Black Greeks May Have Conquered Starbucks And Waffle House, But There's More Work To Do In The Movement for Black Lives
Let's be the inclusive "we".
Photo: Twitter| @Curtismyth
I’ve seen the above tweet circulating on social media with lots of comments like “PREACH!” and “I see no lies” and “this is a word!”. My initial thought was, is it??
Before I explain what I mean, let me say that I am a member of a black Greek-letter organization (BGLO). I am nine years in the game, was initiated as an undergraduate, and am proud to say that I have been active and financial since I was initiated. I love my sorority, and honestly, I love all of the Divine Nine organizations; so much so that I have researched and written on BGLOs and spent the past 4 years as a campus advisor at a university, supporting and advocating for all (black) Greek organizations. I have a keen understanding of the policies and procedures of our organizations, and I am aware of our challenges and needs. But don't get me wrong, I am very much like many members and also enjoy the "fun" aspects of our orgs. My sorors know I stay ready to hop in a stroll line, and I still compete in step shows at the graduate level. It's safe to say that I love black Greek life all around: the service, the sisterhood and brotherhood, and I believe in the benefit it can be to black people and our community.
But when you love something, you challenge it and hold it accountable. You do this so that it can achieve and be all that it has the potential to be. So when I saw this graphic continuously in my social media feed, I thought critically about what it said and how Greek members were responding.
I definitely think black Greeks do more than party, but I also acknowledge that we often stand on the actions and work done by individual members and claim it to represent all of us, even when our organizations do not collectively take action toward those same causes for which the individual members are advocating. We often run down the list of notable members and what they’ve personally done but we can’t always run down the list of what our organizations have done collectively.
While I am thankful and proud of the actions that individual members have taken over the past few weeks, I personally feel that our organizations have been pretty removed from this current movement on racial injustice, and I we could do so much more. It’s great that individual members take action but our organizations collectively have power, privilege, and resources, and if we don’t use that to collectively seek racial justice and change, then we are doing a disservice to the communities we say we serve.
I also noticed that many comments on the post emphasized two instances when our organizations have taken action, stating that, “SGRho has done ______ regarding Sandra Bland” and “the Kappas attended the march for Kaepernick”, but I really challenge us to think about what it means if the times we do take action are primarily when our members are directly impacted by racism, but not the other 10,783,538 times when a non-Greek black person is impacted.
I expect us to act, especially when our own members are involved. But do we exist to advocate solely for ourselves or the uplift of the entire black community?
Let’s be the “inclusive we,” not the “exclusive we.”