My organization has a saying about heralding and defending the fraternity even against the world. Pretty straightforward, right? Proclaim the greatness of the organization and don’t let people slander it. Most D9 orgs probably ask for their members to do the same; why would you pay all that money and go through all the hassle to become a member of an organization and then let people talk about it like it's trash. Over the years we've had to defend our organizations from so much that nowadays many D9 Greeks are ready to fight if another Greek does a stroll that looks too much like theirs. We have entered a time where Greeks are no longer heralding and defending their orgs; now they want them to be untouchable and perfect and lash out when people try to remind them they are not. It's almost like Greeks now are being "made" to be oversensitive.
Look at the above picture. Deltas, frats, and AKAs does that offend you? Do you feel that you should be defending your org from the artist Ashleigh Sharmaine because of them? Most people would say no. Most people would enjoy the fact that someone took enough time (and had enough talent) to imagine some of our favorite cartoon characters as Black Greeks. I have to say most people, because sadly some people in my organization and others saw this as a threat to the integrity of the org(s) and wanted her to stop. They chose to ignore the fact that in a world where you're only as good as the last time you went viral (which these drawings did) that this was probably the most positive promotion that Black Greeks have had in a while. The general public knows this fact too, and just checked the situation off as another case of Greek organizations messing up the fun. I, however, am gonna call it what it is: super sensitive Greeks taking something too far because they have no life. Whether Greeks want to admit it or not it matters what the general population thinks of you. Where do you think potential members come from? If the general public thinks you're annoying, stuck up, or a waste of time you have a PROBLEM, and if you have a problem for too long you will no longer have an organization.
Most of our organizations were founded in January, so naturally there's a lot of commentary by Greeks and non-greeks during this month. The Kappas, Sigmas, Deltas, AKAs, and Zetas all celebrate their founding dates in their own way, and like any (dis)functional family, the other members of the D9 throw some good natured jokes at them. The jokes may be shady or they may be based off stereotypes, but considering that each organization has stereotypes that are sometimes true, no one really takes it to heart. But apparently some oversensitive Greeks felt particularly sensitive when comedian Dukk posted some of his annual Founders' Day videos. I'm sad to say that some of the most sensitive ones were my own sorors upset about the persistent "Zeta Bear" stereotype. The stereotype plays off the big(ger) women in the sorority and pokes fun at the idea that "Zetas love to eat". I don't know what it was about this video but people were PISSED. So much that they actually doxed Dukk and left it open for other people to get his info and do whatever they wanted. For his own safety, I believe he has decided to never write about Zetas again. That my sorors, frats and friends. Is a problem.
This reminds me of the controversy surrounding the reality show "Sorority Sisters". It also reminds me of when a number of D9 orgs refused to do their duty as servants of the community and protest. We as D9 orgs (and a black community, but that's another story) spend so much time trying to make sure that we don’t look bad that we forget about making ourselves look good. I personally believe that the sensitivity comes from fear. We are so afraid of not being the greatest organization on the planet that we spend our lives saying “No that makes us look bad!” and “Don’t show that!” or “Don’t do that!” instead of facing the fact that we are flawed but that doesn't make us bad. Instead we place ourselves on this untouchable pedestal of perfection and privilege that effectively kills our organizations. Believe it or not, when you make yourself out to be perfect people tend not to like you. Not because they "can't handle your excellence", but because perfect people tend to look down on others. Who wants to be part of an organization that looks down on them? Didn't we make the D9 to get away from that in the first place? Isn't that idea of looking down on others what led to Sigma, Zeta, SGRho, and Iota (and arguably Delta and Omega as well) being founded? (Argue with your history not me.) We are slowly getting back to that point in ALL of our organizations because we have become so removed from the communities we are supposed to serve. It's funny: our desire to make our orgs stronger is actually making them weaker.
It's also sad; we're sensitive to the wrong issues. Greek life is in decline on both sides of the racial divide thanks to rape and racism in the white orgs and hazing and respectability politics in ours. Greeks are going to HAVE to stop wasting so much time trying to destroy the bad and continue to create the good to do real work in the world. As much as we want to defend our orgs from slander, us rabidly attacking anything that even remotely looks negative (though honestly I don’t think either of these are) is doing more harm. Why worry about someone throwing rocks at your burning house when you’re not doing anything to put out the flames? If we don’t stop with our elitist attitudes and really do something to reestablish our orgs as vital to the black community, we will burn out.
Do you think (over)sensitivity is a problem in the Greek community? What can these orgs do (or continue) to create the good? Leave your questions, comments, and concerns below and don't forget to like, subscribe, and share!