I am in a relationship with a wonderful man. We have been dating since our undergrad years at Syracuse.
We both became involved in Black Greek Letter Organizations. I would prefer to leave our organizations out of this letter, but they are also the source of the problem. As we both have gotten older, he is 31 years old, and I just turned 30 years old.
Our focus on Greek life has taken us on different paths. I am very active in my organization, and he has opted not to be active with his. Although, he is very active in the community, still, even though, he is not involved with his graduate chapter for his fraternity. He believes that what we were taught about our organizations were wrong, especially now with all of the injustices that our people are facing. He is getting increasingly angrier when I come in from a chapter meeting, workshop, or program that my graduate chapter or another chapter may be having.
We argue about this constantly, and he has said that he feels like he cannot be with a woman who is not invested in our people. He constantly asks where are the Black Greek Organizations when these young men and women are being murdered? I know that he has also met another woman who shares this feeling about Black Greek life as well. I am afraid that their bonding is breaking us further apart.
I love my sorority sisters, and truthfully, I do agree that we fail to do all that we can. That we should be the Black Panthers of this generation (yes Huey P. Newton was a Sigma). But, I also feel it would be a shame if I leave my organization behind. What should I do? – Anonymous Phi Anonymous
Dear Ms. Anonymous Phi Anonymous,
I think your boyfriend needs an education, including you, on the many hundreds and thousands of persons who are members of Black Greek Organizations, and whom are actively involved with various community programs, after-school programs, education, public policy, youth programs, and, including as much the political and social landscape of injustices happening with black persons in today’s climate. I’ve seen many images of members of Black Greek Organizations wearing their colors and paraphernalia marching through the streets to protest the injustices, police brutality, and social inadequacies that affect black people. Many may not be publicly known for their ties and membership to Black Greek Organizations, but trust and believe, there are many of them who are on the front lines.
Now, if he is asking why any Black Greek Letter Organization does something publicly, as a collective unit, and entity, then again, I would beg to differ, as I’ve seen many local grad chapters, and even undergrad chapters become involved in these efforts to mobilize and effect change. So, what I’m saying is that it just may be where you are located, and the members of that local grad chapter may not be as politically or socially engaged. But, you can’t fault the organization as a whole, and if he wants to affect change, and he doesn’t feel his organization is doing anything, then, instead of complaining and not being active, how about he become active and rally some of the men from his fraternity who may be like-minded? Instead of complaining about a system, then become part of a system and affect change. I am sure there are some men in his fraternity who may want to become involved, they may want to do something, and they may want to rally, march, and protest, but everyone is not a Huey P. Newton, and, nor is everyone a leader. This may not be their call to lead a protest, a march, or a movement. Maybe they need someone who has that revolutionary mind, and energy which will mobilize others, and rally the troops to get involved, and he may be that voice.
By the way, most revolutionary moments happen out of resistance and protest and oppression. They are not planned.
You even state that your sorority is actively involved with various programs, and you all are doing a lot of work in the community. Why is he mad because you’ve decided to remain active with your sorority beyond your college years, especially if it is a source of sisterhood and support that you need? This is your way of giving back and contributing, in your own way. It is through membership, as a collective unit. Everyone is not going to be a lone soldier and waiting on other revolutionary minds to meet.
Besides, I’m sure he would feel the same if he wasn’t so bitter about his fraternity, and what he feels is their lacking if he recommitted himself to being actively involved. He can’t be mad and bitter with his organization if he isn’t doing anything himself. Also, what I know about Black Greek Letter Organizations is its uniqueness in that your membership is for life. It is not only just during your college years, and for a social and fun gathering to hang out and party while in college. It extends beyond that. It is a lifelong membership for continual building, growth, and nurturing. They know the importance they have on the black community. Thus, they need active, strong-minded, intelligent, and politically and socially active members to help them become involved in various aspects of black life.
Next, if your boyfriend is that jaded and he doesn’t see himself with a woman who doesn’t fit his agenda and ideology, especially with Black Greek life, then it appears that you two are growing apart. He is basically telling you that you have to make a choice, it’s him or your sorority. And, unfortunately, he has found a willing ear, and shoulder to give him voice and support in his opinions, and thoughts. Therefore, yes, your relationship is in trouble. He is entertaining another woman, someone who shares his political and social views and thoughts. He’s reaching out to another woman who will listen to him, and someone whom he’s found solidarity with. He’s no longer resorting to you, his woman, and communicating with you. Instead, he sees you as someone who is against him and his thinking. If you want to save your relationship, the other woman needs to be out of the way, and you need to confront your man about his involvement with her, and going to her to talk about his views and ideologies, because as he’s venting about his frustrations, trust and believe, you have come up, including your relationship. Nip this in the bud!
So, you have to decide what is important to you – your man or your sorority? There are many couples who have enjoyed an active life with their partners as well as with their sororities and fraternities, but these persons are on the same page, share the same goals, and share the same ideologies. They are invested in both their relationships, and their organizations. They complement each other. You need to sit and talk with him, share your goals, dreams, desires, and ideologies. What are your political and social goals? Do you both have the same thing in mind? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship, your goals, your aims, and your political and social views. Maybe you will have to decide it’s either your man or your sisterhood. – Terrance Dean
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