In the court of public opinion one seems to always be guilty until proven innocent. Facts go unchecked. Speculation and rumors run amuck. Stereotypes are formed and then branded onto the foreheads of many.
This branding leaves them victims of what other people think. I was asked to write an article about the misconceptions of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the various stereotypes that are associated with my dear fraternity.
To put it plainly, we are no one’s victims and most certainly are not the defendants.
After my first glance at the topic I felt like this was a waste of time; but, upon further rumination I decided that I shall give it a go.
Stereotypes are dependent on two things. The first being the person forming the opinion and the second being what relationship or experience he/she has with the subject they are forming these opinions about.
Alpha Phi Alpha’s membership is well-balanced because no two members are alike. We are a diverse and versatile group of gentlemen bound together by the objectives of our fraternity.
A stereotype is “a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group.”
My attention focused on these words: “invested with special meaning.”
That line leads to a question. Special meaning to who, I asked.
Maybe it had a special meaning to the countless young boys that my chapter coached in flag football and fostered healthy interracial friendships, which are uncommon among children of a certain age.
Or maybe with special meaning to the various domestically abused women that my fraternity has provided charitable donations and service?
If asked, what would they have to say about the Delta Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha or the fraternity as a whole?
As a member I couldn’t care less about what other people thought about my fraternity.
The good the bad or the ugly.
Some say we are all brilliant and to that I have no argument. Others may say that we are just an organized gang. To that, I say well at least we are organized.
But to the myriad of individuals who actually know us through our manly deeds, scholarship and love for all mankind, they just say “Thank you.” To that I say, “You are welcome.