Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Answer is Fraternity

Let's imagine none of our organizations were ever founded.  It's 2015 and no fraternities and sororities exist on any campus or in any community anywhere. 

The narrative around fraternities and sororities - especially in recent times - is that they cause problems.  The extent and harmfulness of these problems is such that we would be much better off without fraternities and sororities.  Or so we hear. 

So let's fulfill that fantasy for just a moment.  They're gone.  Or, actually, they were never here. 

Without fraternities and sororities, college campuses would instantly become landscapes clear of alcohol abuse, sexual assault, racism, and hazing, right?  Wouldn't student divisiveness and inequity of social status go away too?  As well as property damage, vandalism, and other mindless boorish behaviors?

Do you believe that these problems vanish if fraternities and sororities go away?  That can’t be true.  These problems exist on campuses without Greek-letter organizations.  They exist in other places in our society that have no connection to Greek life.  While we shouldn’t dismiss the challenge presented to us to address these issues and eradicate them from our groups, it’s fair to say that fraternities and sororities are a place where these problems currently exist, but can’t be considered the cause for them. 

So while we are imagining the disappearance of fraternities and sororities, let’s continue to expect that campus officials will need to address perplexing problems that impact their students' well-being and their campus culture.

Those problems persist, and in our new world in which fraternities and sororities never existed, we sit together and wonder, what do we do now?  

I'm imagining the task force meeting in this fraternity-free world charged with developing solutions to these steady and stubborn problems.  

"How do we encourage students to come together and have honest discussions on these issues?" someone wonders aloud.

"What if students were given safe structures in which they could build supportive relationships? offers another.

"Perhaps some of these issues would be better dealt with if men could discuss them with men, and women with women?"

"It's about engagement! Our students do not have a sense of ownership in their institution and no connection to the campus that's any deeper than their semester billing statement!"

"Students really need to hold each other accountable. Let's give them the chance to lead themselves through these challenges?"

And so on and so forth.  Now - this is a fictional account, but it surely feels like the proper framing of the problem and a true list of potential answers.

And it looks a lot like a fraternity.  

You see, we get so caught up in the narrative that fraternities and sororities are the problem, that we lose sight of the fact that they are a solution.  Or can be, if we use them as such.  

The great irony then is that if Greek organizations did not exist, we’d likely build them anyway.  Because they can serve as an answer. 

So let’s start behaving that way.

In our earliest days, a fraternity served as an answer for free expression, character development, and fellowship - all of which were missing in the higher education institutions of the day.  We were built to be a solution.  

And so today, what can we do to return to those roots? 

Wouldn’t it be great to be recognized as the organizations that didn’t reflect the major campus issues of the day, but defied them.  The organizations that were trusted to be the greatest advocates for hazing-free membership, the safest venues for relationship-building, the strongest proponents for a safe and healthy campus culture.  What if, for example, our members were viewed as so trustworthy that they were deployed to high schools to provide seniors with education on hazing, alcohol abuse, and sexual assault?   

There are fraternities and sororities who have already answered the call.  Is yours next?  

While we are imagining, let's think forward to a day when the call from a public desperately seeking solutions is no longer to shut us down but rather to expand and welcome more fraternities and sororities.  Because we are the answer.  It’s a powerful position to hold, if we’re willing to accept it and put in the work to make it happen.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fraternity and the Fatherhood Crisis

As we approach father’s day, some sobering statistics to consider:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America -- one out of every three -- live in homes without their biological father. 

7 out of 10 people agree that the physical absence of fathers from the home is the most significant family or social problem facing America.

Research shows when a child grows up in a father-absent home, he or she is...
  • Four Times More Likely to Live in Poverty
  • More Likely to Suffer Emotional and Behavioral Problems
  • More Likely to go to Prison
  • More Likely to Commit Crime
  • Seven Times More Likely to Become Pregnant as a Teen
  • More Likely to Face Abuse and Neglect
  • More Likely to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol
  • Two Times More Likely to Suffer Obesity
  • Two Times More Likely to Drop Out of High School

Only 68.1% will spend their entire childhood in an intact family and the number is decreasing.

40% of children of divorce haven’t seen their father in a year.

40.7 percent of all births are out-of-wedlock.

46% of fathers say they don’t spend enough time with their children.

39% indicate that they never read to their child.

A pew study indicated that mothers are seen as more essential for providing values/morals to their children and emotional support to their children.  (Fathers are seen as more essential for providing money.)

