Black History month is a time to celebrate our ancestors and the struggle they overcame, not to mock the very people who paved the road for us to be free and equal.
At least that’s how some people feel about the student senate’s Dating Auction, which was held Wednesday in Lee Hall.
According to Sharon Ames-Dennard, director of the Center for Human Development, the dating auction is similar to a slave auction in many ways.
“The (slave) auction block was elevated, similar to a runway, so the audience could have a good look at the slaves, “said Ames-Dennard.
Ames-Dennard also commented that the slaves were paraded naked down this runway for buyers to see which slave they liked most, just like in a dating auction.
“The best body gets the most money,” she said.
Saasha Wheeler, 20, a sophomore business administration senator from Fort. Lauderdale, said the auction raises money for various projects, which included adding a gazebo on the Jackson Davis lawn and adding more garbage cans around campus.
“It was used to beautify the campus two years in a row, ” said Wheeler
Raising money to improve FAMU’s campus is a great idea, but some students feel that auctioning people off and devaluing their dignity to the level of merchandise is disrespectful to our ancestors.
“I really don’t condone auctioning, because when I think about auctioning it reminds me of slavery,” said Adam Allen, 22, a senior criminal justice student from Jasper.
“And they’re doing it during Black History Month.”
Tron Hill, 21, a junior electrical engineering student from Warner Robins, Ga. said, “They shouldn’t auction people off, merchandise is auctioned off. It says a lot about the spirituality of the students; we’re selling ourselves to ourselves.”
SGA president , Andrew Gillum, said the auction was meant to be a harmless event.
” When it was founded, by no means was it a thought of offending anyone. Sometimes, I don’t think it goes that deep,” Gillum said.
According to the student government, the auction has been a very fun event.
“People are being auctioned off because they want to be…slaves did not agree to be auctioned off. I don’t think you can compare the two,” Gillum said.
“It is highly inappropriate to have an auction of any capacity,” Ames-Dennard commented.
“If FSU had an auction and were auctioning off black folks as slaves, you would have a problem.”
Wheeler said that if the students had a problem with the auction, why didn’t they come to them?
“We are the student government…if it’s really something the students are against, why didn’t they come to us.”
Despite the similarities of a dating auction to a slave auction, many students agree that the event was for entertainment only.
“I don’t think the auction represents slavery,” said Doris King, 24, a senior psychology student from Lake Alfred. “For those who think it’s disrespectful, if it’s disrespectful in February it’s disrespectful every month.”
Andrew Marshall, 22, a senior health care management major from Mobile said, “I feel like it’s a creative way to raise money.”
“For people to be educated and then contribute to this is phenomenal,” Ames-Dennard said.
“I would like to see it banned from campus…and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”