During this whole Ferguson, MO. debacle, I was one of those white people that basically didn’t give a damn. I have seen this before, I was in North Las Vegas during the Rodney King riots, and as a Ward of the Court in Southern California, I was used to being associated with every race known to humanity, so I just didn’t see it as a major news flash. I mean, I learned at an early age that the police are the enemy ((being in juvenile hall will do that to you.)), so why are people riled up that some man ((not a kid, get real, he was an adult)) got whacked by a cop? So what, it happens all the time, the cops have historically been problematic for at least 40 years that I know of.
But… As I was reading the 20th Anniversary edition of Marie Claire, ((we love Gossip Girl, and we adore Blake Lively, so this edition dedicated to her deserved paying close attention to.))
And near the end of the magazine, I ran into this…
Revolution on Sorority Row By Kayla Webley
You’d think it was 1954 at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where stepping inside the secret chapter rooms of sorority rush reveals a pre-Civil Rights Movement mind-set. But last fall, a group of women—black and white—stood up to the backward traditions that have kept the nation’s largest Greek system segregated well into the 21st century.
We ourselves are Alpha Gam boosters, so it immediately caught my attention.
It never really occurred to me that I had found myself seeing that “blacks” had no real place in the “real” Greek Life on Campus. They have their own little thing, so what was the problem? It seemed like a national requirement, being white ((not just Alabama)).
When you watch Animal House, they are all white, and Animal House is the most recognizable portrayal to the majority of Americans of all ages.
Ferguson was not enough to make me think that race is still an issue in this “progressive” society of ours, but this story is? What a shock to realize that I had somehow saw the entire African-American race as invisible, and not a part of, the Greek lifestyle.
Though the article focuses on U of A in Tuscaloosa, most with half a brain will admit that there is an issue with race at many different colleges/universities.
since the first sorority opened at the university in 1904—only one woman who was identifiably black had ever been offered a bid, or invitation to join, during formal recruitment. Her name was Carla Ferguson, and she pledged Gamma Phi Beta in 2003. ((Another woman, Christina Houston, rushed Gamma Phi Beta in 2000, but it wasn’t known that she was half black until after she was accepted.)) ((Carla Ferguson, I thought that was hella ironic as of late!))
Even after reading the article, I still found it unbelievable that an entire race of people simply didn’t exist when it came to my view of this subject, it was like ‘Greek Genocide”, blacks were confined to their own little thing, and had better stay there, where the status quo kept the waves from rocking the Sorority cruise line…
In September 2013, the long-held, unofficial practice of barring black women from traditionally white sororities finally began to change, thanks to a group of sorority women who spoke out in favor of integration. Their actions proved unpopular with many of their sorority sisters, but in daring to reveal the secret practices that have allowed the Greek system at Alabama to remain segregated for more than a century, Wolf, Bechtel, Back, Gotz, and others sparked a march on campus of more than 100 students who carried a banner that read, “The Final Stand in the Schoolhouse Door”—a nod to former Alabama Governor George Wallace’s 1963 “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.” That “final stand” helped usher in informal rush, during which the university boasted that 21 black women joined white sororities. “I remember saying, ‘This is wrong. Why are we sticking to all of these traditions?'”
September 2013, and it makes it into a mainstream magazine almost a year later? Isn’t the article itself proof that “black people” are still an afterthought in “White America”?
There is no official tally of the number of minorities in historically white Greek organizations. The umbrella groups that operate most chapters—the nation’s 5,975 fraternities are governed by the North-American Interfraternity Conference and 3,127 sororities by the National Panhellenic Conference (both are based in Indianapolis)—have little incentive to record numbers that would make them look bad, and universities typically take a hands-off approach to Greek organizations, claiming they have little control over what goes on inside the houses.
I think the thing that plagues me now is that I still don’t find myself too sympathetic to the plight of the protesters in Ferguson, MO. But it worries me that I don’t.
I can claim that I had become jaded to the abuse of power that law enforcement has historically been known for, but I would only be fooling myself.
I know the truth about my giving the African American race of people no existence in one venue, what is to say that it has not spread over, or has always been in others? How can I tell? What sign should I be looking for? I guess you don’t really see something until it actually hits close to home huh?
It’s tough being Caucasian, but only when you realize that it has been a position of unmerited privilege in Western Civilization, and you further realize that its pretty fucked up, and you have been loving every minute of it.
I spent all of my youth living with, and alongside of people of color, I wonder when they disappeared?