Updated on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014: Sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha released statements on membership guidelines regarding protestors wearing sorority letters and logs. Read the statements at Jezebel.
If you've been reading or watching the news, you've probably seen videos and photos (like the one above) of hundreds of young, college-age black people protesting the controversial jury decisions to not indict Officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo in killings that resulted in the death of two black men, Mike Brown and Eric Garner. They're protesting police brutality, racial profiling and racism, which have been prevalent in the U.S. for years.
It's safe to say many of those students protesting probably belong to black Greek organizations, and you would think these organizations proudly support their members for standing up for these causes. However, recent guidelines released by some of the organizations might imply the opposite.
In an internal Alpha Kappa Alpha (one of the first black sororities) email received by Jezebel, the sorority tells its members not to wear the AKA logo while protesting--only sorority colors are permitted.
Delta Sigma Theta's website contains identical instructions:
1. Feel free to wear our sorority colors, but REFRAIN from wearing Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. letters and/or symbols as our policy outlines.
Although these two historic organizations don't want their logos seen in these protests that have been sweeping the nation, that doesn't seem to be the case at all black Greek organizations. Historically black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, for example, released a statement in August on Brown's death with the headline "We Are Not Silent in Saving Our Black Boys."
"Regardless of what this young man had allegedly done, it is a sickness that still plagues the United States—the unjust enforcement of law and order when directed toward Americans of color," reads the statement. The fraternity also acknowledges "many of our members have participated in nonviolent protests in Ferguson and in other communities around the United States." With this release, Alpha Phi Alpha also published a photo of members wearing the fraternity logo while protesting.
Now, although I am black, I have never been a member of any sorority. So, I have no knowledge about the politics that go on within each organization. Nevertheless, telling sorority members not to wear their logos is a little disappointing to some (as you can see in the comments section on DST's Facebook page), myself included. Aren't they essentially saying they don't want to be connected to the protests in any way, shape or form?
Or, is this merely a business decision and more about image control? For instance, if sorority members wearing their logos destruct property, will that sorority be held accountable? From this viewpoint, it's easy to understand why logos shouldn't be worn: No organization or business wants to be held liable for destruction or injuries.
But then again, it's not as if members are protesting trees being torn down or an unpopular speaker coming to deliver a speech on campus; they're protesting an issue that largely affects the black community, a community nearly all black Greek organizations strive to serve.
So I ask again: Isn't telling members to hide their logos a move by the Greek organizations to disassociate themselves from the issue? And, doesn't this seem to go against what black Greek organizations stand for?
It's a debate worth having.
[ h/t Jezebel]