stop. Or at least direct your questions to Marquis Barnett, the nation and world editor at the campus’ own Hilltop newspaper, who just interviewed me for a story he’s writing about me having written about the Booty Wall.
My having written about said Booty Wall for City Paper‘s City Desk blog yesterday unleashed nothing short of a wrath in the Comments field. I was labeled, among other things, a “backwoods racist ass jerk,” a “bigot,” and an “elitist,” for writing about what someone else had written about the Booty Wall on a site called HU Reaction (some commenters on my post used profanity and racial epithets about other commenters as well).
Wrote Vanessa: “How dare you write some crap like this. why are you all so intimidate by africa americans. what about the drinking parties at maryland university or the other all white schools. Howard University should have a african american home coming queen, it is a HBC and Hampton should have one also. I am so sick of undercover, backwoods racist ass jerks trying to stereotype africa americans..you need to take you ass back to minnesota.”
I was also accused of disparaging Howard’s Homecoming, being held this weekend, by pointing out that Homecoming comes around only once a year, while the Booty Wall is available for fun year-round. That line prompted a comment that I had insinuated “that Howard University has prostitution on campus and the freshmen students sell ‘booty’ 24/7, rain, shine, sleet or snow.” One person wanted to see the police report backing up my prostitution “claim.”
Anyway, this is all so important that it’s going to be one of the main stories the Hilltop is reporting on during this homecoming weekend. Barnett, a junior from Winston-Salem, N.C., said that he himself had been upset when he read my post, and that the headline (“Who Needs Howard’s Homecoming When There’s the ‘Booty Wall’?”) seemed “a little inflammatory to me.”
Barnett was kind enough to answer some of my questions after I finished answering his: He told me he learned of the Booty Wall about a week into his freshman year, when some guys said they were going there. “I’m thinking, like, what is that?” he said. Barnett described it somewhat like the original poster did, without going crude: It’s a place outside the girls’ dorm, the Quad, where “freshman girls and freshman guys get to meet and congregate.” Down the line, sure, they “may be able to get a relationship going or whatever,” he said.
(The original poster wrote: “Ladies sit beside it as if they were in a gallery as males try their luck with cliché pickup lines and desperation tactics. The young male may wait patiently along this wall for days – weeks even to be accepted by one of the women who sit by it. It is a freshman’s dream to be invited inside the Quadrangle, however at best they will just be able to look inside the lobby as one of the girls go back to her room.”)
Barnett estimated that only about 50 to 75 guys “use” the wall. And he isn’t one of them. “I haven’t met anybody at the Booty Wall,” he told me.
Barnett said that things had gotten “a little out of hand” in terms of the reaction to my post but suggested that, if I hadn’t mentioned Homecoming, the reaction may well have been less vigorous. I asked him how he felt about the original post, from which all this stemmed, and he said it bothered him (he hadn’t read it before yesterday).
“It upset me a little bit – more than yours,” he said of the HU Reaction item. “Because I realize your post came from his post. Howard is a very conservative institution. It does not help the conservatism of our institution. It doesn’t help us keep the prestige of our institution.”
There is another way to deal with all this, though: Just blame me.
Ideas? Comments? I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter.