Friday, October 07, 2005

Standing in the Gap with MY Frat Brother, Rashid Darden

This crap was emailed to my frat brother, Rashid Darden, who wrote about it on his web site. I am adding my two cents on this site as well. Here is what the asshole wrote to Rashid, and my comments to the writer follow:

"Let me start off by telling you, I'm glad you're a young positive brother doing your thing. Congrats and I wish you much success. My only concern is you using the image and the colors of Alpha Phi Alpha to market yourself. How are the two interconnected? There is already a stereotype of Alphas being gay, and obviously your work is perpetuating it. You didn't start it, I'm not postulating that you did, I just don't get why you don't use your talent and not have to "lean on the letters" to sell books. Is it marketing, do you think it brings you more fans, more controversy? I'm an Alpha, a raving, raging heterosexual and I'm sickened when people equate Alpha with gays. Our legacy is one of strong powerful black men, exceptional men, and we are being defamed. To each his own, I don't necessarily agree with homosexuality but, I don't think anybody can tell another person who they can or should love, but, this is ridiculous. Using the fraternity colors, using the colors in your pen name? Old gold and your novels are about homosexuals? This is out of pocket brother and I wonder if Tandy, Kelly, or any of the founders would approve of your violation of the crest. You can chuck this in your hate mail box, but, hate it is not. Be blessed brother and I hope you realize what you're doing."

First of all, Rashid is a talented, inspiring author who is going places with his writings without having to lean on Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., or any of his other affiliations. Instead, we need brothers like him to help lift our fraternity (and any other fraternity) out of the pit of ignorance and homophobia that is so truly disgusting. BROTHER Darden embodies our motto in everyway that was intended with the founding and history of OUR beloved fraternity. His "manly deeds" are exemplified in the daily role modeling that he does in his job; his "scholarship" is evidenced in his writings in undergraduate school, graduate school and his career (his knowledge of the history of black, greek fraternities shines in Lazarus - which you ought to read); and his love for "ALL mankind" is demonstrated by his involvement with greeks, with blacks, with gays, with undergrads, with bloggers, and even with fools like you whom he takes valuable time to write a response.

You dishonor the founders by attempting to divine their thoughts. Nevertheless, let's play your game for a moment. The founders were in an unfriendly environment that refused to acknowledge their existence in a fair and equitable way. Early 20th century colleges were exclusive rather than inclusive, homogeneous rather than diverse, and antagonistic to those who were different rather than nurturing. Given these conditions, the founders created an organization that supports rather than isolates, that includes people who differ from the majority rather than excludes them, that TRANSCENDS ALL!! The ideals of the founders have been distorted by your selfish, parochial, homophobic ideas of manhood imposed on not only A Phi A, but on other black greek fraternities that were founded to lift men up rather than to subjugate any of us. Yes, you would like for us to quietly stay in the closet, but guess what? It ain't happening anymore. Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick wrote about black, homophobic preachers recently. Strong black, gay men and women will not be relegated to quiet invisible seats in America or in the black community. We are here, we have always been here, we helped build the black churches, banks, stores, neighborhoods, fraternities, sororities and schools. Get over it.

As you can tell from my blog name, I am Alpha and proudly so. I don't want anyone to make any mistake about the choice I made exactly 30 years ago. I was gay in 1975, I am gay in 2005, and I will be gay in 2025. I wear the Black and Gold when I want and where I want because I earned that right when "I crossed the burning sands." Now just who the hell gives you the right to criticize a brother who's bringing positive energy and LIGHT to your narrow, darkened view of greekdom. The fall season seems to be the favorite time of year for black, gay frat haters to emerge. Oddly, Rashid dealt with this same garbage last fall.

So let me sum this up for you. There are black, gay preachers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, Ques, Kappas, Sigmas, Iotas, bus drivers, rescue workers, fire fighters, hip hop artists, actors, salesmen, professors, cooks, housekeepers, professional football, basketball and tennis players, soldiers, newsmen, car salesmen, AUTHORS and thankfully MEN of the HOUSE OF ALPHA making significant contributions to this whack community. Now wake the hell up!

If you are going to question Rashid's logic, it should always be in a respectful manner (*wink* back, frat). My comment box is on. Bring it on. Shem hotep and '06!


Phoenix said...

Yo tell'em frat.

Robyn said...

As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority Inc. I could resist not posting a comment. When I joined the sisterhood a year and a half ago, we were told that we are no longer individuals. Everything we do reflects back on the sorority. Therefore one should not go out drinking or acting ignorant while wearing the letters of AKA. We were also told that one should not feel the need to make sure every person we come in contact with knows that we are affiliated AKA. It should manifest itself in the way we walk, the way we talk, and the way we carry ourselves. Although a bit harsh your frat was just in expressing his concerns. A homosexual has just as much right as a heterosexual to become a member of greek letter organization. It is when we use our organizations as marketing tool for our own personal gain that problems arise. I would be highly embarassed if a soror was a prostitute and used AKA to promote herself.

fratman1906 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fratman1906 said...

If you are implying that homosexuality is in the same category as drinking, acting ignorant and prostitution, then you are sadly out of touch with truth and justice. I see frats and sorors sporting greek paraphernalia at sporting events, professional meetings, at the beach and all kinds of positive experiences. Rashid, as an author and lecturer, is a professional and need not hide any of his affiliatons or compartmentalize his life so as to isolate one activity from another. Every community is diverse, and it is ok to connect with that diversity. When I am introduced as a speaker, by bio includes my undergrad & grad school connections, my fraternity connection, my professional association connection, my civic organizations connection, and my denominational connection. All of this is so my audience will hopefully identify with one or more of my affiliations. There are gay fraternity members who will support Rashid because he has indicated this connection, there are gay, black undergrads who will identify with his Georgetown U. background. But most importantly, he has earned the right to wear and display our fraternity symbols. I believe that ultimately, this kind of dialogue will move us closer towards a true community of brothers and sisters who value and respect diversity. It may be traumatic for those who cling to the status quo. But white America didn't readily embrace the civil rights of black Americans, and I don't expect heterosexual Americans to readily agree to embrace sgl Americans. The journey must begin somewhere. Thanks for your comments. Shem hotep!

Kenneth Winfrey said...

I'm sure there would be no objections to his making known his affiliation if he were a a brother with the stature of Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, Duke Ellington or Jackie Robinson. One quick search on the internet will show how proud Alphas are of these men.

Quite unfortunately, it does seem that the idea of being gay is still regarded as a "compromising activity" that should be suppressed.