Sunday, August 28, 2005

Black Gangs Greeks…

Now, I fully understand the age-old human need for and tradition of ritual and belonging. I’m also not at a complete loss of commendation for, and recognition thereof, contributions made by black fraternities and sororities.

But.

I’ve become quite suspicious that black “Greeks” are really just educated gangs. Actually, the educated part is suspect, because it must be hard to focus on academic achievement when you’re busy learning step routines and trying to remember founders’ names.

Colors. Hand signs. Hoots and calls. Sounds strangely familiar to me. Not to mention the violence. Club-clearing brawls and drive-bys aren’t completely unheard of in this arena.

I actually know someone who was involved in an altercation between a frat and...some Bloods. WTF? How you gonna bring a food voucher card to a gun fight?

And the worst part is, it’s not just fighting between different groups, it’s the bullshit that people put up with from their “own.”

How on Earth is a black man/woman going to humiliate, subjugate, and abuse another black man/woman?! Is this a fraternity or the LAPD?

Lemme get this straight...you have to struggle to be deemed “worthy” to “move up” and be “a part of” a larger group? All in the name of belonging and being accepted? Hmmm, sounds awfully familiar.

And brain-witheringly redundant.

The history of black people in America is drenched in forced assimilation. How many black slaves lost their lives trying to get educated just so you can go to a school (that didn’t want you*), and, instead of getting an education (you weren’t supposed to get), you do your damnedest to imitate a white organization (that didn’t want you)? What kind of backward-ass shit is this?

And let us not forget this all takes place under the guise of education.

Seriously. What are the odds these students would have learned the Greek alphabet if it wasn’t related to a fraternity/sorority? How many open a statistics or physics book and see a party invite list?

Ask them about, oh, I don’t know – education (psychology, mathematics, the arts, economics, etc.)?! - and there’s not much conversation forthcoming. But they can snap to attention and rattle off a string of Iota-Omega-Delta-Kappas, Incorporated this and that, with distant, glazed-over eyes. And don’t have a clue who Epictetus or Sophocles was. Aristotle, Homer, Diogenes, Laertius, Plutarch, Strabo, Herodotus? What about Hippocrates (much less Imhotep)?

Rather drink and party than go to class (wait...that’s just college in general).

Rather know what the chapter at the school across the state is called than know what’s going on in Sierra Leon, Sudan, or the DRC. Or the Supreme Court.

Rather learn about the history of the organization than the history of a people.

Rather figure out how to raise money to get some insignia silk-screened on t-shirts than understand financial planning and investment for the future.

Rather go to a step show than serve the community. (And, speaking of step shows, just because you think you’re able to stomp and clap on beat better than a white person, does NOT make you pro-black or righteous.)

What’s the ratio of alcoholic beverages purchased to food for families in need? How balanced is time spent partying to time dedicated to volunteering?

And basing your organization on a European society so heavily influenced from an African society (yet not readily acknowledged as so) seems like there’s a middleman somewhere that should be skipped. Greek hunh? Pan-Hellenic what?

One is so damn busy being brainwashed indoctrinated into this peer group that s/he can’t focus on the brainwashing indoctrination education (another story, another time) s/he’s supposed to be getting to undo all of the brainwashing indoctrination education socializing from high school!

I had a point in there somewhere.

I just want to see young people improve and uplift themselves, family, and community, rather than be castigated in the name of someone else’s glory, all so they can later be the one doing the belittling.

*If you’re attending an HBCU, then you really should know better.

2 comments:

Tiger Lilly said...

I never pledged. Not sure I ever really wanted to. But if you are going to make this argument, you can make it about white frats, about the cheerleading squad I was on, about sports teams, etc. I am not defending it because I know a lot of it goes too far, but in theory I understand the bonding ritual. I can see how going through a lot of nonsense as a group could make them closer. Of course they can balance academics with the rituals. That is another part of that support structure. That isn't to say that a lot of people are abusive of the groups, and that many use them for clout. But as someone who has gone through the motions of getting an education without being able to find a job, I really wish I had made those connections. I probably would have done a lot better socially if I had been able to pledge. Some of us need the extra help, you know. Even MLK was an Alpha.

DUB said...

Overall, I agree with you. I am not (and rarely ever do) condemning something 100%. The world just isn't that black and white. And I'd be writing books instead of posts if I gave equal time to all the nuances.

This post was prompted from personal experience. Someone close to me is in college and all wrapped up in pledging. Now into her second year of college, I've heard many tales, but never one about the actual education. Ninety percent of the time it's about greeks (the other 10% involves social life or finances).

Understandably, this worries me. As does the hazing and gang-like uber-loyal mentality.

A hypothetical question for you: Say you did pledge (AKA for sake of argument), and in the process of seeking employment, you put your affiliation out there (how else is it going to benefit you). Well, the person who is in the position to help you also pledged, but she's a Delta (for the sake of argument).

Two things can happen from here.

A) She shows sisterhood just in the name of PHC and hooks you up.

B) She passes you by, either out of extreme loyalty to for Delta or dislike for Skee-wees.

I present an argument for each scenario:

A) If she's going to show favoritism, I'd much rather it be in the name of true sisterhood (XX Chromosomes) or sistahood.

B) Addressed in my post.

The reason I didn't address white frats is, well, this is from personal experience, and, American society IS a white frat.