Like the last post, I was up this morning plugging into the world. Another piece of news caught my eye but this one is more personal. Its to do with the Band Hazing case at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. I write this post doing duel duty: to both defend and criticize student organizations (fraternities and sororities and the like) to those that are interested, members and the resistant. And I’m doing it as a proud member of both a fraternity and a sorority.
Now I could repeat the usual benefits of joining an S/O/Frat/Sorority and I will: brotherhood, sisterhood, scholarships, purpose, support system, network, etc. Every last one of them are true if that’s the reason why you decided to join in the first place. I defend S/O’s because I got more than that in the processes for both: I discovered a capacity for strength, passion and bravery. I discovered more about me. And I did it by putting myself out of my comfort zone and in a place that always asked if I could do better, that required commitment, deep introspection and a sense of unity. I am a better woman and consider both instances to pledge some of the best decisions of my life.
I love both my fraternity and my sorority. We all have our reasons for doing the things we do, our secrets that are near and dear; what separates us from others and also what brings us together. For all that, we as members need to recognize a time to do away with certain traditions. The whole ”it was done to me, it should be done to them” attitude smacks of revenge and makes the intake less about about building a bond and more about power. Too many fraters and sorors are corrupting their values in taking the intake to extremes. I don’t know a single fraternity or sorority or S/O or the like that wasn’t founded on the principle of coming together for the benefit of the members, community and potential members: if you’re to the point of scarring people, physically or emotionally, then you have corrupted your values. The point is to yield the best not beat the best.
Now there’s a marked difference between white fraternities and sororities and minority sororities, even though I am speaking to minority organizations, there’s no reason that what’s coming up next can’t be applied all around. I know for the minority organizations our intake is built on the history and culture represented: to bring awareness and knowledge to members and society at large. Sage in thought but manifesting itself debasing and radical ways. While I’m not privy to the history and ways of any organization outside of my own my thoughts are this: I don’t believe a single founder of any organization began with the intention that future generations would suffer what they suffered or to suffer period. Only to learn to overcome obstacles together. With that tell me, how are the instances like Robert Champion (and countless others) teaching unity, strength, brotherhood/sisterhood? When did your values and organization become so important that it is worth risking a life? I love my fraternity and sorority, but they both have their due place on my priority list. There needs to be a serious re-haul on the approach to intake or we will look up one day and find everything we value scattered to dust.
You need to do a couple of things first: ASK YOURSELF WHY and DO YOUR RESEARCH. Having done this, TWICE, I will say no combination of colors or letters or dances done on the campus square is worth the trouble. You join for that reason and you’ll be a dead-beat frater or soror in two years. On top of that, a fool for all the money you spent. If you’re doing it for acceptance, tread carefully. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be accepted, humans are not that different from the rest of the animals, we recognize the value of being in a group and we are all looking acceptance. But how far are you willing to go get it? While I am shocked at how some organizations would treat someone they want to be their sister or brother, I am more surprised at the number of people that will tolerate debasing behavior to be called someone’s brother or sister. I have 5 BLOOD REAL sisters, and while they have dosed their measure of tough love to prepare their baby sister for the real world, it has never involved hitting me or humiliating me. They would only kick my ass if I ALLOWED someone else to kick my ass (LOL) because we have more pride than that. I suggest interests get some too before they even consider this. Next, do your research. And in case you didn’t know that means: visit the website to get acquainted with the values and history, get to know the local chapter (outside of the parties, market days, etc), get to know the alumni and most importantly SHOP AROUND.
For the Brothers and Sisters
We love our lives, proud to give and be given to in return. We jump at the opportunity to go out in force, lettered and represent. But we’re in a time where people are more likely frown on us than be impressed. Hazing extremes and deaths are neutralizing all positive attribute of we do and what we represent. The ironic part is that this problem emerged from within by our own hands. As I said earlier, there is need for re-haul in how intake is being approached. Right now there is a movement against bullying, of which I am in support of. If things don’t change, honestly and wholly, how long before all fraternities and sororities are viewed as organizations that condone/use bullying?
So you don’t like fraternities or sororities and have a very low opinion of those that are in such organizations and those that seek membership. You may be justified in some cases but certainly not all. If you can’t bring yourself to respect the organization for whatever your reasons maybe, respect what it means to people that make up its body and for many organizations, membership was earned and not paid for.