Being African American and a Panhellenic woman isn’t two things that normally go together. When I began recruitment for my sorority, my family expected me to either be an Alpha or a Delta. It’s the simple fact that there’s a small portion of the African American community that make the decision to go Greek in organizations that aren’t cultural. I’m very proud to have found my home. My sisters are the most empowering women that I’ve ever met. But still, I get a lot of questions about being black and being in a sorority.
1. Are you an AKA or a Delta ?
These are both National Pan-Hellenic chapters. “Alpha Kappa Alpha was the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African-American college women. Membership is for college educated women.” “Delta Sigma Theta is a not-for-profit Greek-lettered sorority of college-educated women dedicated to public service with an emphasis on programs that target the African American community.” In short, I’m neither. Being a part of a sisterhood means more to me than being around people who physically resemble me the most. While both are great organizations, they weren’t for me.
2. Why would you join a non-black sorority? Are you white-washed?
I personally hate this question with a passion. The assumption that I’m “white-washed” for wanting to be a part of an organization that isn’t just my culture is frustrating. Just because I’m black doesn’t mean I have to be a part of the Divine Nine. While many girls choose to go this route, I found more love in my chapter than I would’ve found anywhere else.
3. Side note: what is the Divine Nine?
“The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the “Divine Nine.” The National Pan-Hellenic Council was established in an age when racial segregation and disenfranchisement plagued African Americans, the rise of each of the black fraternities and sororities that make up the NPHC bore witness to the fact that despite hardships African Americans refused to accede to a status of inferiority.” These chapters include Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta.
4. Did you even talk to the Divine Nine? You’d like them better.
You can’t put a title on a sorority. While I did talk to as many black sororities as possible, I didn’t feel any sort of connection with them like how I did with Panhellenic chapters. My love for my sisters was something special I felt with the chapter I chose. While the Divine Nine had amazing women and experiences to offer, that’s not where I found my home.
5. Did your chapter haze you?
6. Aren’t you looked at differently for being black?
With such a diverse chapter, I’ve never felt like I’ve been looked at differently. My sisters love me and all of my quirks and all of my blackness. I joined a sorority because I wanted to be around a diverse group of people and that’s what I found. I’m not “the black girl” and it’s not about my skin color. It’s about who I am, and what they saw in me when I went through recruitment.
7. What is it like being black in a predominately white sorority?
I feel the same as I would if I didn’t join a sorority. Being in a sorority has no effect on how I view myself. My sisters are the most accepting people in the world. Being black hasn’t changed anything. Besides, isn’t that what we’re all working towards? Equality and breaking stereotypes?
Although these are only a few of the questions that I’ve been asked, I can only help to laugh at them. I love my sorority experience and wouldn’t trade it in for the world. I chose this Greek organization because I wanted a strong sisterhood. It shouldn’t matter where I found that sisterhood or the types of girls who are there. I joined for love, not race..
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