Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hazing.....JUST SAY NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Wishing you and your family a happy, and safe, Thanksgiving. I am thankful for being in the land of the living, and my loving husband who has been my best friend and more importantly my support system for all of these years! That one day that we met in Gospel Choir and he came up to me and said "God told me you were going to be Wife" was life changing for me. Funny because I didn't even know his name, but it was something special about him. After getting to know him, I wanted to fix him up with my best Friend Monique, but it was my mom that made me realize he was the one. I am thankful every single day that God allowed him to be a HUGE part of my life! Since everyone is asleep, I figured I would take this time to work on my next blog.....

Okay...back to the regular scheduled program....This blog will focus on HAZING!

So I get this question all the time, did I have a "process", did I go through some "things" when I joined my organization. In a nutshell, and to be quite honest, YES! However, my stance on hazing is this, don't do it, don't participate in it, and report it! As the bible says, when I was a child, I spoke like a child, acted like a child when I became older I put away childless things (1 Corinthians 13:11) Hazing has gotten completely out of control. PEOPLE ARE DYING!!!! It's not worth it!

Although when you hear the word "hazing" you automatically think fraternities and sororities, but it happens in other organizations as well. I was heartbroken when I heard about Robert Champion, a 26 year old who died from "allegations of being hazed" from the famous Marching 100 band at Florida A&M University. It has not been determined and they are still investigating his death, but the fact that they fired Dr. Julian White, the prominent, well-respected band Director makes me feel a certain way. A Former band member also spoke out about what he experienced when he was a member of the Marching 100 as well. My heart is heavy and although I did not know Mr. Champion personally, my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this trying time. I had a family member attend FAMU and he was a member of the Marching 100, and my husband also had several people members of the band as well, and the stories they told us were horrific! I can't believe one would allow themselves to endure pain just to be in a BAND. It's B.A.N.D.!!!! I had a long discussion with my husband he vowed that if our children are going to music majors they will NOT attend an HBCU. He was very adamant about it. If you want to know more about the case, click here:

*Side note* Please lift the Champion family in your prayers especially during this time. Holidays are a tough time to lose anyone.

I will never forget having a dinner at my house, and my husband and I had a very deep conversation with a few friends of ours who pledged Sigma Alpha Iota, Phi Mu Alpha, and Kappa Kappa Psi at various HBCUs. They were sharing their experiences about the process. I was looking at them in amazement. Being a music major myself, I could not imagine pledging a predominately "WHITE" organization at an HBCU and getting hazed to THAT degree. I went to a PWI and sure we had cute things that we did, but their process was similar to pledging a BGLO. Probate Shows, Step Shows, Strolling/Strutting all sounded like a White Org trying to be "down" like a Black Greek Organization. This is the problem that I personally have with HBCUs. Our friends made a joke with me and said almost every single organization on an HBCU campus has a "hazing ritual" that you have to go through in order to be a member. This made me appreciate my decision NOT to attend an HBCU when I was going to college. I was accepted to several, and I decided that since I was trying to major in Opera, it would be best if I attended a PWI since most Opera Singers were White. Back then I felt that since I had to compete against them in the real world once I graduated, I needed to go to school with them to experience my competition.

In college I was involved in several organizations, but to go through a HAZING process for band, choir, PMA, KKP, SAI, TBS??? That's just foolishness! I was very active in my school, being the president of both Delta Sigma Theta, and Sigma Alpha Iota, Secretary of Alpha Phi Omega, and several others. Sure I was the only Black in these orgs. (except for DST of course) when I pledge the predominately White Orgs, and things that I went through was nothing compared to taking 50 strokes a night that they had to endure. (Now DST was another matter) The sad thing is when I attended a National SAI convention, the Blacks kind of ostracized themselves from the Whites. I just shook my head in pure shame.

Now back to pledging a BGLO: Look, I get it, you want to be accepted among your peers, you want to be liked by your Big Sisters/Big Brothers, you want to have the privilege of saying you were "Made" or you didn't "Skate." I was that way when I was younger. I loved the fact that I was "Made" in my chapter. I felt I shared a special bond only with those who were "Made" like I was. Looking back on it now, who gives a crap about all of that if you are buried six-feet under??? Is trying to fit in worth all of that? There have been Sooooo many hazing issues reported this last decade, and one death, is one death too many in my opinion. The type of animalistic behavior that I have read regarding what people endure while trying to "belong" makes me sick to my stomach. Paddling someone so bad that they kidneys fail? Urinating Blood? Losing your eyesight? Having to go on dialysis? Are you serious?? This is nothing but gang-like activities to me. Look I am from the South Side of Chicago, and I remember if you wanted to be in a gang, you had to go through gang initiation. So I ask you what is the difference between the two? You get jumped in to be a member of their "group", throw up their "sign", and wear their colors." Sounds familiar? It's the same thing. Look when I was young and dumb, I was like hmmm they are paper because they didn't go through A, B, and C., so they may be a Delta but they are NOT my soror.

Looking back at my words, and my actions, that was stupid. What, I 'm a better soror because I submitted myself to go through something illegal, and I feel I am better than you because you did it the RIGHT WAY? I had the mentality that the only way to become a "true" member, a soror" is to go through some stuff. Now that I think about it, NONE of that matters. All that matters to me is you are working hard in the organization, doing the right thing, and upholding the motto of your org. That is what I try to do in my organization each and every single day. Unlike before, I could care less how long you were "online" what you went through, and the fact that you crossed at 3:15 in the morning. That stuff doesn't matter to me anymore. What matters is what chapter are you currently ACTIVE in? What type of work do you do in the community?

