Author: Wendy Marie Laybourn
Category: Social Science
Starting in the early twentieth century and still thriving in the contemporary era, Black Greek-letter organizations (BGLOs) provide social support, networking opportunities, and service for the Black community. Although BGLOs have always been majority-Black organizations, there are small numbers of non-Black individuals who choose to pledge their membership. Diversity in Black Greek-Letter Organizations: Breaking the Line explores the experiences of these non-Black members who have immersed themselves in organizations rich with Black history and culture. Through in-depth interviews with thirty-four such members, Wendy Marie Laybourn and Devon R. Goss reveal how and why these individuals come to identify with organizations designed for the uplift of races other than their own. For non-Black BGLO members, the association with a Black organization provides them the opportunity to consider the meaning of racial inequality and their own racial identities. Although many non-Black BGLO members recount challenges to their membership, the participants in Diversity in Black Greek-Letter Organizations ultimately find a sense of belonging with their Black brothers and sisters, which Laybourn and Goss argue can provide an example of the challenges and promises of cross-racial interactions as a whole.