Perception of Unity: A Call for Action
Yesterday as I perused my local Half Price Bookstore, I stumbled across a bright red book exhibiting large Greek letters. Although they weren’t the letters of my specific sorority, my curiosity compelled me to stop and take a look. As I flipped through the book, In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement, I ran across this quote, which in itself made me purchase it:
“I have been so disgusted with the endless bickering, the pettiness, selfish motives, and lack of cooperation which continue to persist in Delta to the detriment of any constructive program… Of course someone must carry if we are to justify our existence and live up to our high purpose, but does it not follow that in all these years we would have learned the elemental lesson of cooperation?”
–Osceola MaCarthy Adams -Delta Sigma Theta Founder
As read this blunt and thought provoking quote, I couldn’t help think that this statement rings true to not just individual organizations, but to Greeks as a whole. There comes a time in every community when there is a need for self-appraisal; when a member steps up to make a declaration about the troubles brewing. A statement that may not be what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. The statement may not offer an immediate solution, but is meant to incite ideas and inspire change.
The parts of MaCarthy- Adams’ statement that stuck with me the most, were the ideas that we need to justify our existence and live up to our high purpose. Justification is all a matter perception and respect. It’s hard to justify the positive attributes of Greek life when they are constantly negated by public perceptions; specifically the perception of our respective organizations as a collective whole.
This negative perception came to my attention as I tried to hand a girl a pamphlet about Greek Life during the student activities fair. She said, “Why would I want to join a community where everyone hates each other and are more concerned with trivial popularity?” Although I was a bit taken aback, I began to give her this spiel about how I have friends in every organization and list the events we co-sponsored. Her facial expressions told me she still wasn’t buying any of what I was saying.
My natural reaction was not to care about her opinions, but when I think about it, she isn’t alone in her feelings about Greek Life. To be honest there is a lot of truth in her comment. We as Greeks are often guilty of pointing out the negative differences and publicly disrespecting each other. The cattiness has to stop because it’s a poor reflection of who we are. How can we grow as organizations or as a community, if we can’t display mutual respect? So this is a call for action. Let’s change the faux perception of unity and make it a reality. We will be of better service to our community when our organizations can unite. Let’s not forget that we share common ideals: sister/brotherhood, service, scholarship and purpose. To quote High School Musical, “We’re all in this together”.