Aren’t segregated sororities racist?

May 6, 2009

As I read the article about a black sorority protesting a fraternity’s celebration of "Old South" days, I became more and more puzzled.

The article mentions that the "black sorority" members were gathered for an anniversary celebration. The fraternity members and guests were "filling the street" in Confederate uniforms and carrying Rebel flags. The article later mentioned that some of the fraternity members’ dates were dressed in hoop dresses.

Part of my puzzlement comes from the seeming surprise on the part of the sorority members. Surely this event was advertised in advance and it is an annual event. According to the article, no one said anything inappropriate, but members of the black sorority were "taken aback" at the sight of the aforementioned fraternity members.

The rest of my puzzlement comes in when a sorority exclusively for blacks still exists. Doesn’t that smack of racism?

Surely if a black woman attempted to join a different sorority and was turned down based simply on race, there would be outrage, and rightly so. What would happen if a white woman attempted to join this sorority and was turned down simply because of her race? Is that not also racist?

Yet here we are in the 21st century with segregated (black only) sororities complaining of a fraternity’s "insensitivity" (racism) for paying homage to a part of history that changed the course of this great nation. Hopefully, some 150 years after the Civil War, we can eliminate the remnants of racism — at least on our college campuses.

Jay Radford