by LaJayah Blain/ Staff Writer
Joining fraternities and sororities can be a tradition that is passed down from generation to generation in a lot of families. In a way it is like a way of passage into an unknown world that you listen to your grandparents talk about. We look at pictures on the mantle of our aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, grandparents and even great grandparents all “reping” the same Greek letters across their chest. As kids we all look up to those letters, we see those letters as a milestone, and dream about the day where we can wear those letters on our chest too.
Now we are here at Florida International University ready to get involved and join the amazing groups of individuals you grew up hearing about. Being the wise student you are, you look into every single fraternity and sorority the university has to offer. You study each organization and find yourself stuck. You grew up your whole life wishing and praying for the day where you can join the organization that has been passed down through generations of your family. Now, you are here in the moment wondering if that is the right decision for you. Do you join the fraternity or sorority everyone expects you to? Or do you break tradition and go with your gut?
Believe it or not this is a dilemma a lot of college students find themselves facing. A Lot of the time students struggle with picking a fraternity or sorority because they either want to keep their families happy or they feel as if they have to follow the stereotype of joining a fraternity or sorority that matches their ethnic background (meaning African American students join the African American organizations and the white students join the white organizations.) I had the opportunity to meet with a student who breaks this stereotypical trend of pledging. Alain Milord is an African American student who pledged to be apart of a predominantly white fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau. I asked him some questions about the racial stereotypes and pressures placed on students when choosing which fraternities and sororities they want to join.
“I feel like in society because I am black, people were expecting me to join an African American fraternity. Not to say that I’m against my own kind, I just didn’t feel that pressured. I feel African Americans limit themselves only to an African American culture. Me personally, I like to indulge into different cultures. I’m in a new state, at a new school; I wanted to experience different things that I didn’t get to experience in my childhood. By being in an all white fraternity I am experience things that I wouldn’t have in an all black fraternity. Fraternities are more focused on the intentions of the individual candidate not necessarily the color of their skin. -Alain Milord
As Alain states at the end of the day the organization you want to join is up to you. When deciding to pledge for a fraternity or sorority you have to choose which organization is going to best fit you, your goals, and your ambitions. There is nothing wrong with keeping family tradition, but if you feel like pledging for the traditional fraternity or sorority isn’t going to be the best move for you then you must take the initiative to find out what will be best for you. We set up our own futures and write out our own timelines, so do what you want not what the stereotype says.
Alain Milord is a Junior in his 3rd year, majors in Hospitality and Tourism Management and is a Zeta Beta Tau Member.
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Photo by Macu ic on Unsplash.