Greek Fraternities and Sororities: Can We Thrive or Even Survive on ‘Competitive Insults?’
By Tim Carthon (Blog #14: Greek Life)
When did insults to another become things that make the insulter look good?
I’ve often asked myself this question. I understand that people used to play “The Dozens;” telling non-sexual jokes about each other’s mothers, but that was done in-person and with people you knew, all in ‘good fun.’ However…
…when did everyday people being just utterly disrespectful to another (who they don’t even know), out in public, become societally fashionable? Was it when they saw famous or infamous comedians doing it as part of their show? Was it when the hit TV show “Wildin’ Out!” popped up on the scene? When did it become publicly accepted, and even now encouraged, to do this? Better yet, when did it transfer from just everyday people to entities, like BGLOs: ‘Black’ Greek-letter Organizations?
It’s amazing to me how ‘Black’ fraternities and sororities seriously and publicly insult each other nowadays. And what’s even crazier is that we even dare to try and mask our insults; attempting to make it Ok by saying it’s ‘all in good competition.’
No, it’s not.
Good competition is whose cumulative GPA is higher.
Good competition is who has the most and best community service programs/events.
Good competition is whose step show is better.
Good competition is who won more National Greek All-Star™ Awards™.
Now, understand that I’m not attempting to stand upon a mountaintop and scream at anyone self-righteously. I am simply viewing the panoramic Greek-life landscape. BGLOs have a long and proud heritage; traditions built upon the backs of fearless trailblazers. However, did those trailblazers build these traditions by trampling other BGLOs in public?
It’s one thing to say, “We’re number 1.” It’s another thing all together to say, “Your organization sucks!” The question is, if their organization sucks so badly, why don’t you try to help them better themselves with constructive suggestions? Is it fear of their organization surpassing yours? REMEMBER: Unlike most businesses, Greek fraternities and sororities compete with each other for members, not money. One passing another has to do with quality of membership and positive footprint in society, not who has the biggest bank account balance.
Me, I’ll help anybody start a business because I am not afraid of them out-working me. So ask yourself: Why aren’t you helping our fellow Greek-letter organizations, which you so non-eloquently refer to as “weak” or “wack,” to better themselves? Is it because you’d rather compete against ‘weaker’ or ‘wacker’ opponents? Oh, so you want to make it easier for you to stay ahead of them instead of better for us all by competing against better competitors? What, is your organization afraid of a little healthy, strong competition?
There are already too many negative stereotypes haunting Greek-letter organizations; drunkards, drug addicts, hazers, ‘professional students’ (takes forever to graduate), etc. Do we really need to be adding to these already damaging stereotypes by calling each other ‘weak’ or ‘wack?’ Other than someone like Original Kings of Comedy member DL Hugely ending his set with audience-roasting jokes, when has downing someone else ever truly lifted you higher, non-career-wise? Doesn’t that always seem to lessen the stature of the insulter?
We, as Greek-letter organizations, and members, never have to down another simply to try and raise ourselves up. It’s good fun when it’s someone you know and you’re alone, but it turns into something negative when it’s done publicly. Perceptions of Greek-letter organizations by “GDIs” are based off of what they see, so if what they see is us disrespecting each other, then, whether or not they verbally say it, what reason do they have not to do the same?
Tim Carthon; Advocate, Speaker, Author, Educator