I do not hate Sigma Alpha Epsilon

I do not hate Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
I do not hate the Oklahoma Kappa chapter of SAE.
I don’t even hate the members that started the chant.

No, I don’t hate them. Rather, I feel sorry for them.

I feel sorry for them because they weren’t smart enough to be leaders rather than followers. They weren’t smart enough to– at some point during their membership– tell themselves or others that this chant was highly inappropriate.

I feel sorry for them because of the potential relationships they will miss out on. Having minority members, in my opinion, can be a learning experience within itself. College is for learning about the world and the people around you, which they obviously lacked.

I feel sorry for them because once you’re labeled a racist, it’s a hard label to shake. Whether it was taught to you by their family, brothers, or friends, only YOU can control what comes out of your mouth. You’re an adult now. No one can control your vocal cords (and if they can, you’re even more of a puppet than ever). I’m all about forgiveness, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever forget it.

But can I say I was surprised about the video? Not at all. I didn’t even bat a (fiber) eyelash.

With living in suburban Georgia, going to school in south Mississippi, and being a minority member of a Panhellenic sorority*, there are some thing you learn on your own that, unfortunately, suck.

You learn that some chapters wouldn’t even consider you for a bid because of your skin color. You learn that sometimes you won’t be welcome by everyone in certain houses on the row because you look different. And when people that look like you want to rush, you unfortunately have to break the news to them that their options for membership are pretty limited.

I shouldn’t have to do that or experience that. But I have. And I continue to.

Now, I’m smart enough to know that a few people don’t define an entire organization. This is no different. I’ve come to know some of the men of my university’s SAE chapter, and not once have they ever made me feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. They’ve always been nice to me! And they’re pretty awesome dancers too. 🙂
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So I truly do feel sorry for the (now-defunct) OK Kappa chapter.

Why? Because you’ll never have the learning experience my sisters have gotten from me. And they’ll probably never get to have a minority friend like me, which sucks because I think I’m pretty awesome.

*As of May 2016, I am no longer a member of my Panhellenic sorority. The membership cancellation was of my own doing, and came after an entire year weighing my options on whether to continue membership in an organization that did not directly correlate with my personal beliefs and values. I still hold true to the idea of diversity in Greek Life; however, with time comes new knowledge and lesson-learning experiences. I do not wish to discourage other minorities from “breaking the mold.” However, I do advise that you REALLY weigh your options and think very hard about what you’re getting out of your decision before you commit to something like this.

It’s 2014, and you should be offended.

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This picture should offend you, and I’ll tell you exactly why.

You should be offended that these people sought membership in organizations that have bred some of society’s greatest leaders and figures. Martin Luther King, Michael Jordan, Wilma Rudolph, Maya Angelou…

Why would they want to be like any of those people?

You should be offended that these people joined your organizations and learned the values that your founders established. How DARE they see that your fraternity or sorority’s core values line up with their personal beliefs, and they therefore decided to make it their way of life?

In fact, you should be most offended by the good things and the high potential that saw when they pledged themselves to your bonds. It wasn’t about the countless community services hours Greeks commit to annually, or the commitment to membership long after college, or even the potential to step out of their comfort zones and become a part of something they knew they were meant to be a part of.

Yes. Let’s be offended by all of those things. They apparently just wanted to get a rise out of people, and it worked…

It’s the year 2014, and unfortunately, it became a topic of heated discussion on a very popular Instagram page frequented by Greeks.*

*You should follow them by the way–it’s pretty hilarious. Unless you’re not Greek. I don’t think they accept requests from non-Greeks.

From the outside looking in, I have a very hard time comprehending why a discussion over this picture even exists. Is it really that hard to understand that people outside of the black community wanted to seek membership in a Divine 9 organization? Should white people react just the same towards me because of my decision to rush and join a Panhellenic sorority? Let’s hope not.**

 

Race or ethnicity shouldn’t define what a person will offer your sorority or fraternity. Rather, candidates should be judged by their character and what they can potentially bring to the table. Even 3 years later, I know I made the right decision and joined the sorority that was best for me. They saw me as an asset to the chapter, and even today I’m still considered a leader amongst the chapter.

I’ve had people occasionally ask, “Why them, and why not D9?” It’s a scarcely asked question, but it arises every once in a while nonetheless. And my answer is simple: My home is here. And I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Sure, I could’ve waited a year or two and thought about crossing an organization (that I won’t name-drop. I know better). Maybe these ladies could’ve been Kappa Deltas or Chi Omegas, and he could’ve been a Sigma Chi.  But the four of us didn’t go where we were “supposed” to go or “should” go. We chose our respective organizations because it’s where we belong, and will always belong.

It’s 2014. And you should be offended. You should be offended that race is even a topic of discussion among our Greek organizations, when our time would be better spent saving the world and making a difference.

**As of May 2016, I am no longer a member of my Panhellenic sorority. The membership cancellation was of my own doing, and came after an entire year weighing my options on whether to continue membership in an organization that did not directly correlate with my personal beliefs and values. I still hold true to the idea of diversity in Greek Life; however, with time comes new knowledge and lesson-learning experiences. I do not wish to discourage other minorities from “breaking the mold.” However, I do advise that you REALLY weigh your options and think very hard about what you’re getting out of your decision before you commit to something like this.