Black History Post Obama…

Hello World!!!

You know I had to do it before the month was over…The obligatory Black History Month write-up…but since even Black History Month has become commercialized courtesy of corporations like McDonald’s (in actuality, I would rather it be commercialized than ignored…), I thought it would be apropos to turn over the Black History Month prism, if you will, and examine it from a different angle…

Let’s the start the conversation with this startling news that I ran across last week – The Epsilon Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpa, a white sorority, beat out members of the Divine Nine Black fraternities and sororities in the Sprite Step Off in Atlanta last weekend! The steppers won a whopping $100,000 prize…gotta love corporate sponsorship…since then, a scoring discrepancy has been revealed which may make the team co-winners with a chapter of the AKAs…(READ: Deltas are still the best…yeah, I said it…)

So what do y’all think about a white sorority even being allowed to step in a step show competition? Stepping is rooted in the illustrious history of the Divine 9 black fraternities and sororities which were formed because blacks were not allowed in white fraternities and sororities at colleges and universities throughout the nation…And although white fraternities and sororities seem to be organized for netorking and socialization purposes, black fraternities and sororities have had the added challenge of responding to the societal ills of racism, classism and poverty that disproportionately affected black people…Now since these black organizations were formed in the early part of the 20th century, much of this has changed…our first black president is evidence of this change (hope, change, yes, we can…you know the routine…just being funny.) But does this mean that white fraternities and sororities should be stepping in step show competitions? Apparently, the Epsilon chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha began stepping in the first place to take part in the University of Arkansas Unity Step Show 16 years ago…If Obama is president, maybe white girls can win a step show competition…

Some other news that piqued my interest…Rev. Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley were beefing last week in a way that sorta reminded me of the Booker T. Washington and the W.E.B. DuBois debate…(Shout out to Dr. Gloria Alibaruho who taught me about this debate in high school…) now, don’t get me wrong…The good Reverend and Mr. Smiley don’t compare to these black history giants…But apparently Smiley believes that President Obama is shortchanging black people by not focusing on our issues…And Rev. Sharpton believes that President Obama is everybody’s president and cannot focus on any one group to the exclusion of the other…There is a interesting commentary about the spat here….maybe in a post Obama world, black leaders don’t have to like each other and can nicely cuss each other out for the world to hear…

And while we’re on President Obama and Rev. Al Sharpton, I heard on Sharpton’s show last week that the president has signed an executive order to increase funding at historically black colleges…What if white students began flooding historically black colleges? I attended a historically white institution myself so I have no opinion really…(Actually I love my HWCU – Goooo dawgs!!!) I wonder whatever happened to Joshua Packwood, the first white valedictorian of Morehouse College in 2008…Actually, a quick Google search revealed that he is an analyst at Goldman Sachs…pretty darn good I must say… and cute to boot…(my young readers may want to get up on that!) In a post Obama world, maybe HBCUs can have white valedictorians? what y’all think?

Any thoughts?

To honor Black History Month, I will offer a memorable quote from someone in black history on each post I write this month…

“Everybody’s looking at you, thinking, ‘OK, they say you are the man. What have you got?” Kwatsi Alibaruho, NASA’s first black flight director and the son of my favorite high school teacher Dr. Alibaruho…You did that Dr. A! Congratulations!!!

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~ by jackieholness on February 28, 2010.

14 Responses to “Black History Post Obama…”

  1. Great post .. leaves me with more questions than answers. Heard about the step show and must question why were they interested in competing. Just as I question why people of other persuasions have an interest in joining Black Greek letter organizations. Just curious. Listened to the Tavis and Al Sharpton commentary – not sure where I stand on this. Is the president not everyone’s president? I never heard him say during his campaign that if he won, he would focus (exclusively) on Black pp. Yes, some things have changed – but what things do we wish remain the same, i.e. only Black Greeks stepping at traditionally Black step shows???

