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. 🙂
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.