WE ARE WE GOING
I had an interesting convo this afternoon about the "state" of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. The conversation revolved around exactly how long it will be before Iota Phi Theta Fraternity disappears as an actual fraternity. The fraternity will disappear and reappear as the International Organization of Iota Sweethearts and Brothers.
Why "IT TAKES A MAN" is still important
We were black men searching for recognition and the desired place in a society that excluded us simply because of the color of our skins. We were boys, always boys and never men at a time when our very manhood was questioned by society as a whole. Our fathers, our father's father, and even our father's father's father were deemed boys for the entire span of their lives in this country, the home of supposed democracy and freedom. No matter our educational attributes, our physical attributes, or eevn our limited economic attributes we were in an eternal state of being boys, not men. That's why it was so damn important that we strove to be men. We wanted to be men at least in the company of our peers.
The evolution of Iota Phi Theta somehow lost the foundation as well as the pillars of its founding because we decided to run away from the central theme of our founding. Black men searching for society's recognition of our blackness and manliness. You see the 60's and 70's happened when the color line wasn't an overt signature that defined us. Color, was still there as was the perceived threat black man posed to this society. The psychological plan to handle black men just became more invisible, more complex, more ambiguous, harder to discern. We even fell for the cloak of equality. So our organization felt that it no longer had to build up the image of the black man. When it was important to protect ourselves against the elements that we deemed injurious. We kept a vigil against those forces because nothing was more important than protecting our black manhood. Once the vigil against these elements supposedly ended we closed our eyes and lost sight of the pillars on which we were founded. It became easy for the organization to allow our sisters to take more, and more responsibility for the running of our fraternity. So much more control that they became an important cog in the operation of the organization. We simply couldn't perform the task of building Iota Phi Theta Fraternity without them.
Now, we are at the crossroads of whether Iota Phi Theta Fraternity will continue to be men's only organization defined to build black men. Or will Iota Phi Theta Fraternity become the very first co-educational organization? We have slipped down this slope to this position because when it may have been more difficult to go a different direction we chose the route of lesser aggravation, the route that wasn't rebellious but the route of acceptance. Now, how do we regain what we should never have lost? Yes, we brothers, we have lost our organization because anytime you have more registered sweethearts coming to your national meeting when your sweethearts have more financial resources than you have, when they are engaged more in your community activities, and when brothers aren't in any position threatened or oppose them. Well, it's gone, brothers. Now, we must ask whether we want our fraternity back? Do we still believe that "It Takes A Man" or are we more "Not Resting On Traditions, But Building Them"?
The choice for a directional change in the future fortunes of the fraternity has never been clearer. We can choose a candidate whose vested interest are not only maintaining the Sweethearts but in growing them. Or we can choose to select a candidate who has decided that above anything else IT TAKES A MAN. This isn't an indictment on the ladies who support the fraternity. It is indeed an indictment on anyone who what's nothing less than the return to the basic pillars of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.
We have a candidate running for IGP whose life partner is the President of ISS. So many brothers have given lip service to the concept of what brotherhood means to them personally. The organization I joined some 43 years has evolved into something that I can hardly recognize. We, yes, we, all of the members of this fraternity have allowed this organization to be usurped by elements of change that have shaken the very foundations and pillars that we were founded on in 1963.
"Sorry for the long post" but I truly do love Iota Phi Theta, I hear you, my brothers.