Hazing: Who’s responsible?

Hazing1On my drive in to work this morning, I heard a news report about two women in DC who are suing Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for hazing and human rights violations. They also plan to sue Howard University for not protecting them. As I listened intently, I was actually surprised at the claims made by these two women. According to the V103 segment, the two women believe they were hazed because they were forced to take sorority members to the airport, enter in doors that were not entered by sorority members, not eat in the cafeteria at Howard University, nor were they allowed to wear sorority colors. There were a few other claims that I can’t recall, but none of them involved violence. Yes, I do know the meaning of hazing, and understand that hazing is not limited to violence. When doing some internet research,  it appeared that the ladies thought they should have been automatically inducted into the sorority due to their familial status; their mothers are AKAs. When they weren’t inducted, the suit followed.

Without knowing all of the details surrounding this situation, I will say that I think these two women are probably bitter because they weren’t admitted into the organization. I haven’t heard of legacies being denied membership, but there’s probably valid reasoning why they weren’t selected. FAMU-hazing-deathHazing is a very sensitive topic, and has been on the forefront since the death of FAMU’s Marching 100 band member, Robert Champion. Champion died after being beaten during a hazing ritual. The 12 assailants are being charged with 2nd degree manslaughter, a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. Just to be clear, hazing is not limited to Greek-lettered organizations. It has been held as a tradition for football teams, bands, police forces, military operatives; the list goes on. Just last year, a 19-year-old army private was hazed because he was considered to be weak by his Sgt. and five other soldiers. He was dragged, and had rocks thrown at him. He later committed suicide.

When it comes to hazing, I think both parties in these instances have to take responsibility. People always want to blame the organization, and not put any blame on the so-called victim. The reality is that the people who are interested in joining these organizations are so set on becoming a member that they don’t use their better judgement. No one can make you do anything that you don’t want to. I wonder, while the initiates are going through their process, what makes “hazing” acceptable at the time, and then wrong later on when they find out they weren’t accepted? 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am most certainly not placing all of the blame on these folks, but I’m not placing blame on the entire organization either. There are individuals within these sororities, fraternities, and process-oriented organizations that are reckless. When someone beats someone senseless all in the act of hazing, that person has a problem. It’s definitely comparable to police officers who get on the force, and invoke brutality against individuals who are undeserving. 94022694-hazingThese individuals are on power trips, and have a desire to cause havoc. They shouldn’t be representative of an entire entity though, just like one rogue cop shouldn’t be representative of an entire police department. These individuals need to be handled as just that; an individual who obviously had their own agenda. As a member of a sorority, we were told constantly not to haze anyone, and not to allow ourselves to be hazed. Individuals involved in hazing make the decision to not take heed to what they were told. They are adults, and as an adult, they know what’s right and wrong.  Their parents stopped holding their hands a long time ago. People can’t act like something is right for the time being, and then say that it was wrong because the end result is not what they anticipated.

It’s frustrating to read the comments from people who are looking in from the outside. To them, sororities and fraternities are just another form of gangs. However, what they need to realize is that you can’t judge an entire group of people based on individuals who obviously don’t embellish the real meaning, focus, and goals of these organizations. This way of thinking should  go for all groups of people though, except those who were obviously founded on hate. These organizations that have been taking a bad beating due to some rogue members, have done remarkable things within the United States and the world, but no one wants to talk about that. It’s not news-worthy.

All I’m saying is that as adults we have to take responsibility for our choices. First and foremost, we are ambassadors for ourselves; everything else is secondary. Please share your thoughts. 527568_10151149811010256_1393799275_n

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Posted on Thu.Mar.07.2013, in News & Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. What sorority are you a apart of?

  2. Hazing goes too far in some instances.

  3. Let’s face it. Some of these individuals participating in hazing, actually enjoy sadism. That is why these acts tend to go overboard. The so called victim is also at fault, for allowing such inflicting pain. As for the women mentioned, anything for publicity.
    As a former gang participant in Brooklyn, NY, we would undergo such rituals, if we wanted to become members. No one forced us, we just did it, and, good luck. I personally don’t agree with modern hazing. Too sadistic, and punishing driven. Just a thought. Blessings.

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