Why I Don’t Want My Child To Join A Black Greek Organization
Historically, sororities and fraternities have been pillars of the black community, a shining example of our infinite possibilities. These Greek letter organizations (why Greek when we’re generally African?) have represented the leaders on just about every front of Black progress. The brothers of Phi Beta Sigma are now celebrating their hundredth anniversary and other have as well. But these centennial celebrations beg the question: how important are fraternities and sororities to Black life in 2014? And, deeper still: should parents want their kids to join these organizations?
The answer will depend on the parent, clearly.
However, I will tell you a bit about myself before delivering my answer. I came of age in the 1990s. During that time, black life was radicalized and mainstreamed at the very same time. On one had, you still had folks examining race, progress, racism and the multitude of “isms,” but we also saw that our dreams of a burgeoning middle class emerge. There were sit-ins in protest and affirmative action in progress. We saw Million Man Marches and Malcolm X movies. Sororities and fraternities–typically the best of thebest –were at the forefront of it all. This is my generation. Now, this generation given birth to a new generation, which will be presented with the possibilities of joining the The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) aka the “Divine Nine”. These include (in no particular order): Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho and Iota Phi Theta.
So, straight up do I want my child to join one of these organizations? Probably not.
It seems, in the year 2014, the majority of black Greek organizations look more like their Caucasian counterparts on the undergrad level: party and bulls**t. It’s clear that this is not all they are about, but there is a clear and present disconnect between the struggles of old and the struggles of today. In fact, one could argue that the early black Greeks did a great job, so great that the younger ones don’t know the battle has not been won. Back in the day, sororities and fraternities were about service, education and societal impact first and the partying was secondary. I want my child to focus on education and progress–not being a member of a social club.
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