Sigh. To anyone who thinks racism is over and we should all stop complaining about it, there are still states with segregated proms and segregated sororities. The fact of the matter is that at these sororities, like the ones at the University of Alabama, a lot of the girls who get in or pledge, White and Black, don’t even really know what’s going on or don’t get to have a say. It is a major bummer. Marie Claire interviewed some of the girls from the University of Alabama sororities just four months after they finally desegregated the Greek organizations.
“We were told we do not take black girls, because it would be bad for our chapter—our reputation and our status,” says junior Yardena Wolf, 20, a member of Alpha Omicron Pi.
“There was a list of girls who were to be dropped from rush,” says senior Caroline Bechtel, 21, a member of Phi Mu. “Anyone who was a minority was automatically added to it. Sometimes they’d say things like, ‘Oh, she wore an ugly dress,’ but it was so obviously wrong, so obviously racism.”
A lot of the White pledges thought it was a fair game, they saw the Black pledges, then they saw them be eliminated.
“It’s not that we’ve never had black girls come through rush,” says Melanie Gotz, 22, a 2014 Alabama graduate and member of Alpha Gamma Delta. “I would see them in the first round, and then they all disappeared. I just figured they didn’t make the grades. Until this year, I didn’t realize that they were being automatically dropped after the first round. I feel really naïve now—I didn’t really think racism existed in such a blatant way anymore.”
Why would anyone assume it’s because of race, especially if you’re not racist yourself? That’s the thing, we can all be a part of a racist organization without even realizing because we’re not the ones making the decisions and most of us aren’t thinking, oh, she’s this race, screw her. What’s sad about this is that most of the girls White or Black probably don’t give a flip about each other’s skin color but now they don’t even get the opportunity to become sisters or friends. The result of that is more segregation. If external forces persistently keep races a part from each other then it gets more and more difficult for us to chill out and actually get to know each other beyond the superficial. Racism is more persistent in the south but that doesn’t mean that most southern people are racists, which is a horrible stereotype, all it means is that there are racialized decisions getting made that negatively affect White and non-White relations. It bums me out. The only time they let a Black girl in (sort of) it was by accident. The rest of the girls resorted to mean girl tactics to freeze her out.
“This past year, a black girl ended up in the Rush-to-Pledge room,” Back says. “Someone messed up and seated her in the wrong spot … so you can imagine the sad hilarity of watching a bunch of really privileged white girls freaking out. They were like, ‘Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God! What are we going to do? She can’t think we actually like her!’ So they were like, ‘Nobody talk to her. … She’s gotta know that she’s not welcome. She’s gotta know this isn’t going to work out.'”
It all sounds awful. Can we like, um, not do this anymore?!