  2. @Bloggess, although I’m a fan of Tavis, I’m inclined to agree with Rev. Al on this issue…It almost seems as Tavis is just being a hater…I know that sounds elementary, but it seems that way…

  3. Its tough – I have a great deal of respect for them both. Also makes me question who said that every Black leader must agree on every issue – or even the most important ones???
    AND – after reading your blog I went online to view some of the other contestants from the step show. Gotta hand it to them – the AKAs held it down!!! Yet another question: did ZTA win because they were (perceived as) the best or because …

  4. I need to check the Ks performance and get back to you…I’ll be the judge of that 🙂

  5. After watching the Ks performance, I am inclined to believe that maybe folks were stunned that the ZTA girls were even steppin’ and good…grudgingly I say this – maybe the Ks were better…

  6. LOL!!!! I agree :-).

  7. I don’t have much to say. I got no problem with white women competing in a step show (based off of African Dance Traditions). Let us not forget… the Fraternities & Sororities are of the GREEK tradition.
    I side with Al Sharpton on this debate (even I’m shocked). Although I sorta wish they weren’t beefing in front of the media. But it’s all good. We need this discourse public, so we can weigh in, and let it be know we don’t have one leader of Black America.
    And you are hilarious, giving TWO shout outs to Dr. Alibaruho.

  8. I know, right…giving two shout outs to Doc…remember Sadie Mae :)?

  9. I don’t believe that white sororities and fraternities should be stepping. They don’t have a relationship to the African origins of stepping.

  10. I’m giving a shout out to Doc!!! She gave me the foundation and inspiration I needed to learn about our history!! Do you remember the pot of ginger root tea that she always had boiling? She cured my colds many a day!! lol I’m glad to see that Kwatsi is doing big things, remember how we used to get Kwatsi stories almost everyday?!!
    White sororities should not be stepping!!! From my understanding, the Ks taught them how to step, so I blame them!! Although we are greek-lettered organizations, many of our traditions and principles are different from white greek organizations. But the whole show was a mess, there were so many discrepancies and none of the judges in the final round were greek, sooo…
    I side with Rev. Al also, it seems that since President Obama began campaigning that Tavis has had a problem with him. I sense a little hate…and I despise calling people haters! But in this instance, yeah Tavis is hating!!

  11. Hey Sylvia, glad to see you stopped by!

    Girl, I do remember that ginger root tea, but I never had any…I may have to look that up! And yes, every day, she was like, “Kwatsi this, Kwatsi that.” Guess, she knew he was headed for big things!

    Wow, no Greek judges in the final round…that doesn’t make sense…

    And I side with Rev. Al too:)

  12. Hello Jackie,
    I was doing a google search for Dr. Gloria Alibaruho and came across your blogg. What are the chances, the Dr. Alibaruho you reference as your high school teacher is the same Dr. Alibaruho I was searching for? As it turns out, it is definitely the same person. I wanted to get a message to Dr. Alibaruho and just let her know she has always been in my heart. She was my African American Studies professor at San Jose State back in the 70’s. I remember her speaking fondly of her little boy Kwatsi. No surprise that she would raise a son destined for greatness…Wow! Coming from a high school where I was one of 3 black girls in the senior class, being in her class opened the door to a whole new world for me. I’m forever grateful to this amazing teacher. She has truly touched a lot of lives.

    As for the step show…I agree with you on one point that sure, white girls can win a predominately Black step show. On the other hand, I’m sorry my sistah, I disagree with you about who is THE BEST…that’s definitely AKA’s…often imitated but NEVER duplicated!

    • Hi Terri,

      I have love for AKAs too, but my heart belongs to Delta :)…And we both have love for Doctor A for sure….thanks for stopping by my blog…Also, join me at my new site afterthealtarcall.com

  13. Wow!! I had Doc in 11th grade at Banneker H.S. 1994. I remember Sadie Mae like it was yesterday! I felt her sting many times. I also had my first taste of cod liver oil in her class to. Some things you will never forget.

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