When asked whether fathers generally play a greater or lesser role in raising children than did fathers 20 or 30 years ago,  45% say today’s fathers play a lesser role.

Fathers are twice as likely than mothers to report that they don’t spend enough time with their children (46% vs. 23%).

Only 24% of adults say dads are doing a better job at parenthood than their own fathers. A third (34%) say they are doing a worse job than their own fathers did.


Is anyone aware of an organization that can instill in young men the character necessary to reverse these trends?  Is there an organization primed to inspire fidelity to one’s commitments? Is there any organization out there that can help young men understand the priorities that require the greatest responsibility and seriousness?  

Can one organization, or a group of organizations, be bold enough to create men of such high quality that the importance of their roles in the lives of children can never be discounted again?

I hope there is.  Our society is counting on it.







Sources:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

If You Have a Fast Race Horse, Don't Slow Down

Updated from June 2011

Congratulations to American Pharaoh, the first triple crown winner in horse racing since 1978.  One of the most difficult feats in sports was achieved just a few days ago and hopefully you were able to witness history.

Despite American Pharaoh's success, the most well-known triple crown winner will likely always remain the 1978 winner, Secretariat. He has been the subject of books and movies, and is typically regarded as the best racehorse to have ever lived.  Part of his legend lies in how he finished the triple crown - that final race at the Belmont Stakes.


All the dramatic pieces were in place for the final race, the Belmont Stakes: the champ (Secretariat), the hyped-up challenger (a horse named Champ), and history on the line.  The typical formula (see Rocky or Remember the Titans) for these kinds of stories is that the hero fights the battle of his life, appears defeated, only to valiantly battle back to barely win, sending the crowd into a frenzy.  That wasn’t the case with Secretariat.  He blew the doors off the competition and won by thirty lengths.  It wasn’t close at all.  The outcome was decided almost immediately after the gates opened.

And I found this to be refreshing for some reason.  Secretariat was clearly the best horse at the time and he knew it.  He flew.  And while I can gain satisfaction from the underdog stories, I learned that I could find equal satisfaction in watching a truly special champion just do all that he was capable of.  Without apology.

Relate this to fraternity and sorority life.  On most campuses, there are chapters that are the Secretariats of their Greek system.  They have all pistons firing, and are leading the pack in service, academics, recruitment, etc. 

Our underdog mindset sometimes wants us to tell these groups to slow down.  To let others catch up.  The Secretariats can take so much of the spotlight that they can become tiresome.  It’s like dominate sports teams.  We can get tired of their success, and thus want to see others take a turn.

Slow down Secretariat!

I may be naive about this, but I believe that most of the time, groups that are successful and groups that struggle do not get to those points by accident.  However, our underdog mentality can drift into dangerous territory – fairness.

It’s not fair that some fraternities or sororities are at the top, while others can’t seem to get there!  Every group deserves that success!  There must be equality!

Slow down Secretariat!

Of course, this isn’t a perfect analogy.  There isn’t a race we’re trying to win.  Sometimes, environmental factors can play a role.  Our groups at the top aren’t perfect, and shouldn’t be treated that way.  Caring about the plight of others is a value we hold dear.  I understand all of that.

And yet, I believe that sometimes we actively try to slow lead horses down to the rest of pack instead of expecting the rest of the pack to catch up to the lead horses. 

Slow down Secretariat!

And I don’t think the answer is for the lead horses to stop and try to teach the rest the secrets to their success.  Besides, the secrets are most likely very obvious: focus and hard work.
I think the answer is to just let the lead horses run, in all their glory, for all to see.  If they deserve the award – give it to them.  If they win the competitions, congratulate them.  If they have the highest GPA (again), praise them far and wide.

After all, what you reward is what you get.  What you praise and acknowledge sends a loud and clear signal about what you value.  It may make others cringe with frustration or envy.  It also leaves them with a choice – stay behind or raise their game.

It's not selfish to want excellence.  The greatest service that the high-performing fraternities and sororities can provide to their communities is to remain high-performing. 

For the members reading this, if you have a racehorse that can win by 30 lengths, ride it for all it can give you.  But, a little humility doesn’t hurt either. 

I will probably still always root for the underdog.  It’s a much more compelling story.  There is so much to learn from the grit and determination of someone who defies the odds.  However, I’ll keep it as my goal to also appreciate shear brilliance when I see it.  My enjoyment in the underdog should never give me reason to deny anybody or anything the chance to show their true excellence.

