Silence is not Always Golden #NotJustSAE

*Disclaimer* This post is not about our “happy, go-lucky, married life”. This post is about social and racial injustice that I (we) as black people suffer through. I urge to you read, comprehend, understand my perspective and start a conversation. I will have a dialogue with anyone who genuinely wants to hear more, but I will not tolerate ignorance. This is a current event along with my personal stories, so please respect this space.

If you haven’t heard the news lately or have just been super busy with other things, there have been some overtly, unashamedly racist incidents that have been happening. I’m not just talking about the killing of unarmed black men, women and children (although that would be a whole post or two in itself). I am talking about the systematic racism of some predominately white institutions (PWIs) and their sororities and fraternities. Just so you have some context, this is the story to which I’m referring.


Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) Fraternity at University of Oklahoma

Yes, it’s only 10 seconds but just to be clear, the chant is:

“There will never be a ni**er at SAE x 3
You can hang him from a tree but he’ll never sign with me
There will ever be a ni**er at SAE”

Sigh…it’s so disgusting that I couldn’t even put my emotions into words at first.However, if you ask other African Americans, I bet they would tell you ‘they’re outraged but not surprised’. Don’t be shocked at this statement. As an African American, I have experienced blatant racism like in this video and I’ve also experienced subtle microaggressions. It’s a part of me and the daily life I live…since I was born.

I was on Twitter last night and stumbled across this hashtag #NotJustSAE (started by @zellieimani)the conversation tide had evolved/morphed from #SAEHatesMe into something even more personal and widespread. Yes, SAE at U. of Oklahoma is not the only fraternity or organization to spew hate speech…to people of color (PoC) it’s been happening our whole lives! As I read the plethora of tweets, I began to remember parts of my childhood where I was discriminated against. It’s a shame really because I remember all those incidents vividly. As I relived my childhood and most of my adulthood, I became enraged and decided to join the conversation. To be honest, I hesitated for a minute…

“This twitter account is for lovey dovey DIY projects” ; “I don’t want to seem radical on my happy site” ; “Should I even say something?”

Thank God I was open enough and brave enough to recount some stories:

*So this is the moment I contemplated if I should add tweets from others. Or pictures of the blackface parties white students throw* I decided against it. You can see for yourself at the hashtag  #NotJustSAE. There are also non-black people telling stories about their former friends, sororities, and experiences at their universities.

Since this story broke, the President of the University of Oklahoma condemned the students’ actions, severed all ties with the fraternity, expelled the students leading the chant, and have opened an investigation into other incidents. I commend the administration’s response as no one should feel unsafe at school.

Yes, I realize that not everyone of a different ethnicity is racist, but there are some who are overtly prejudice and others who are subtle oppressors. Once an incident happens on such a public stage, it gives everyone an opportunity to express themselves and have a conversation – as long as it’s done respectfully.

If you have any questions you want to ask, feel free to put it in the comments. If you have an experience, you’re welcome to share as well. Like I said, I am open to respectful dialogue.

Take Care,
Alfreda

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