Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Five: Paddle, meet thy doom??

  *As written from a previous editorial on this subject…*

“How did our beloved orgs get to this point when folk have to nearly sacrifice their well-beings to become a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’? When exactly did some of these membership orientation practices become standard operating procedure? Who do we blame for this trickling down of tradition? Our founders? Surely, I don’t think any of the founding fathers and mothers of these orgs never envisioned people getting beat to near-submission levels and their mental well-beings destroyed to share their principles, especially knowing the struggles black people had to go to just to get to those levels of higher learning in their day and age. But ask around for an explanation, and you’ll probably get the same answer: “This is how I was taught, and this is what I went through to get mine, so this is what the next line will have to do to get theirs.” The only problem is, now, so many people are jumping in head first, trying to prove themselves so hard, that they forget exactly why they are joining the org in the first place. This has become the dangerous cycle encompassed by the “wood”; for if indeed pain leads to glory, does no pain mean that member shouldn’t have any glory at all?”

Now, I had written this sometime last year, when I took a real look back at Greek life. It almost pained me to see what people outside these orgs viewed us folk who are members of fraternities and sororities as a bunch of club-hopping, shirt wearing, ass-kicking, non-stop org calling people who “paid” to have friends. And while this certainly couldn’t be any further from the truth, recent stories have made their way to the headlines that certainly haven’t helped that cause out.

Once again, a few people who have decided that ‘going hard’ means more to them than the value of human life. To avoid throwing people’s orgs out there, I’ll keep their identity anonymous, but this stuff HAS to go. Recently, a bandsman in a university band was hospitalized and seriously hurt after they decided to “pledge” his section. Apparently, his upperclassmen though that bringing him into the section meant he had to get hit not just with fists, but boards and other things. In another band, a student was nearly killed when thy tried to pledge their section and the entire band was suspended for awhile.

OK, people. What the hell? Is it honestly, that serious that someone must damn near DIE to earn a few stripes. The bad thing is, this was for a SECTION in a band…let me repeat that: a SECTION (instrument group for the slow ones) in a band, not even a three-lettered org.

The things people will do for acceptance these days.

Now, since when was pledging even necessary to join a band? I was under the assumption that once you made it though band camp, you were fine. Apparently, I was way off on this. And before any real organization-relate people comment to me saying something like, “Well that’s some sectional mess. What does that have to do with real orgs?”

I’ll tell you. It has EVERYTHING to do with it. These sections just don’t make this stuff up out of thin air. More than likely, their individual ritual process was divulged by someone in that section who pledged a regular Greek org, and decided to pass a version of that down to be tailored to their own realm. And what’s worse, this stuff has been making its way to high school bands as well.

Seriously, people. When will the paddle meet thy doom? I know people have to prove themselves to become members of any org, but there are more efficient methods to implement this rather than beating people to bloody pulps for some sordid, almost sadistic amusement. I mean, when you come down to it, it’s not worth the risks if you’re caught: having to be arrested, humiliated, more than likely expelled, and possibly incarcerated. There are some folks that are sitting in prison right now for this type of thing, their bright futures now ruined over wanting to break someone down.

But I don’t place the blame entirely on the people administering the beatings. After all, everyone at some point in time is responsible for their own well-being. So, for all these people are now have become victims, I do have to ask why they stayed to the point where they were beaten to these states. I’m positive that all of this didn’t happen on the first nights of their respective processes, so suffice it to say, they seen it coming and should’ve gotten out of Dodge.

All the beatings in the world maybe can get you letters, but can they get you true respect? Until that question gets universally answered as “No”, the paddle will reign supreme. I just wonder how many more people will lie in a hospital or die before that answer comes.

11/18/2009

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One Response to “Episode Five: Paddle, meet thy doom??”

  1. i think a major reason that it has gotten this bad is because, these actions have been brushed under tha carpet for decades. the actions have been building and getting more extreme, while not being checked by the advisors, and administrators that know of the actions. An today it has gotten so extreme that it can’t be fixed with a band aid. people are DYING!! earning your place is one thing, but earning your tombstone is a totally different thing.


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