Go Secretariat...Go American Pharaoh...

Go!



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Leadership and the Loud (but small) Crowd

This post is for all the young leaders out there, because the old ones like me will know exactly what I’m talking about.

I hope you feel the internal struggle between taking bold action or staying the course, for that is the journey of a leader.  Should you be aggressive in your vision, or patient and methodical?  Should your leadership be defined by your ability to shake things up, or your ability to be a steward of something that’s already working?  All of these choices are fine, admirable, and acceptable.

However – let me speak to the side of you that wants to do something daring and compelling.  From my experience in organizational life, there is one barrier above all others to your efforts:

The loud vocal minority.

I have seen time and time again a leader or a group of leaders walk down an exciting path of new ideas and compelling new strategies only to be halted in their journey by someone who says “yeah, but [insert name here] won’t like it.”  And then it begins.  The retreat.  The belief that because a certain person or group of people won’t like an action or might even be angered by it, we should stop and reconsider.  And that thinking typically leads to the new ideas being revoked or tamped down so much they might as well have been.

I wonder, in the history of organizational life, what earth-shattering, life-changing, and gloriously-brilliant ideas have never seen the light of day out of fear that a small group won’t like them.

And in membership organizations especially, the threat that a segment of members will leave our ranks paralyzes us way too often.

Let me be clear – I believe the minority opinion is important to hear.  And I think the “squeaky wheels” deserve to be heard as well.  However, that’s why we have a democratic process and procedures like Roberts Rules of Order.  The minority opinion should have an opportunity to persuade others, and it should be made difficult to discount their feelings.

My problem is that those feelings often stop us from even putting forth an idea worth pursuing.  And that the next great idea dies in a committee meeting because we’re scared to make someone mad, or to deal with the slings and arrows of controversy.  The vocal minority tends to overrun the silent majority every time and holds leaders hostage in the process.

We all have these individuals in our organizations.  Those who have held on to even a shred of influence enough to make us overly-cautious.  The unfortunate reality is that we’re often waiting for those individuals to leave our organization (or die) before we try something we should have done years ago.

My advice in these situations is to remember that as a leader, your oversight is to the entire organization, its mission, vision, history, AND membership, NOT just those constantly noisy, angry, and change-averse.

We imagine a mob at the front door ready to attack us, but it never actually comes.  We believe that a string of posts on our Facebook page that opposes our ideas means the whole world is against them.  We imagine our legacy to be tarnished by a battle with an old guard, whereas I've seen it bolstered instead.  I believe, and have borne witness to, that the pain we imagine from going against the loud vocal minority is far greater than the pain we actually feel.   

The regret of giving up on something that could have changed the fortunes of your organization likely feels much worse.

There are some reasons not to act on your own ideas and vision.  Make sure that a few angry phone calls, or tweets, or Facebook posts are not one of them.  Trust your instincts and do what’s best for your organization.

And remember this quote from Deepak Chopra: Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future. 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fraternity Needs Even More Tradition

Tulane Sig Ep's after serenading the university president
I love tradition.  I love the spark it can provide an organization.  In my Kiwanis Club, we have lots of traditions, and I’d be upset to see them go.  We sing at the start of every meeting – terribly – but we sing.  It feels good.  I don’t want my Kiwanis meeting to feel like a business meeting at the office.  I want something that touches my emotions and lifts my heart. 

Fraternities and sororities certainly are guilty of being tradition-bound organizations.  Tradition imprints almost all aspects of our identity, from the Greek names and letters we wear to the creeds we state loudly and proudly.

But there is a compelling reason for us to embrace our nature as tradition-bound organizations.  The origin of the word tradition is from the Latin traditio, which refers to something being transmitted, carried forth, and passed from one person to the next for safekeeping.  Organizations that have a great deal of tradition tend to last, because they inherently care about the safe passage of their organization from one generation to the next.

On occasion, there are calls for fraternities and sororities to change or get rid of some of their traditions.  This isn’t unusual for any institution, and neither is the typical negative response and reaction.  Churches come to mind as another organization that deals constantly with the push and shove of keeping or discarding traditions.

Why do we bristle so much when we our traditions are challenged?  It’s because we believe that losing them would mean losing a part of our identity.  And in some cases, it would.