For most organizations, the applications you will have a section about hazing and asking you to sign stating you will not submit yourself to hazing. Please I beg you when you sign it take heed to it. Your process can be a wonderful, loving, haze-free environment. So in a nut shell, when it comes to hazing, JUST. SAY. NO.


  1. I was devastated when I heard about the passing of Champion. I am not apart of Greek life but it has been something I've considered for the past 2.5 years. I was unaware that organizations were still hazing up until recently. It has really been something that determines whether I decide to seek membership with an organization or not. I was invited to a pre-hazing ceremony. At the time, I was unaware what was going to go on. For the most part, it was taunting but I've heard many stories that go far beyond just that. In the end, it's really like playing tug-of-war with your morals and values. A part of me says, "This is wrong" and the other part of me says, "They will not respect me if I do not go through with X". It's tough. I have not decided thus far. It's sad to see people go through such things just to feel accepted. I'm not sure I can. I think it's become apart of the Greek culture and something I fear will never change sadly. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. It would be nice to see organizations adopt positive ways of reinforcing sisterhood and brotherhood.

  3. NOBODY makes YOU, except YOU. The letters do not make you, you make the letters. You shouldn't ever want to be apart of an organization so much that you're willing to lose your dignity all in the name of some so called "sisterhood."

  4. As a current student at FAMU, your comment that you made about you and your husband making an adanmant and seemingly definite decision about not alllowing your children to attend an HBCU if they intend to major in music hurts my heart. My experience at an HBCU despite the Robert Champion incident has been something i would never replace and i feel that it is so important for African-Americans to have the experience. i feel as though Hazing in Greek and other organizations should not be a deterent to totally avoid aLL HBCUs. The irreplaceable, enlightening, enriching experience that HBCUs offer to our legacy and the overall preservation of African-American heritage is INCOMPRABLE and shouldnt be overshadowed by the actions of certain organizations. Although you attended a PWI or may not agree with my viewpoint please dont deprive your children of the amazing uplifting, tough love, excellent, culturing elevating experience of attending an HBCU :)

  5. I am currently a junior at an HBCU and a member as well of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. I too am from the Chicago-land area. I believe this: being hazed is optional. You can decide if you want to go through with it, or not. Yes, I had a rigorous process for APO, it was no joke. But I ALLOWED myself to go through that because I KNOW no matter if I do grad or undergrad im going to be hazed. I'm ALLOWING myself to go through it. It's a personal choice. Yes we had ppl on my line that are considered "paper" due to health reason. Now hazing for the bands is ridiculous. I've heard and have been to a band set. It was so gruesome that I HAD to leave. With all of this said , my point is hazing is OPTIONAL and a PERSONAL choice

    1. Similar to the person above, I'm currently a Junior at a PWI and a member of Alpha Phi Omega, National Service Fraternity. It depends on how you use "rigorous". The process of APO at my school's chapter is NO where close to the processes of BGLO's.

      I disagree with the statement above. I believe hazing is almost REQUIRED or expected during the process of pledging D9 orgs.

      It's a personal choice to CONTINUE with the "process" despite negative factors such as hazing.

  6. To the author: You made a valid case in your input regarding not allowing your children to attend an HBCU. I am an upperclassman at a HBCU and have had a wonderful experience. I have been able to volunteer in my community and have a pretty impressive scholastic record. I do understand your take on the BGLO process at these universities. I am an aspirant for a particular fraternity and have not formally expressed interest due to the numerous violent acts of hazing (mainly physical) that I have been made clear to me. I feel as if hazing certainly is required by some chapters in order to complete the process to not be considered a paper member and to be accepted in the future when attending homecoming events, for example. This is something I cannot find myself to agree with. I want to do the work of this particular fraternity and have a great brotherhood with members, even in the future with our loving families. But I do not believe it is necessary to be beaten every night. However, there are some other organizations on my campus that do not have instances of hazing. It really depends on the particular chapter, so I would not limit these actions only to HBCU's.

  7. I'm a sophomore attending a PWI in NY & I'm highly interested in DST. From an undergrad perspective, I agree with the idea that hazing is unacceptable; however, I know for a fact that hazing would occur during the "process" should I be selected for membership. I also know that once you start the process, quitting is like social suicide. It sounds stupid...and it personally makes me ashamed of my generation...but what do you do if it's your dream to be a part of the organization? I'm personally at odds, because I know that if I were to join a sorority, DST would be the one for me. I admire the org's value on being an esteemed woman that works hard, and stands up to make a difference in the world not only through sisterhood but ALSO through scholarship and service. I don't want the fear of hazing to stop me from reaching out to be considered for such a great organization; but at the same time, how do you know that the hazing won't be too extreme? These days, a lot of chapters expect you to go through the process in order to cross (even though the national organization as a whole is against it) and I wouldn't want to start the process if I couldn't finish it. I don't think that it's worth it for ANYONE to lose their life, or to endure severe/permanent damage. I think it's sad that undergrads like myself have to even consider the issue of hazing (for DST and ALL other Greek orgs) and unfortunately I personally think that this issue is the one concern that the 22 founders of DST wouldn't be proud of.

  8. I had the displeasure of "going online" for a music organization. At the time I believed they didn't participate in hazing and that we would be following the prescribed training manual provided by the organisation. However I was wrong. As I was standing there allowing these people to mistreat me, I began thinking "I would never allow my 'sister' to treat me this way." So why was I allowing people I don't know do this? I made the decision to not continue. It wasn't that deep for me to join. It's funny how the non-pledging paper members want to Haze others when they went through absolutely nothing. Dropping line may be considered social suicide, but which is worse: having people ignore you for a few years until graduation or losing your self respect, morals, and dignity just to join? It is what you make it.