Greek life is notoriously racist. Although today’s impression of Greek life is one of heavy drinking and date rape, racism is the is the historical underpinning for which these impressions are built. Greek life is a method to further enforce racism, prejudice, and discrimination.
Gawker reports that the student senate at Alabama University killed a “modest proposal” which discouraged racial discrimination in fraternities and sororities. The legislation followed the embarrassing public relations fiasco last year, when an all-white sorority rejected two qualified Black women from joining. The measure failed overwhelmingly in the student senate, thus proving that AU’s white Greek life is not sympathetic to integration and diversity.
When I read the article, I wasn’t surprised. Alabama is one of the most racist states ever, and most of it’s residents aren’t keen on progression and modernity. Residents cling to tradition, and are nostalgic about the “simpler times.” You know… when Blacks were second class citizens only good for picking cotton. NBD.
Fortunately, the rest of the sane world recognizes that value in diversity and integration, and are making serious strides towards racial inclusion. Nothing’s perfect, but at least there’s intense stigma surrounding segregation and racism. And, from an economic standpoint, denying entrance to a patron based on their ethnic background or lifestyle isn’t good policy. Just ask Arizona.
As an African American woman, I do not feel compelled to force my way through certain doors. I’ll muscle my way to a promising job interview or nice apartment, but there are some troubles that aren’t worth the battle. White Greek life is one of them.
I’ll be honest… in college, when I saw my friends of color pledging in all white frats and/or sororities, it frustrated me. I wondered why they would even go through the motions when they weren’t going to be accepted anyway, no matter how hard they tried. I had two Black friends pledge, and only one of them made it. The one with the lighter shade of skin. She was always highlighted in pictures as a token for diversity, but not for her quality. She dropped out shortly afterwards.
I’m not suggesting that all white Greeks are racist. Of course not. There are some fraternities and sororities that value diversity, and ensure that their organizations represent the multicultural society in which we live. That’s awesome. But there are some white Greeks that want to preserve their all-whiteness. There are some Greeks that want to continue racist legacies. These unfortunate souls don’t deserve the energy and value of integration.
To be a member of an organization is hard work. Lots of community service, mentoring, etc. Dues must be paid. Why contribute and exhaust ones self, if, ultimately, the organization won’t appreciate it anyway? Think of it like a transaction: if I see a big sign over a restaurant saying “No Blacks allowed,” I wouldn’t give them my hard earned dollars because they don’t deserve it. I’ll eat at the restaurant that appreciates my service.
Same goes for Greek life. The amount of time, energy, and money that goes into such organizations is significant. Make sure it’s spent wisely.
After all, its no fun paying for racist friends.