I Prefer ‘Fraternity’

I identify as a gay, Asian, Asian-American Fraternity Member who use the pronouns he, him, his.

I am part of a predominately straight, white Southern Fraternity.

I prefer the term “fraternity” versus “frat” because of the negative contexts that has been built and associated with the term “frat”. For me, “frat” is a slur. I use slur as defined by Merriam Webster: “an insulting or disparaging remark or innuendo; a shaming or degrading effect” . “Frat” has that effect for me.

I acknowledge there are systems of oppression within the Greek Community on multiple levels and in many contexts.

I acknowledge there is work to be done and that we all, as fraternity and sorority advisors and all Student Affairs Professionals must engage in.

I actively work with my undergraduate Brothers in this work and address it within our fraternity.

I am a complex individual.

I am hurt and saddened by the lack of sensitivity when individuals inform colleagues that they do not wish to have a term used due to its negative context and it is ignored.

I am hurt and saddened that identifying as a Fraternity Member seems to lessen my opinions and perspectives as a gay, Asian, Asian-American Fraternity Member in how to address these issues in the community.

I am hurt and saddened that if an individual identifies with a specific term when relating to Fraternities and Sororities it is dismissed.

Just because Fraternity of Sorority Member identity is not a racial, sexual orientation, gender, etc identity, it is none the less an identity.

The Facebook post that initiated this unpacking post for me had merit and great potential for context, discussion and development. Unfortunately it was lost when individuals chose to dismiss the way I and many others prefer to be referred to as a community. I acknowledge even in that it is oppressive and not gender neutral. However, when my preferred term and identity is dismissed my walls go up and I don’t want to have further conversations. We respect and are open to the way individuals chose to racially identify, sexually identify, etc. Why is it any different than when we speak of any other identity? Fraternity and Sorority Members (I feel safe to say) all know the cultures of our identities have problems and that there is work to be done. But the key is to focus on the work and where we need to go and respect the way we each choose to identify in regards to, in this case, Fraternity and Sorority Life.

I’m still processing and unpacking some of the great context and discussion that was sprinkled about the post. And as you know I process best when I write it out so thank you for reading through my processing.

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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