From a reader:
2016 in the "Land of the Free," right? Not only has the South displayed constant intolerance of homosexuality and oppression of African Americans, my town has a "Whites Only" club. Literal segregation in a public school. It's 1956 all over again.
The club is called Belleza Bella, or "Bella" as everyone refers to it. Bella replaced what had previously been "Vanity Club", which was an all-wealthy-white-female organization that would make new members do horrible and humiliating things (my grandmother ate a live bee) and claim them to be their "initiation". Bella is based on those same principles. If you aren't a white female willing to spend a nice thousand dollars or more a year, you cannot be in this club.
Recently Bella began allowing male students into the club, but of course only white males. This club has a strict "whites only policy." If you're African American, Asian, biracial, etc, you cannot be a member. The club claims no affiliation with the public school but only because of the Title IX policy which would make this club basically illegal. However, only students from one specific school can join and every white female in 8th grade from said school is invited to join. I once asked an older "officer" from the club why they didn't allow African American female students to join. Her answer was, "because they're ghetto and Bella is all about class".
Bella also does the destructive initiations. The new girls experience what the club calls "hell week". In this week, the majority freshman girls cannot wear makeup and have to wear ridiculous things such as pigtails and red lipstick as an attempt to make them feel embarrassed about their physical appearance.
Also on a random night, they come and literally destroy your house by putting shredded paper and hay all over (and I mean ALL OVER) your house inside an out: each and every inch of your home and yard and "kidnap" you at 3 AM. This is known as "rush."
This club is solely run on popularity of the white students of the school. You are literally voted out if too many members don't like you; teenage girls voting other teenage girls out of a teenage club. You are voted out if you attempt to date outside your own white race or attempt to bring anyone who isn't white into a club function. You are not allowed to discuss bringing other races into the club.
This club kills self-esteem. The worst part of all of this? Even our board of education knows and does nothing about it. It's a literal under-the-table segregated club at a public school in 2016!
It's been addressed to the head of our school system so many times and yet the club still stands. I'm sick of such an unfair club existing at the school I have to attend. It's 2016! We worked so hard to establish equal rights and this school can just ignore its wrongs.
Please don't let this voice go unheard. I cannot end this club on my own and no one in the town seems to care. The members of this club attack me over social media whenever I try to bring light to the subject, and the administration ignores my complaints. I want to see this club left in 1956 where it belongs.
So what do we think of Bella? While it may be a private club, we have found that members and their "social work" are mentioned in yearbook credits. If anyone knows a good lawyer in Tuscumbia, we think this could easily be taken care of.
Will Bella now go underground? It's certainly possible. We'll add the same advice we've previously given students/parents concerning unfair conditions at local public schools. No one stays in high school forever; in a few years you or your child will be in college, the workforce, or the military. You won't be subjected to these unfair conditions forever. Of course you may find new ones wherever you go.
And those who make and enforce these unfair policies? They'll still be stuck in Podunk monitoring halls for a skirt that's a half-inch too short, any glimpse of underwear, or hair that's not a prescribed color. Doesn't that sound like an exciting life? Whatever it sounds like, it has nothing to do with learning...and that's extremely sad.
Now we'll give some advice to Bella members: If you think all black students come from the ghetto, if you think you're better than anyone because of your skin color, if you think a racially segregated club is pleasing to God...we certainly think you should remain a group unto yourself. We don't want you to rub off on any decent people in Tuscumbia.