My Experience As An African American Greek
On April 5, 2001, at approximately 11:09 P.M., I was initiated in the Bond of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, in Lawton, Oklahoma. It took me at least twelve years to finally reach that nadir, of which I ended up being initiated in a graduate or alumni chapter. When I was attending Clark Atlanta University, I was interested in two organizations which were Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi. However, I was not ready to become a member because my parents felt that I was in college to study, not to pledge. My late father was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, while my late grandfather, uncle, and cousin on my mother's side were members of Kappa Alpha Psi.
When I became a member, I was glad to have made it because the fundamental purpose of Kappa Alpha Psi is ACHIEVEMENT. The Fraternity is a brotherhood that I could count on through thick and thin. In October 2005, my fiancee passed away after a long illness, of which the brothers of the Independence Alumni Chapter came to her funeral. Everywhere I go, I can always see a member of the Fraternity. We come from all walks of life.
My non Greek friends that I have, look at pledging as a way of buying friends. I had to explain that it is not about buying friends. Since I was initiated, I have kept my non Greek friends in order to achieve a balance. In fact, many of them have been to functions that were sponsored by my chapter. I have some that think that we are a bunch of "bourgie" Black folk who are elite. On the other hand, some think that we do not do anything for the community.
When I was a deacon at my former church, I was actually told that I was " straddling the fence" because you cannot serve two masters. What some members were saying was that if something happened in the organization on a local level, then I would be assumed to be guilty by association. Also, I could not understand because there are minsters and deacons who are active in the organizations.
Two years ago, I went to Clark Atlanta's Homecoming and I was welcomed by brothers who had pledged undergraduate. I felt good to be a member of the Bond of Kappa Alpha Psi. I have many friends that pledged undergraduate, who are about the business of Clark Atlanta University. In fact, it is not about "us against them" because we are very warm toward each other because of the bond of Clark.
To conclude, I love being part of the Black Greek Experience because of the networking and ties that we have. Also, our purpose is to uplift the race. Finally, we are members of the " Talented Tenth", which is the cadre of the African American intellegentsia.