MESSAGE: FRATERNITIES ARE NOT GANGS!
I think it’s safe to say that Soulja Boy has been ruling social media in 2017 so far. From the constant rap beef to the #SouljaBoyChallenge, he’s been all over the web. Tuesday evening social media lit up with memes, tweets, and videos about Soulja Boy’s latest headline. The rap mogul had a run-in with a local gang member while on Instagram Live that turned into people creating parodies of the situation. The most disturbing comment I saw came from someone on Twitter which inspired this article. The tweet can be viewed below:
Niggas that are in Black Greek organizations clowning rappers for paying to be in gangs… pic.twitter.com/L8qB6hUbkv
— DRECO (@Y2Dre) January 4, 2017
The first thought after reading this tweet was to go on a Twitter rant and directly address the person without taking a step back and analyzing the situation. I am a member of a Black Greek Letter Organization that pledged for the right reasons so I can speak for this culture. However, I am not a member of a gang and only know about the culture through second-hand resources which are invalid. Can we be upset about this comment if the individual is uneducated?
I will admit that there are people in fraternities that give not only their organization and chapter a bad reputation but also show disrespect to their founders by tarnishing the brand. There are a few individuals whose careless actions is the reason we are being compared to gangs daily and they refuse to correct it. I’ll give you the similarities and differences from my position as a member of a fraternity.
Gangs and fraternities both speak on the lifetime bonds that their members will inherit once they join. Each member will always have a support system as long as they don’t do anything to jeopardize the bond in place.
Fraternities and gangs operate with an immense amount of pride which can be a double edge sword. Pride in your group can bring loyalty and dedication to the things you want to accomplish. Pride is also the reason you find yourself in altercations involving disrespect and invasion of territory (breaking of lines, etc). Pride can also stem from some of the physical ways you have to prove yourself to become a member which has been historically documented for both parties. Even with that, the methods are different. Pride is simply an issue in the black community period.
Somethings are universal to represent both entities across the globe such as colors, official name, chants, and hand signs. In gangs, the sections can be divided to as small as streets or neighborhoods. In fraternities, the chapters can be based on cities or a school. The difference there is fraternities are founded on attending college which will lead to further success.
First and foremost, the requirements of joining are not the same at all. In most cases, some people don’t even have much of a choice to join a gang. You choose to be in a fraternity and can only join based on specific criteria. I have never in my 25 years of living heard of a gang that requires you to have a decent G.P.A. to bang the set or even be enrolled in college. Most fraternities require a background check to view your record and have the right to deny you membership based on any criminal activity. I’m also sure that you do not need to be a registered voter to join a gang. If these were requirements, I’m pretty sure the number of gang members would be significantly lower.
There’s a major gap in the success rate of black men in fraternities vs. gangs. We’ve lost so many of our young kings to drugs and violence instead of the education system. I’m pretty sure every mother would rather have her child receive a higher education degree instead of a 1st-degree charge in the court of law. Going to college and joining a fraternity will not solve all of our problems but the success rate of living and making money legally is higher based on statistics.
The origins of both cultures came from racial oppression and segregation towards the black community. Still to this day, I’ve seen rival gang members come together for racial issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement. You can’t take that from them. However, our motives, beliefs, and influence in the community are completely different which will outweigh any comparison. Drugs and violence are not pillars of the fraternity culture. We do not aim to make money off of things that tear our community down. Our purpose for existing is to uplift the community through our programming and advance the culture in a positive light. We aim to legally develop the skill sets of our member personally and professionally to keep them away from reverting to the streets. We provide academic support, accountability, and networking opportunities to our black brothers instead of guns. The two entities should stay separated so that we can continue to do our part in representing positivity in the black community. As stated earlier, there are exceptions on both sides of the spectrum that represent their groups in a positive and negative light. Since I can only speak from my point of view, I would love to hear some feedback from someone with insight to the gang culture. Let’s keep this dialogue open.
Stay True. Stay Real. Stay Black. – Trenton | Instagram/Twitter: @TrentonxPratt
Trenton Pratt22 Posts
Trenton Pratt is an experienced media personality hailing from St. Louis, MO. His journey as a media personality started back in 2012 with the development of a weekly YouTube entertainment series titled "The Vision." The YouTube series garnered over 70k views in only one year. Trenton's natural connection with the viewers led to him becoming a staple host at several live events around his hometown while he took a step away from the YouTube scene. Finally, Trenton's gravitating personality and infectious smile will be stepping back in front of the camera and behind the keyboard. He's still the same person... Just A Better Brand!