The origins of the word tradition and standard definitions for it may not be enough for us to work with.  I believe in a five-point test to determine if something is indeed a tradition worth celebrating and keeping:
  1. Does it offer unique value to our organization and our members?
  2. Is it a longstanding practice that bridges the past with the present?
  3. Does it raise spirits and breathe life into our organization?
  4. Does it honor our organization, its members, and our legacy?
  5. Is it current with societal views on human relationships?
Thus, it is not the new theme party you started last year that you now believe you can’t live without.

It’s not a practice that includes hazing, harmful and destructive behavior, for that saps life from your organization and doesn’t honor your legacy.  Sorry – your alcohol-fueled big brother hunts or your pledge hell week is not a tradition. 

It can include the fact that your fraternity sings or chants (I love fraternities that sing), but not songs that disparage others or would be considered racist or homophobic.   

It can include awards you give each other, even some that are intentionally humorous or sarcastic.  Humor can certainly breathe life into your organization.  But there are ways to be humorous and honorable at the same time.

Sometimes a tradition to someone else can seem puny and dumb, but even those should not be casually dismissed.  My fraternity held a Senior Wills event each year, in which graduating seniors could pass down wisdom or items to younger members.  I saw men brought to tears over receiving an ugly, tattered, sweat-stained hat from an older member – because it was a piece of them. Other traditions can have no other purpose except to be fun or just produce fond memories.  Fine with me – as long as they can meet the test above.

Here is an exercise for you.  Besides Ritual – which is absolutely your most cherished tradition – what other traditions are sacred to your fraternity or sorority?  Use the test above as an evaluation tool.  Are there any that fall away?
 

Even our traditions that seem old-fashioned can be given new and remarkable life.  Consider lavaliering or pinning, which has been challenged as being hetero-centric and old-fashioned.  Forget the fact that it can be beautiful and symbolic.  Consider this story from Denison University in Ohio about a pinning ceremony that spoke volumes about the women involved and all those surrounding them.


As long as traditions meet the standards above, there’s plenty of room for more.  Let’s continue to find ways to take the best of what we are and who we are, and share that with others.  After all, that’s our finest tradition.


 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Be Careful What You Wish For

Guest Essay by Dan Wrona, CEO of RISE Partnerships

Following the parade of disturbing high-profile incidents involving fraternities and sororities in recent months, many fraternity/sorority leaders responded with outrage, surprise, exasperation, indignation, determination, and exhaustion.

I agree. It’s frustrating to see so many public embarrassments to the fraternity/sorority name.

But keep it in perspective: this is what we wanted.

The goal was for fraternity/sorority to rebuild its identity. To embrace a higher purpose. To confront those who act to disgrace it and purge those who do not share it. To discard outdated traditions and eliminate influences that distract us from that mission. To build something relevant to today’s student.

Did you think that was going to be easy? Did you think old ways would ebb quietly away?

Changes like these cannot take place without significant internal turmoil, often in full view of the public.

This pattern is not a sign that fraternities and sororities are getting worse. No, something else is happening. Throughout society, disturbing situations that typically happen in side conversations, at private events, and behind closed doors are now, thankfully, being exposed to public view. Fraternity/Sorority leaders and their communities are paying more attention to these problems. And the threshold of what people are willing to tolerate is changing for the better. Issues that were previously ignored are being named. Problems once overlooked are being confronted.

Shouldn’t we call this progress? SOMETHING must be working.

And yes, many things still need to change. The education industry created to support fraternity/sorority life, as John put it, excels at convincing people of the need for change, but falls well short of delivering it. We need to do better work, and that requires some difficult choices. It means ignoring this week’s management/training fad and choosing programs based on measured impact regardless of their emotional appeal. It includes rethinking the role of fraternity/sorority professional as a community builder rather than a program planner.  It calls for shifting our attention away from trying to change individuals and chapters one-at-a-time and instead targeting the environment that constantly influences their choices. It would mean trusting what we know: that you can’t educate-away most problems. And it includes resisting the temptation to create a program when the real solution lies in critical analysis, organizational restructuring, or culture change.

Sure, it’s embarrassing to have these issues exposed for the world to see, but it is equally embarrassing to pretend they don’t exist. What we see is not a sign of downfall, but the necessary and important indicators of a community resetting its standards and dealing with its demons. If we truly want fraternity/sorority life to evolve, we should be prepared to embrace the uncomfortable and celebrate situations where these problems are addressed.




