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The Implications of Race and the Greek Life System Powerpoint

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The Implications of Race and the Greek Life System Powerpoint

  1. 1. Montrell D. Sanders University Of North Florida UNF Sociology and Anthropology Symposium April 12, 2014 Minority Student Experience in “Black” and “White” Greek Organizations: Does Race Matter?
  2. 2. Greek Life Pictured
  3. 3. Research Question  What are the implications of African American students joining Greek letter organizations on predominantly white campuses?  What are the benefits and experiences of minority students in “Black” and “White” Greek organizations?
  4. 4. Sociological and Cultural Significance  Theorist posit that African Americans joining predominantly black Greek organizations, commonly referred to as the divine 9, gain abundant benefits with particular attention being paid to the mentoring aspect.  These mentoring relationships among men help to provide a positive role model to reshape the negative image associated with black masculinity and for women these relationships with other positive females help them break the glass ceiling  The literature also focuses on feeling of false consciousness among minority members in predominantly white fraternities
  5. 5. Sociological and Cultural Significance (Continued  Members in predominantly white fraternities cause minority members to deal with predisposed racial stereotypes that white members may have in an attempt to fit in and not cause trouble  Finally, the literature speaks to the benefits of white members in Divine 9 as well as Predominantlty white Greek letter organizations  By minority members joining these predominantly white Greek letter organizations, the white members re challenged to get to know the minority member and confront biases previously engrained into them and the same concept is echoed when white members join Divine 9 organizations. The only thing not known, however, is the benefits and experiences of minority students in Greek letter organizations
  6. 6. Overview  Minority students are drawn to these Greek letter organizations, be they Divine 9 or predominantly white, because of the opportunity and benefits they can afford the student, but once in these organizations racial implications become a big factor of retention. My findings are identified in three ways:  1. Professionalism  2.Inclusion  3.Racial Implications
  7. 7. Research Design: Source of Data  In-Depth qualitative interviews (N=8)  8 members of Greek life organizations on the UNF campus  Ideal Type:  Reality:  4 males and 4 females  All respondents were African American  Ages ranged from 20-23  Convenience and Snowball sampling
  8. 8. Findings: In Brief  Minority students are drawn to these Greek letter organizations, be they Divine 9 or predominantly white, because of the opportunity and benefits they can afford the student, but once in these organizations racial implications become a big factor of retention. My findings are identified in three ways:  1. Professionalism  2.Inclusion  3.Racial Implications
  9. 9. Findings: Professionalism  Raymond: Um, coming into it I wanted to, you know, gain the full experience of college. And that is like, and I think Greek life definitely makes campus a lot smaller, like in a good way. Like I wouldn’t say it’s too small but it’s like, I feel like I know a little bit about every part of the campus and like I know people over here and I know people over there, and I kind of know I have a lot of resources on campus and like im aware of them and I know how to use them. Whereas like, instead of, you know if I was a freshman walking in and I see the campus and I don’t know what half these buildings are and I don’t know who works in what department and I don’t know how to reserve the green for something but now I know how to do certain things. I know how to work my way around campus because I’ve been around these people who have experienced that already and can kinda tell me how to do things and give me that head start.
  10. 10. Findings: Professionalism  Jane: Umm, we definitely like help people…like, we do a bunch of projects. You get to meet a lot of different people. Umm…we do like blood drives, helping the SPCA, we make like these blankets for newborn children, it’s like a bunch of projects and like its actually fun, we actually have a lot of fun. So….pretty cool.  Opal: Yeah, I mean I knew there would be meetings and stuff but the way that you conduct meetings is very business-like, the way that you send emails to people, the way that you talk to people, the way you approach people is like very, very professional.
  11. 11. Findings: Which Path?  Opal: I did research and stuff, like I looked at sororities like. Because I went to a white school, I did research on African American Sororities predominantly, like I have no problem with a white sorority, but I wanted more of a black experience while I was in college because I knew I was going to end up at a white school. I did research and I liked them.  Omar: I looked into more African American fraternities cause that was one, im African American as well as I was surrounded by African American um, greek members as well, so that was just, as far as, I wanted something to belong in
  12. 12. Findings: Which Path  Raymond: When I came here, um , like I said that wasn’t, like just fraternities in general wasn’t really something that I wanted to do. Um, and I didn’t really see those fraternities. It just, there wasn’t a presence so there wasn’t really an option to me because I didn’t see them. And that was, the Interfraternal Council Organizations was the only organizations that I was exposed to and approached by and they just didn’t appeal to me, because they’re either all girl or all guys…obviously I can’t do the all guy ones. But the all-girl ones are so like….too much drama. They’re too prissy and like materialistic and …. I mean it’s probably not even like that it’s just the way they look but…
  13. 13. Findings: Racial Implications  Omar: We’re perceived as to be the organization that just strolls, the most, or um just have parties. Not really focused on academics or community service, um. And its not like that, and not just only my organization but all the organizations under the council um, we don’t just focus on just partying and strolling and hollering and just making calls its, we put work into our organization such as things people may not see such as study hours, such as community service, and but yet those are the things that are looked over  Opal: A lot of African Americans don’t know about the divine 9 and so they look and from an outside perspective if it’s not something you want to do or something that you know about or have heard about you’re like, these people are crazy
  14. 14. Findings: Racial Implications  Raymond: ….id say their first reaction is like why didn’t you and that’s always their first question, “Why didn’t you do the black fraternities” and then I tell them there was no presence here. I didn’t see it. So, um that’s always the first question they ask and once I explain it to them they kind of see my reasoning and whatnot.
  15. 15. Overview and Conclusion  These findings indicate that theoretically, joining Greek letter organizations is the best decision a minority students could make  Within these organizations, minority students get to learn soft skills that would otherwise take them longer to learn on their own, gain a lucrative network, and to also get a sense of inclusion  Practically, however, the racial implications that come along with membership may make the benefits seem miniscule  The implications and stress from the non Greek as well as Greek community on minority members contribute to minority students learning to save face in these situations
  16. 16. Acknowledgements  Dr. Jeffrianne Wilder  Dr. Jenny Stuber  Dr. Krista Paulsen  The UNF Sociology Department

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