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Greek Life at Alabama

KP98765KP98765 Posts: 38Registered User Junior Member
edited October 2011 in University of Alabama
Does anyone honestly know realistic chances of an African-American student getting a bid to a predominantly white fraternity? I'm just looking for an honest opinion from anyone with a valid viewpoint. Thanks.
Post edited by KP98765 on
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Replies to: Greek Life at Alabama

  • momof3boyzmomof3boyz Posts: 881Registered User Member
    I would love to be able to say race does not come into play, but this is not the case.

    We live in the Midwest. We have raised our children to respect all people and not to judge others.

    What follows in a account of this years Rush experience that is VERY BOTHERSOME.
    My Freshman son decided to go through RUSH. He completed the online registration just a few weeks before he left for Alabama Action. He was contacted by a few Fraternities. He gravitated toward one Fraternity (I will NOT say which one). He called one night after attending an Open House where parents and potential pledges were given a tour of the house. The active that lead the tour made a comment that truly bothered my son. During the tour, the active member said, "this is a white only house" or "this is only a white house". (Semantics might make a difference to some.) In either case, my son asked his father for advise. My husband encouraged our son to speak to the VP in private the following day. My son did just that. He asked the VP, "If I were black, would you offer me a bid?". The VP said "Yes, I would however there are some actives that would have a problem with that.". My son thanked him and still tried to keep an open mind and continued to get to know the actives at this particular house. As the weeks leading up to Bid Day approached. My son was offered a Bid. He had told them he accepted the Bid. Then out of the blue, he was blackballed before pledging even started. No explanation was given. We emailed the Alumni Adviser (who was scheduled to speak to us about finances and procedures that same night) and have not heard back from him. There is no doubt in our minds that he was blackballed because he will not tolerate racist attitudes. There is a reason for everything.

    As a parent, it is heart wrenching to be so far from home hearing how our son was treated. Black or White, this situation was cruel! God has other plans for our son. We are very proud he spoke out against a very insensitive comment.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 61,575Registered User Senior Member
    I don't know what the chances are.

    I just know that at many campuses, unfortunately, there are AA houses and White houses.

    I guess a similar question could be...what is the chance that a white kid getting a bid at one of the AA houses? Or what is the chance of a Gentile kid getting a bid at the Jewish Frat?

    I really don't know how much or how little it has to do with "racism" as it has to do with the segregation that occurs on most campuses. There's even a book about it...

    Amazon.com: "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity (9780465083619): Beverly Daniel Tatum, Beverly Daniel Tatum: Books
  • Atlanta68Atlanta68 Posts: 1,139Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with Mom2Collegekids, that the segregation is largely due to self selection. Blacks typically like Hip Hop music, and Whites are less likely (how much less likely, Im not sure) to enjoy Hip Hop. However, against stereotype, I actually think most young Whites have more diverse musical tastes than young Blacks in general. Or is that an assumption? I base it on personal experience, but I could be wrong. Of course there are exceptions. But think about this one factor affects the self selection in Frats and Sororities. Think about the choice of party music. Is it really racism, or is it different cultural affinities?

    Nevertheless, the fact that there has not been one Black accepted into a traditionally White Frat (correct me NJ if I am wrong), in the entire modern history of UA, is disturbing. Surely there are at least some young Black men who tend to prefer things found more commonly in "White" culture and vice versa. Boy I know this is making someone angry, but let's get real. There are some cultural differences that seem to lead to self enforced segregation. I wish it were not so. Hopefully, it will change, cause physical characteristics should not be the criteria for "brotherhood" or "sisterhood".
  • SEA_tideSEA_tide Posts: 3,645Registered User Senior Member
    FWIW, some fraternities will play hip hop and many Greeks were disappointed to have a country artist (Dierks Bentley) headlining this year's Greekfest.

    As much as I would like UA's fraternities and sororities to be integrated, I cannot say that there is much chance of an black student getting a bid. I was at another university this summer that had many of the same fraternities as UA and they had multiple black and Hispanic members, so it is definitely a local or regional issue rather than a national issue.

    I'm sure that you would make a great fraternity brother. Unfortunately, the chances of you getting into an historically-white fraternity at UA are very miniscule and beyond your and my control. It's not just race that's an issue, you'd be hard pressed to get a bid if you voted democrat or were openly gay/bi. For a couple of fraternities, only those from Mobile, AL (one fraternity) or Alabama and New Orleans (another fraternity) are admitted.

    While this is not the answer you wanted to hear, don't let it dissuade you from including UA in your college search. There are many of us at UA who want an integrated Greek life system like we see at schools in other parts of the country and in Canada.
  • NJBamaNJBama Posts: 1,233- Senior Member
    Honestly the answer is yes and no. A black kid has ZERO chance of getting a bid from an old row fraternity. Or really any fraternity that has been on campus for a long time.

    There are a couple predominantly white fraternities that are integrated however. These tend to be fraternities that colonized or re-colonized within the last 25 years or so. Delta Sigma Phi is one in particular. http://www.bamadeltasig.com/
    They have a nice house on campus and pretty strong membership numbers. There are a few others but this is one of the better integrated fraternities on campus.

