This week, Ohio State put all seven Black Fraternities and Sororities on campus due to “increased violence.”

From US News and World Report:

All seven Greek organizations catering to black students at Ohio State are on “social moratorium” imposed by the National Pan-Hellenic Council at OSU until February because of violence at a fraternity party in November, the Lantern reports.

An official from NPHC at OSU, the umbrella governing organization of the school’s four black fraternities and three sororities, said the moratorium was a result of “multiple incidents of violence within the NPHC community” in November. The Lantern points to at least one incident that followed the OSU-Michigan football game in November where firearms were allegedly involved.

Read the rest of the article here

I want to preface this post by saying that I do understand that college football games can get rowdy–and that anyone can get into a fight at said game. I understand and acknowledge this.

With that said, I cannot keep my silence about this issue as a member of a Black sorority and a former undergraduate chapter president. I am both appalled and embarassed by this turn of events. There is NEVER an excuse for violence of any kind. I don’t care if someone stepped on your shoe or looked at your man wrong. I don’t care if some AKA or  Delta or SGRho called you out your name or called you a Jiggaboo or a Wannabe.

None of this matters to me.

What matters to me is that as college students first and members of historically Black Fraternities and Sororities second (people seem to have the sequence of these identities out of order these days…), we are supposed to set a POSITIVE example on our campus, at our jobs, at our campus events, even in our homes.

And yet, when we get into fights in a club, at a football game, in the school cafeteria, that idea seems to go right out of the window.

Remember WEB DuBois? What the hell ever happened to this idea of the Talented Tenth?(1) The idea that it was a small group of Black people who will be able to “uplift the race”? When did we get away from that? We have lost sight of our founders’ vision of what Black people can really stive to be.  Regardless of our traditions, our colors, our diverse histories, we all have service and brotherhood/sisterhood at the helm of our principles. But for some reason, this generation–and previous generations–have lost sight of this fact.

There needs to be a return to the days of old as far as Black greek-lettered organizations. We need have a new commitment to service, to loving each other as sisters and brothers. And, yes, a move away from the idea that Black greeks are some how better than GDI’s(2)….this is a mentality I have observed over the past few years and it sickens me to the core.

In addition, perhaps we should move away from wanting to mold our children into miniature versions of sorority laides. Let’s do away with the “Future Zeta” “My mommy’s an AKA” “Future Delta Heartbreaker” T-shirts and apparel.

Yeah, I said it.

I know how popular it is, but to be quite honest with you, I think it’s pretty unnecessary. My hope is that the same parents who are dressing their kids in Future [insert Fraternity or Sorority] shirts are also putting money in their children’s college savings. Let the kids get into college first before we start putting these expectations on them to become members of our organizations.

And let’s teach our children about our history as a people, not just as greeks. Teach them about Ida B. and Josephine baker and Zora Neale Hurston. Teach them about Toussaint L’Overture, A. Phillip Randolph, Malcolm X, and yes, Barack Obama. Let’s teach them about how great and how beautiful and how grand and how strong our people really are and can be.

Finally, I leave you with a few lines from poet Countee Cullen:

Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

Counte Cullen, “Yet Do I Marvel”

H/T: Dana Joi

(1) i realize the talented tenth idea is problematic. i really do. but in the context of this conversation, it is relevant. i believe both a talented tenth approach and the “up from bootstraps” approach are necessary in the Black community.

(2) GDI is slang for “God Damned Individual”; someone who is not in a sorority or fraternity.