Does the Ideal Fraternity Man Exist?

So what have I been doing for the last week or so? Well, Remember when I wrote about how boys need to treat women better? Well, the first line of that that was…”I decided today that I need to do a workshop”. Consider it done. This past weekend, me and a colleague did a workshop on masculinity, but we geared it toward Fraternity men of Color.

It was for a program called Values Academy that is an all day program at Syracuse University that has several leadership workshops for Fraternity and Sororities of Color. My workshop was called “Are You a real Fraternity Man?” Together, @panthbro and I, put out some surveys in which we asked male and female students about their perceptions of Fraternity Men of color. Needless to say it was a very interesting workshop with data that you can feel.

It is no secret that less and less men of color (with the exception of Asians) are getting into college. The dropout rate of men who do enter college is increasing as well. So roughly about 20% of males of color who graduate High School enter college. Out of those who make it, roughly 25% of those men join fraternal organization (at least that is the rough number at Syracuse University). This makes these boys feel as if they are elite or cream of the crop. I would consider them leaders and so would the national organizations of NPHC, NAPA, and NALFO. 
So with “great power come great responsibility?” Well, not according to data we collected. The perception of Fraternity men are not that great. Many people feel that these men would rather “pad their numbers”(in terms of women) than performing the community service that their National organizations preach so much about. While we asked men and women, both greek and non greek alike, it was the women who had such deep feelings about men.
There is this perception that the letters shouldn’t define these boys, that these men should define the letters. This was a big thing for the women on this campus. Which leads me to my ultimate point of being a man. When I started this campaign on showing boys what being a man is about, I asked @pathbro to help me define what this is in terms of selling this to Fraternities. 

We both work many NPHC and NALFO events and we have seen how these boys can act. While I know that rudeness and womanizing isn’t indicative of all males, one has to understand that perception is reality. Dr Walter M. Kimbrough, who was also at Values Academy, made a presentation touching upon the points about they types of messages that Fraternities and Sororities give. He wrote the book, Black Greek 101. Read it. He challenges the notions and rituals of what it is considered to be a Black Geek.

So the question is, while people have no problems defining what an Ideal Fraternity man is, does he exist? Students listed things like humble, selfless, and a leader. Is that reality? Well, according to one of the workshop I attended, 15% of any chapter are the doers. So, many chapters within SU are very small, 4-5 members on average. That easily reduces the amount real fraternity men to 1 (maybe) per chapter. That leaves the rest to party and other social activities.

In the end. We came up with a list of guidelines to help boys be better men. I wish there were more males in the room to witness the workshop. Luckily, I was able to record it. 

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