Step, Distraction or Tradition?
Some critics have said step is a habit that takes away from the scholarship, leadership, and service that the Black Letter Organizations were created to promote. They blame the slant that the media has chosen to portray African American Sororities and Fraternities. The author of the article “Shattering the Misconceptions of the Divine Nine” Rasheed Ali Cromwel is one such voice that argues these images are tainting the image of black organizations. He blames popular movies that show partying and step to be the majority or only focus of the depicted organizations to be taken by the public as reality.
Although I think that some may have that perception of the organizations, I do not find that should be the biggest concern for the members of the Divine Nine. Reputations are built within the community through bonds and service. Instead of worrying about how those who know little to nothing about our organizations the concern should instead be about bettering the society around us. Our founders did not form these unions to get recognition, but instead to fix a void that no one else was willing to change. If we act dutifully then eventually perceptions will evolve. Until then the only opinions that matter are the ones we have of ourselves and those who came before us.
Step is a tradition that should not be expelled due to the ignorance of others. Black Letter Organizations are always going to face prejudices. My founders withstood the legitimate fear of violence or even death when they formed Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. at Butler University on November 12, 1922 down the street from the leader of the KKK. To those 7 women their well being was less important than serving their community educationally, civically, and economically. To now change our traditions because of mere criticism is cowardly. I believe our founders would want us to be true to ourselves. If we know beyond a doubt that our first priorities is aligned with the mission statement of our organizations than we should be allowed to participate in the tribute and self expression of step.