Instead of living up to the historic precedent set during the Civil Rights Movement, the University of Alabama’s student government decided to turn their noses up at the blood, sweat and tears shed by those fighting to for racial equality.
The institution’s Student Senate put forth a resolution that would support racial integration of the school’s Greek fraternities and sororities, but the body voted to send the bill back to committee, essentially killing any chances it had of moving forward.
From the linked article above:
“I submitted this in hopes that it would move the University of Alabama forward,” Katie Smith, the student senator who drafted the resolution, told The Huffington Post. “I am saddened that this is debated in the year 2014. However, as disheartening as it is to have an overwhelming amount of senators vote to ‘kill’ this resolution, I hope that our culture of silence is also ‘killed’ with their vote and that we can start a conversation about how to advance.”
Mind you, this is the same University of Alabama in which former Gov. George Wallace publicly placed himself in front of the doors of the its entrances to show he would not allow any black folks to integrate the institution. This is the same institution in which President John F. Kennedy had to send in the National Guard to allow two black students — Vivian Malone and James A. Hood — to successfully enroll in the school.
You’d think that with all that history serving as the elephant in the room, these students would have adhered to the precedent of fighting for justice and equality. Nah, these students are hellbent on preserving their white privilege.
But Smith said things are far from fixed when it comes to desegregating the Greek system at Alabama. She said she wanted to present the resolution in the fall, when race was a bigger public issue, but was pressured by members of the Machine, which student newspaper Crimson White has described as a political coalition of all-white fraternities and sororities. Smith said Machine members forced her to delay her resolution, telling her the Student Government Association didn’t want to take a stand on the issue.
“The SGA is essentially the Machine, so it was really The Machine that didn’t want to take a stand on this issue,” Smith said.
Smith said members of the Machine told her if she moved forward with her resolution, she would lose a chance for higher positions in student government next year. She said Thursday’s meeting was her last as a student senator, so she decided to disregard the warning and present her legislation. If she had introduced it sooner, there may have been time for the resolution to undergo a committee review and get a full vote.
The Machine includes students from Greek houses that secretly endorse student government candidates. The shadow group was the reason sororities still shunned black women last year, according to the Crimson White.
Earlier this month, following student government elections, student activists criticized the newly elected members as handpicked by the Machine.
So, we basically got a bunch of racist thugs who want to ensure their fraternities and sororities remain lily white and are willing to stack the student government to ensure their little cliques remain that way. George Wallace and his band of segregationists would be proud…
I really want to be outraged about this. In a sense, I’m disappointed, but not too surprised. When I was in college, many of my peers were, quite frankly, apathetic when it came to race relations and confronting issues of social justice head-on. We are all caught up in that idealistic phase in which we “didn’t care about race” and we convinced ourselves that we were actually more progressive and forward thinking than we really were. We encased ourselves into a bubble of denial, a bubble that separated ourselves from the racial tensions that were always bubbling just beneath the surface.
And these University of Alabama students are no different. Rather than challenging conventional thought, these white students are more concerned about maintaining their white supremacist logic that refusing to admit black students is okay to do because it’s “tradition.” Besides, those blacks have their own fraternities and sororities. Why can’t they just stick with our their kind and join one of those groups, right?
I think it’s also safe to assume that members of this Machine are essentially a new breed of collegiate White Citizens Councils that use coercion to strong arm colleges and universities to doing what they desire, which in this case would be to prevent perpetual miscegenation in white Greek fraternity/sorority organizations. Anyone with a brain can see through this passive-aggressive approach to implement a blatant Blacks Need Not Apply policy when it comes to Greek like at the University of Alabama. These people have no desire to shed their racist roots and consider allowing black folks to mix and mingle at their keg parties, balls that pay homage to the Old South (which I’m sure these folks will just relegate their black pledges to play slaves and servants at these events that glorify the Antebellum period) and various hazing rituals.
But I guess it’s their way of taking part in the belief that the South will rise again.