Monday, October 24, 2011

It's All Greek To Me

A few days ago, I had a conversation with one of my little homies, who is now a freshman in college. As we discussed her experience thus far, I naturally asked her if she was interested in pledging a sorority (*ahem* Delta Sigma Theta! *ahem*), to which she replied:

I could never be in a sorority. Y’all think y’all are better than everyone else just because y’all belong to a glorified gang. I’ll pass.

Her response saddened me to my core.

But what was even more upsetting was that this wasn’t the first time someone has expressed this sentiment to me.

As a former president of an award-winning chapter of (in my opinion) the GREATEST sorority ever established, I know that my actions will always be a reflection of my organization. So if I’m walking around a college campus or city acting like the biggest slutbucket of the century, it’s very possible that many people will think:

Well, since she’s looser than an untied shoelace, I’m sure all those Deltas are Freak-a-leeks too.

When we join any of the Divine 9 organizations, we all pledge to uphold and personify their founding ideals for the rest of our lives. So whether we like it or not, once we put on any piece of para, we’re often viewed as Jessica the Delta or John the Que, rather than Jessica That’s On The Debate Team or John That Reads To The Blind, Deaf and Dumb Dyslexic Midgets Every Tuesday And Thursday.  

Unfortunately, one thing I’ve noticed is that many collegiate Greeks use their org as a platform for popularity. People who were band geeks, chess junkies or just plain annoying get some letters and they think they’re the next Morris Chestnut. All of a sudden, the dude who had absolutely no friends before crossing thinks he has the license to treat GDIs (as we so “fondly” call non-Greeks) any kind of way.

Naturally, people are going to look up to Greeks because it is by nature an exclusive position, but we are not supposed to hold our statuses above the heads of our peers. Because at the end of the day, there will always be plenty of people without letters who are prettier, more popular, and more involved in the community than we are.

Now that most of the Divine 9 organizations are either nearing or have surpassed their centennials, many question if their existence is still relevant in the Black community, and in America at large. I honestly think this question wouldn’t need asking if we actually remembered the oaths we took and applied their words to our daily lives. Being in a sorority or fraternity is not about step shows, stroll practices, and one-upping other orgs. Each of our organizations were founded out of the need for blacks to come together in a constructive manner and to affect positive changes in our communities, while inspiring those behind us to strive for greatness. If we recall these objectives and truly attempt to live up to them, conversations like the one I had last week would cease to exist.

So, to my fellow Greeks, please remember that a linejacket can only cover your body; it won’t do much to mask your ego or piss-poor personality.

In conclusion, I leave you with the wise words of the esteemed philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche - “Deltas are great.”


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Holding Him Down: The Trials and Tribulations of a Ride or Die

I’ve always thought it would be nice to be a Ride or Die chick.

But not in the “hold my man down while he’s doing a bid in the Pen” sense. That’s just stupidity.

I’m thinking more along the lines of “I Wanna Be Down” à la Brandy. You know, the romantic black-and-white movie type of love where they kiss in the rain and do all other sorts of nonsensically loving things that will cause most people to call you “whipped.”

Well, maybe not whipped, per se. I still need to maintain my thug status on these streets.

But anyway.

I recently read a book entitled Mercy by Jodi Picoult in which an extremely devoted husband agreed to the difficult task of killing his wife (upon her request) because of the excruciating pain she faced while losing her particularly aggressive battle with cancer. Although the thought of living without his wife broke his heart into a million pieces, he pushed aside his feelings because he wanted more than anything to make sure that she was always happy.

Now that’s a Ride or Die.

In this book, there was one passage that really struck me. Jaime, the protagonist, said to his cousin:

It’s the 70/30 principle. In any relationship, one person always loves the other person more. It may be a 70/30 split or a 60/40 split, but it is never 50/50. Relationships are never equal.

So of course, being the intellectual negro that I am, I began to contemplate the validity of this claim.

In reality, these words are the basis of all Ride or Die situations. To be a Ride or Die, you must be able to put the needs, wants, and desires of your partner before your own. But there’s no way that would be possible if the love shared between the two parties is in fact equal. Neither person would ever have a love strong enough to go above and beyond the call of duty for the other person.

This led me to my next rumination:

Would you really want to be in a relationship where you know that the person you would kill or be killed for wouldn’t do the same for you?

I wouldn’t.

I’m sure that most people would like to believe that if they are putting in so much focus and energy on their significant other to the point where their own needs become secondary, the object of their affection would do the same, if not more, for them. But if the 70/30 principle does in fact exist, then that is never really the case. And that’s depressing as hell.

So what’s an extraordinary diva like me to do?

Well, although there are many people and theories out there that tell us that love is the ultimate losing game, I like to look at things from a more positive perspective. Because, to be honest, I love love.

But don’t tell anyone I said that.

I believe that love is one of the greatest gifts God gave to mankind. And God loves love too (peep John 3:16). In fact, Jesus was love personified. So if our omnipotent Creator could place so much emphasis on love, there is no person, theory or song that can tell me love just isn’t worth it.

I say all that to say this: surrendering yourself to love’s devices might possibly be the worst thing to ever happen to you, but it will DEFINITELY also be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

So, I guess one day, I would actually like to be a Ride or Die. But for now, I’m too busy loving myself to have room in my heart for anyone else.