Black People : I'll let YOU tell it................

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by info-moetry, May 11, 2006.

  1. info-moetry

    info-moetry STAFF STAFF

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    1. Why do BGLO's use Greek letters instead of African letters?

    This is one of the most commonly used criticisms against the BGLO's. But the answer, no matter how many times it is given, is never an easy one to understand, nor accept.

    We must realize and acknowledge that the first eight of what know makes up the bulk of the BGLO's were founded between 1906 and 1922. Three organizations (Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Gamma Rho) were founded on predominately white college campuses. The rest of the organizations were founded on Black College Campuses. We must also remember the social climate at the time. Jim Crow was in full force. Blacks did not have one tenth of the rights that we have today. No need to go over that history, but keep in mind, it was a totally different time period.

    Prior to 1906, several black fraternities and sororities had sprung up. As I stated in the first essay, contrary to what we boast, Alpha Phi Alpha is not the first black Greek lettered organization. There were several before us, however, for the exception of one, none of them are currently in existence. That one exception is called Sigma Pi Phi (The Boule') which was founded in 1904. We will deal with them more a little later.

    The fraternities and sororities that were founded prior to the advent of Sigma Pi Phi and Alpha Phi Alpha were founded primarily on white college campuses. For a black organization in the midst of white society at the turn of the 20th Century to have adopted African names on a white college campus would have been tantamount to suicide. Barely 50 years after the end of chattel slavery in America, whites still viewed blacks with suspicion, especially blacks who were seeking to get an education.

    But there was a definite need for blacks to come together on something more than just a social nature. The need to form study and support groups as blacks entered this newfound era of freedom was critical to their academic success. The support services that are in place today were not even in the planning stages at the turn of the century. In 1906, there was no NAACP, no Urban League, no Boys and Girls Clubs, etc. The only support services that existed were for white students. Blacks had little or no chance of availing themselves of such services, so they created their own network, which wound up taking the form of Greek lettered fraternities and sororities.

    The reality is it would have been near impossible for an black organization to gain acceptance on the campus of a white college or university with African letters and an African name. The founders knew this and adopted Greek letters. However, anyone who knows anything about linguistics and knows anything about Greek knows that the Greek language did not originate in Greece. We all know that the Greeks were (in)famous for stealing knowledge and making it their own. As a result, a large part of the Greek alphabet and Greek language has evidence of several African languages, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.

    Therefore, the reality is that while the names of our organizations are Greek in nature, that is the ONLY thing that is Greek about us. In fact, speaking as someone who has seen the rituals of several other BGLO's, I can say that the African presence is an inherent part of our organizations. All anyone has to do is look at our crests or our shields to see the direct influence of Africans, usually from an Egyptian/Kemetian perspective.

    Many people will bring up "Stolen Legacy" by George G.M. James. Let me state for the record that this is a great book, and should be read by anyone interested in the effects of the Greeks on African culture. However, it's relationship to BGLO's is negligible. BGLO members do not claim to be Greek. Sure, they may say "I am greek" in reference to their status as a BGLO member, but that does not in anyway support a relationship to the "ancient" Greek culture.

    But in fairness, it would be unfair not to mention that the BGLO's were, in part, modeled after their white counterparts. One cannot deny the influence of other white organizations like Phi Beta Kappa (before it renounced it's secrecy). The founders of all of the BGLO's made a choice to adopt Greek letters. And that is a choice that we must live with. Maybe the founders could have been a little more bold in their choice to adopt a name, but that happened almost 100 years ago in a climate I, nor 99% of the people who are alive today, can relate to. We must acknowledge that 1998 is a whole lot different than 1906, and to judge a whole group of people based on a name that those who criticize us do not understand, is in my opinion, very short sighted.

    The Afro-centric thought that is pervading the black community right now can be a very positive thing. However, I do feel that sometimes, it has picked the wrong enemies. I will not insult the intelligence of the readers by going on a long litany of what the BGLO's have accomplished and what distinguished and enlightened men and woman have come through our organizations. Suffice to say, that I do honestly believe there are more important issues facing our community than this one. But when lies and half truths are spread, they should be answered.



    true indeed they should be answered!
    http://www.chucksmoot.net/essay-bglo.html
     
  2. I-khan

    I-khan Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    tell it like it is, and not how it is not.
     
  3. info-moetry

    info-moetry STAFF STAFF

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    Peace & power brother I-Khan...........
     
  4. Africana

    Africana Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I have always wondered that

    I hate all that Alpha Phi Phie Alpha crap. lol. It's incredibly stupid to me especially when I see blacks doing it, which is ALLLL the time.
     
  5. MississippiRed

    MississippiRed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Not this again.....is this Groundhog day......over and over and over and over and over and over and over......


    MississippiRed
    Sometimes I don't know where this dirty road is taking me
    guess I'll keepa gambling and lotsa booze lotsa rambling it's easier
    than just waiting round ta die
     
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