    The crux of the problem is fraternity/sorority swaps. And yes it is wrapped in racism. Fraternities fear if they integrate the good sororities will refuse to have swaps with them. Primarily due to pressure from some bigoted parents who won't want their white daughters set up with black guys. Sororities fear the reverse would be true if they integrated.

    momof3boyz, I'm sorry that happened to your son. He is to be commended for standing up for his principles, while many of us have ignored ours, for our own selfish reasons. Do have him take a look at Delta Sigma Phi and a couple of the other integrated fraternities on campus if he still has a desire to be a greek.
  • EmmasmumEmmasmum Posts: 86Registered User Junior Member
    This is the sole reason my daughter decided not to rush. She was disappointed as it was part of college life she was looking forward. Her aunt, grandmother and great grandmother were all members of the same sorority and she had hoped to follow in the tradition, but she was extremely uncomfortable with the whiteness of the sorority houses.
    I don't buy the self segregation excuse. There are thousands of AAs on campus and if the greeks would make it a priority they could become integrated in a relatively short time.
  • Atlanta68Atlanta68 Posts: 1,139Registered User Senior Member
    Don't forget that there are a number of African American Frats and Sororities at UA. And they work hard to recruit African American members too.
  • AL34AL34 Posts: 1,973Registered User Senior Member
    Momof3 -
    I know you already know this, but your son is amazing. I am stunned that in this day and age there are still fraternities/sororities who for whatever reason (or excuse) choose to segregate.
  • lterrylterry Posts: 251Registered User Junior Member
    Ok, I think I have some light to lend in this situation.

    1. Yes, there is plenty of racism in the greek system at UA. BUT there are a few white frats that accept african americans whereas there are no sororities that do as far as I'm aware of. So you're chances are slightly better being a guy.

    2. @Atlanta68, you are wrong that there has NEVER been a black guy accepted to a white frat. It has happened. But NJBama pretty much hit the nail on the head. The older frats (ATO, Deke, Pike) are still very much against integrating, but the newer ones (Delta Sigma Chi, Sigma Pi, and Chi Phi) are open to accepting black members. Sigma Pi, I know has at least one right now.

    3. To sum it up, you do have a chance, but be prepared to see some ugly in the system. PM me for more info on houses. My brother's in a frat and my sister's in a sorority and they could find out whatever you want to know pretty much.

    Good luck!
  • vlinesvlines Posts: 3,579Registered User Senior Member
    How different is the segregation at UA than other campuses across the country? I guess that is the question I have. And how does it impact the campus environment.

    I read recent UA articles regarding block seating at the football games, and it was mentioned that one of the criteria for "grading" groups asking for block seating to determine their placement in the stands was diversity. When I read that, I was not sure if it was a good sign, a bad sign, or a way to pretend to address a known problem.
  • AL34AL34 Posts: 1,973Registered User Senior Member
    can't speak for all fraternities everywhere - but DHs fraternity at VCU (Richmond, Va., so technically the "South," was very integrated. Is there somewhere where there are actual stats on this?
  • SEA_tideSEA_tide Posts: 3,645Registered User Senior Member
    If I remember the article correctly, group diversity was one of the proposed criteria, but it was struck down by the committee. Of course, the info sent to the CW leads one to believe that the criteria used to rank groups may not have been followed anyways, which would make the point moot.

    From what I've read, segregation is an issue with the Greek system as a whole, but is more pronounced in a few schools in the south.

    The question that arises is how much does a student want to be around people that aren't almost exactly like themselves. I myself enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds and becoming friends with many of them. I cannot imagine ever refusing to be someone's friend on the grounds that they come from a different background or have slightly different interests. Being scared of the unknown is understandable, but refusing to challenge ones preconceived notions is a sign that a person still has a lot of growing up to do. Variety is the spice of life.
  • NJBamaNJBama Posts: 1,233- Senior Member
    The only greek systems that I know of that are still basically segregated are in the south.

    Primarily at SEC schools (UA, auburn, Ole Miss, UGA, Miss St, Tennessee, South Carolina) but UNC and UVA were segregated for the most part as of a year or two ago.

    Back in 1990 there was a proclamation by UA President Roger Sayers that UA would begin to implement steps to require integration of the greek system. There was a mass uproar from both the white and black greeks on campus as well as from their alumni boards. Needless to say Dr Sayers never implemented his plan and he left office in 1996 with nothing changed.

    So far Dr. Witt has stayed out of the fray. I wouldn't be surprised to see him try to do something near the end of his term in office though.
  • sunnyfloridasunnyflorida Posts: 4,790Registered User Senior Member
    1. Yes, there is plenty of racism in the greek system at UA. BUT there are a few white frats that accept african americans whereas there are no sororities that do as far as I'm aware of. So you're chances are slightly better being a guy.
    I was surprised to read in this thread that there is NO chance of an AA girl geting a bid to a NPC sorority at UA. My D attends FSU, and greek life is very similar. Yet, there are AA women who are in NPC sororities at FSU. There are Hispanic women and Asian women. While there are AA, Hispanic, and multicultural sororities, the NPC sororities do have multicultural members. While Florida is not considered part of the "deep south," the panhandle is, but clearly things are different a few hundred miles away.

    The ACC seems much more progressive than the SEC.
  • azcpamomazcpamom Posts: 278Registered User Junior Member
    Many years ago, Bear Bryant had the wisdom to integrate the football team. Believe me, there were many who were unhappy about that at the time. Too bad the sororities and fraternities did not follow suit. Clearly, he was motivated by winning, not some sense of social progress, so maybe some incentives should be built into the system to make it attractive to sororities and fraternities. How great it would be to see Bama lead the way on this one!
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