Gosh, I hope not. But, to be honest, I can’t tell you it isn’t a factor. I can’t in full faith tell you that any of your multiple social identities don’t come into play during those “into the wee hours” membership selection meetings. I want to tell you an emphatic ‘NO!’ However, I can’t BUT I can give you a strong ‘I HOPE’ and I can tell you that I’m an African-American member of Delta Delta Delta and that I know many other women of color who are members of National Panhellenic Conference sororities/fraternities. I can tell you that there are women of color on our campus who are members of the Panhellenic Association and I can tell you that there are past and present executive board members of the Panhellenic Council who are women of color. Our chapters have anti-discrimination policies and racist, sexist, homophobic, and religiously intolerant language was scratched from our inter/national organizations bylaws and constitutions a few decades ago. I will tell you that I’ve met inter/national headquarters staff who are all about adding all facets of diversity (race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, social class, and ability etc.) to its collegiate chapters. I can tell you that I believe to maintain our relevance as fraternal organizations we must be open and willing to embrace and appreciate the ample amount of diversity that is appearing on our college campuses across the country. I will tell you that we stress to chapters to keep an open mind about potential new members the same as we educate you to keep an open mind about the chapters. I will tell you that I’m uber impressed that a sorority community in the south has this many women of color in its ranks and that more women of color than I could have ever expected are interested in the Panhellenic sorority experience. This is probably all that I can tell you with assurance. Well, actually I can also tell you that I’m here for you should you need support. My racial identity development kept me from becoming a Panhellenic woman during my undergraduate years and I don’t want another woman to miss out on this experience for that same reason. I know that we’ve come REALLY far in this area but the enthusiastic realist in me knows that on some campuses we still have a LONG WAY to go. I am happy to say that I work with a Panhellenic community that is on the former side of this continuum.
Finally, I can tell you that in the art of making friends or, in this case, sisters one should never use color.
“Let us found a society that shall be kind alike to all and think more of a girl’s inner self and character than of her personal appearance.”
– Sarah Ida Shaw, Founder of Delta Delta Delta Fraternity