Roll Tide! Except if you happen to be a black woman. The University of Alabama’s student paper the Crimson White is reporting that at least four sororities at the school will not allow black students to pledge. The sororities Alpha Gamma Delta, Tri Delta, Chi Omega, and Pi Beta Phi all blocked two qualified black students from pledging this fall, and the school’s paper says it’s because of their skin color and alumni influence over the selection process.
“Are we really not going to talk about the black girl?”
The question – asked by Alpha Gamma Delta member Melanie Gotz during her chapter’s sorority recruitment – was greeted by silence. The sorority’s active members and a few alumnae gathered in the room to hear the unexpected news that there would be no voting on potential new members that night. The chapter, they were told, had already agreed on which students would be invited back for the next round.
Gotz and several of her sorority sisters, however, were far from satisfied. They wanted to discuss one potential new member in particular.
By any measure, this candidate was what most universities would consider a prime recruit for any organization, sorority or otherwise. She had a 4.3 GPA in high school, was salutatorian of her graduating class and comes from a family with deep roots in local and state public service and a direct link to The University of Alabama.
The recruit, who asked to remain anonymous, seemed like the perfect sorority pledge on paper, yet didn’t receive a bid from any of the 16 Panhellenic sororities during formal recruitment. Gotz and others said they know why: The recruit is black. She and at least one other black woman, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of personal safety, went through formal recruitment this year, but neither was offered a bid.
What in Jim Crow hell? Rejecting qualified black girls who want to be in sororities because they are black is something you would think wouldn’t happen these days. It’s 2013, and the president of the entire United States is black, but these sororities are too “scared” to join the 21st century?
It also should be pointed out that all of the white members who for 50 years kiki’d it up with their sorority sisters seemed to be unaware until now that there were zero black people among them. This is why America can never be post racial. For all the talk about “colorblindness” and people who say things like, “I don’t see race,” there is an implicit denial of white privilege and any real acknowledgement that people of color exist and should be included in activities on campus that aren’t sports.
To be fair, it appears that current members don’t suck as much as the alumnae who are the ones who really seem to have control over the selection process and the denial of black recruits, but seriously all these white women never bothered to look around in their privileged bubble and say to themselves, “Why are there no people of color here?”