Dan Wrona is the CEO and Project Leader of RISE Partnerships, an organization that provides training, consulting, and curriculum to help fraternity/sorority leaders do their work better. For the past 16 years, he has served the fraternity/sorority community as a campus professional, volunteer advisor, headquarters staff, umbrella association staff, and volunteer leader for various organizations. He can be reached at @DanWrona or Dan@RISEPartnerships.com.

Monday, March 23, 2015

It's Not Working

I’m sick of it.

We’ve got fraternity men hazing each other. We’ve got fraternity men chanting racist things that would have made the KKK blush. We’ve got fraternity men taking photos of naked intoxicated women and posting them to Facebook. 

And we’ve got fraternity men dying. We’ve always got fraternity men dying.

What the hell is going on?

It’s times like these that make me want to quit. As I look at these instances, which follow the Atlantic article and other high-profile stories of disgusting behavior, I want to throw up my hands and give up. I enjoyed and benefited from my fraternity experience, but why the hell should I continue to spend my time trying to extol its virtues when it appears like my experience was an outlier.

Aargh!

Perhaps it’s time to let someone else take this on. Or not take it on at all. I don't care. I’m starting to question so much about this movement that I love, because I’ve arrived at two stark and damning realizations.

1. None of it is working. By “it” I mean the entire education industry created to support Greek life. Think about the size of the support industry we have built for fraternity. All of the conferences, associations, companies, and individuals whose livelihood is focused on helping make the fraternity experience better. Think about the hundreds of different leadership events, educational speakers, and books, articles, and yes – blogs that focus on fraternity and sorority life.

We seem to be in no different of a place than we were before this great educational infrastructure was built. There is an old joke that the very first topics on the very first NIC meeting agenda 100 years ago were alcohol and hazing. And what sits on the agenda today? The same crap. And in between the first meeting and the most recent, how many minutes, hours, and days have been spent talking about those issues? How many different speakers have discussed those topics at how many different educational meetings? How many well-dressed and attentive young leaders have sat in an audience to hear about how much that stuff is ruining this fraternity thing, only to turn around and keep doing it?

None of it seems to be working.

Sure, individual lives have been affected through this vast educational infrastructure. But does that really matter if the institution that is wrapped around these lives continues on a downward spiral?

All of us (me included) educators and advocates have to look into the mirror and question if we’re just making noise instead of impact. We have poured millions of dollars and hours into fraternity life, and what’s been the return on that vast investment? Which leads me to my second realization, which is more dark than the first:

2. Why do we need this educational infrastructure anyway? What’s inherently wrong with Greek life that it requires so much education and support for it to live? You could argue that there is no other type of organization that seemingly needs so much infrastructure just to make it functional. In my darkest doubts of fraternity and sorority life, I wonder why our organizations seem to need so much “extra” to just make the “basic” work. Shouldn’t we be able to hand the ritual books to a group of men, and just let it go? Instead, we need staff, consultants, live-in advisors, conferences, and more just to get our groups to a minimum standard.

Set the Ritual book next to the risk management policies, the bylaws and other rules, the minimum standards reports, and officer manuals, and you probably can’t see it anymore.

We have men (and women too) who, unless they receive some kind of educational intervention, will naturally use our organizations for selfish and damaging purposes. For some reason, we are a place for those individuals to thrive. Why is that? Especially after we’ve spent so much time and energy on recruitment education and have built such a structure for “new member education.”

We talk about the idiots among us as “cancers” in our chapters. Well, we seem to be a petri dish that lets cancer grow unabated.

I want to travel back in time and find the founders of my fraternity and ask them if this is what they intended? Sure, our founders would look at where we are and probably kick our asses, but why does our DNA – the one they forged - seem so corruptible?


All of his has got me so tired. I feel like I’m running a marathon and the finish line keeps getting moved farther and farther away. I just want to collapse on the side of the road, and let the vultures do what they may.

I know many of you are feeling like me right now. I’ve seen your exasperation. Why are we doing this my friends? Why do we purposely reside in a world that is constantly criticized and maligned, and constantly affected by clowns and fools ?

I hate it right now. There are a million words in this blog, and does a single one matter? Let’s just walk away!

Ugh!

Dammit!

Enough!






