To the Editor:
I’d like to take a minute to address the article that appeared in last week’s Bucknellian regarding the diversity speaker, Mr. Lawrence Ross. Although I am no longer a student, I take great pride in being an alumnus of the University, and I am extremely proud of being apart of the Xi Kappa chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. In reading the article, I am truly disappointed that time was not taken to actually research the issue of historically Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLO) because had it been studied, the author would not have graciously taken the time insult the members of my organization, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. All of these organizations have at one time or another been a part of the makeup of Greek life at the University. None of these, or any other BGLO, has ever been motivated to racially discriminate against students, and to insinuate that these organizations are somehow racist, while having thousands of non-black members, is a slap in the face of the University’s black Greek alumni.
Black Greek culture is a very loving and accepting culture and, at least during my time at the University, bent over backwards reaching out to all of campus. What amazes me even more is that in a situation that could prove as a teaching point to all of the University’s Greek life, and all of campus, that somehow the only opinion that was fostered, or recorded, from the entire event was that “the idea of ‘black’ fraternities is racist.” In my opinion, either nobody listened, or there was a lack of journalist integrity and moral responsibility in writing the article. I understand that the idea of BGLOs being somehow racist may be felt by some, although it is 100 percent wrong. But the entirety of the article talks about the event from an “us” and “them” standpoint, as if BGLOs are somehow devoid of dealing with other Greek organizations. Unfortunately, what I learned from reading this article is that obviously the University still has a long way to go in helping foster an environment that gives students a chance to build an understanding about things that are foreign to their own life experiences and seeing things from another person’s point of view.
Somehow the idea that because African Americans have “something that belongs just to them” makes them the real racists, by not assimilating to the culture around them and “shunning” people of different backgrounds. The author of the article, in his own convoluted way, attempts to bring to light the fact that much of the reason that BGLOs exist is because African Americans were not allowed to join white Greek organizations. The fact that they are still relevant and hold importance in our society as a whole is evidence of the fact that we have not yet reached a point where we are a colorblind or post-race society. At the same time, these groups show a great deal of tolerance and understanding by not being African American-only groups and accepting people of different backgrounds, and especially on the University’s campus, weaving themselves into the fiber of the University, interacting with many different groups of various backgrounds. All in all, I just think that if you are not an ethnically diverse student at the University and you went to a talk about the Divine Nine and the history of BGLOs and all you took away from it was racial insensitivity, then you really weren’t listening at all.
Christopher Hayes ’09
Former Vice Polemarch
Xi Kappa Chapter
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Spring 2007 Initiate