Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Is It Time to Disband Black Fraternities and Sororities?

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Is It Time to Disband Black Fraternities and Sororities?

Article excerpt

A couple of weeks ago, one of my favorite former students--now an administrator at Fisk University--called to inquire how quickly I could get Fisk on my speaking schedule. He informed me that my fraternity brothers on the campus had become the latest victimizers responsible for the hospitalization of a young man attempting to join a Black fraternity. In response to this and other concerns, Fisk's administration had placed a moratorium on initiation for all its Greeks for a year. "We need you down here, Doe," my old student said, "Maybe you can get through to some of these people."

Unfortunately, like many schools, Fisk waited until someone was badly injured or killed to call. This is not to say the fault totally lies with the schools touched by the scourge of hazing. To be sure, there is enough blame to go around. In fact, as the number of young Black men and women injured in pledging/hazing rituals continue to mount, I think it is time to place the lion's share of the blame on the people who commit these crimes and the groups which house them--Black Greeks themselves and the organizations to which they belong.

The fact that hazing continues at a steady clip is evidence enough that Black Greeks' national headquarters either do not want to stop the practice or do not know how. I would hope the latter is closer to the truth. Certainly, there is also the possibility that pledging--and the hazing which invariably accompanies it--cannot be stopped at all. All of these options lead us to disturbing realities, which must be faced before more of our students are hurt physically, damaged psychologically or even killed.

Even though Greekdom admittedly has positives, many of today's members have degenerated into dangerous, narcissistic near-sociopaths where the preservation of their rite of hazing is concerned. This is simultaneously a simple and difficult admission. We would be hard-pressed to find someone who would not admit that the violence, damage and death visited upon young people like Joel Harris at Morehouse in 1989, Michael Davis at Southeast Missouri State in 1995, Shawn Blackston at Louisville in 1997 or Kenitha Saafir and Kristin High at California State University in 2002 is wrong. Regardless of this fact, there is an almost immediate attempt by many Greeks to convolute the issue by shifting blame and refusing to take responsibility for their personal involvement in similar violent activities. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.