 


Okay, I feel better now. Back to work.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Our (Self) Segregated Greek Community

The situation at the University of Oklahoma regarding SAE and the racist chant caught on video is horrendous.  It’s disgusting, skin-crawling stuff.  I’ve read many perspectives on the situation from friends, pundits, and columnists and I’m not sure there is much I can add to this one incident.  Overall, I think the conversation has been productive.

I guess one thing that I want to see from this is a chance for these young men and women to learn from this experience.  The student development professional in me cannot hate them.  I cannot cheer the fact that at least two of the young men have been booted from school and are going to wear a scarlet letter for a very long time.  I think the severe ramifications of their actions will teach them valuable lessons – I just simply hope it doesn’t ruin their lives.  Who I was at 19 is not who I am at 38.  We all deserve an opportunity to let life kick our ass now and then so that we get moved closer to the truth.  So, I hope these young men have people in their lives to help them avoid being hardened by this.

But there is one aspect of this situation, remotely related, that I think needs some further discussion.  It’s something I’ve struggled with for years, and I’m ready for some of your thoughts.  I’m nervous – as a white American – to make comments about race.  But I think this situation presents an opportunity for us as a greater Greek community to look at ourselves closely, because I can't help but wonder if we've fostered and celebrate an environment in which little progress can or will be made on race.

Here is why: The fraternity and sorority community is the most self-segregated place on today’s college campus.

We know that race relations, and human relationships in general, improve when we are exposed to people of different backgrounds than our own.

Before college, I didn't understand sexual orientation.  I was aware of it - but didn't understand it.  It all changed for me when I met gay and lesbian individuals in college.  The IFC office was right down the hall from the LGBT student organization, and it gave me a chance to get to know the leaders personally and to understand the greater cause.  I developed friendships which led to respect, understanding, and advocacy.  But none of it would have happened without those old-fashioned personal interactions I had.

In the Greek universe today, we seek to separate and not unify.  We have fraternities now for
almost every race and ethnic group: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, Persians, South Asians, Armenians, and Native Americans.  There are also fraternities and sororities for the LGBT community and for many different religions.

I understand why.  And I’m not saying these organizations shouldn’t exist.  Absolutely they should. 

These fraternities and sororities provide a welcoming and accepting environment for minority groups that they obviously haven’t found in the traditional Greek-letter groups.  College is a tough time for anyone, and so it’s natural to want to find a community of like-minded individuals who share similar backgrounds to link up with.  It could probably be said that had the traditionally white fraternities and sororities been wide open and accepting of minority groups from the outset, others wouldn’t have needed to form. 

By the way – I use the word “traditionally white” in absence of a better term.  I could say “white” Greeks, which is mostly true but maybe not sensitive.  Or “historically white”, which may be more sensitive but is not true unless historically means right now at this moment.  I hope you’ll give me some latitude here. 

So – these groups exist, are strong and growing stronger (and actually deserve a lot of credit for the overall growth of fraternity/sorority membership worldwide).  They aren’t going anywhere and shouldn’t. 

But what does this mean for our educational goals?

Our goals as Greek organizations are to make our members better individuals and our uniqueness lies in our efforts to impact members in almost every aspect of the human experience: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. 

And we attempt to do this in a fairly segregated environment.  If your Greek community were standing on a football field, and divided up by chapter, what kind of visual would that be?

The educational environment we’re working with has this truth: Our members, during their undergraduate chapter experience, will likely only call someone of their own race their brother.  Or their sister. 

This is the environment in which we hope our members achieve higher levels of acceptance and understanding of others. 

We're hoping for a lot aren't we?

Sure there are exceptions.  But enough of them to change the hearts of individuals like those on that bus in Oklahoma?

Most of us are chastising those men in Oklahoma, bemoaning the racial insensitivity that is more rampant than we wish it were, and standing on high pedestal to shout louder than the other guy about how racially sensitive we happen to be.  And yet, we walk within and past an environment every single day that is greatly segregated, and don’t seem to care.

And so, as I sometimes do (and hopefully only rarely on this blog), I’m raising this observation without any idea for what to do with it.  Please add to the conversation and make these thoughts fraternal.  What is the answer?  And by the way, making sure the traditionally white Greek chapters attend the NPHC step show is not enough.

How do we succeed in building accepting and open-minded Greek members in an environment that structurally is designed to make interpersonal race relations uncommon?

By the way, in researching for this post, I found that others are discussing this trend.  This column argues fraternities to be a form of “American apartheid.”