Racism is something I don't really think about on a daily basis. I know it exists but, in my opinion, Texas Tech is not a racist university. We pride ourselves in diversity across our campus and I think that is seen every day by students and faculty. There are many different diverse groups across our campus available to partake in. Although, greek life is not normally seen as diverse as other groups. With the recent events that happened at the University of Oklahoma and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, I decided to talk to a few African American members of the greek community here at Texas Tech. We discussed their feelings on racism in our community.
Asia Hawkins is a sophomore and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She is also serving as a Rho Gamma for fall recruitment of 2015. Asia believes that racism “consists of hatred and exclusion toward a race or ethnic background. Racismis ignorance, hate and insecurity."
In her eyes greek life is a multicultural system that seeks to not only uplift each other but the community at large. She believes that greeks have done so much for the community and that many of their accomplishments are never highlighted. She enjoys how her sorority has provided an avenue for lifelong relationships.
“I have always known that I wanted to go Greek. I come from a family that was apart of the National Pan-Hellenic Council or the Divine 9. My father, grandfather and uncle were members of Omega Psi Phi, my grandmother was a member of Delta Sigma Theta and my mother was a Kappa Alpha Psi sweetheart. When I went to college, it was a matter of choosing a house that I felt most comfortable with and a house that I could align my interests with. It was a hard decision to not continue the family legacy but I do not regret my choice of going Kappa! Kappa has been and will always be a memorable part of my college experience. I have met so many amazing, generous and caring people through Kappa and have fulfilled my desire to give back to organizations that I cherish such as Reading is Fundamental, Children's Miracle Network and the Kappa Foundation. Kappa is one part of my college experiencethat has molded me into a better, well-rounded woman," she said.
Despite the amazing experiences she has had this far at Texas Tech, Asia said that she does believe some people thought Kappa made a mistake by giving her a bid because she is black.
Javon Johnson is a junior and the president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He joined PIKE in the spring of 2013 and said since then he has learned leaderships and social skills that he wouldn't have without joining. Javon also said he has met his closest friends that hold him accountable, and he believes he would not be the same person if he had not joined his fraternity.
In response to the racial incident that occurred with the fraternity at OU Javon said “It's unfortunate that this type of behavior still exists in some greek systems, but the actions of one fraternity should not be a reflection of the entire greek life community or the university."
One thing he loves most about Texas Tech is the 'family mentality' that exists throughout the university. He said that he feels very comfortable at TTU and believes his school is diverse.
“Personally, I have never had a racist experience at Texas Tech or in greek life. I have many friends in multiple fraternities and sororities across campus and I have always felt comfortable around the members of their organizations. Despite this, racism is still relevant and exists everywhere, but I am happy to go to a university where we are taking steps in the right direction to address racism with events like diversity week," he said.
Sara Amoako is a junior and member of Delta Delta Delta sorority. Unfortunately Sara said that she has experienced racism in her time at TTU. She said she experienced this whenever she was denied access to a certain party due to the color of her skin.
Greek life has become a major part of Sara's life. With being a newly initiate, and a member of the spring 2015 tri-delta pledge class, she said she has already had many positive adventures and grown close to her sisters.
“My sisters make me feel accepted for who I am," she said. “Greek life has actually made me more proud of the color of my skin and my family background. It has really inspired me to be very authentic rather than trying to assimilate to fit in."
Sara, Javon and Asia all agreed that racism is still something that occurs in college life. They are not naïve about this, but they do think Tech is a University that is taking steps in the right direction to prevent these types of things. Greek students are respectful to different ethnicities and this is proven through officer positions held by people of different races. It is refreshing to see men and women of different color scattered throughout chapters doing big things. I am proud to say that I go to a university where different ethnic groups feel at home in places where some cant say the same thing. Racism exists, but Texas Tech is making the issue smaller.