Now that student paper the Crimson White has revealed University of Alabama sororities to be anti-black hovels of puffy paint and pastel Polo shirts, and the school is facing a barrage of terrible publicity, administrators have finally decided that it's time to act on this racism.
Time reports that university administrators have announced a deal within the school's sorority system that would allow houses to offer bids to women who were not admitted during normal recruitment, which had previously been against the rules. This will presumably allow the sororities to retroactively accept the two black women noted as being unfairly rejected in the Crimson White's article. The new rules also expanded the size limit of sororities to 360 members, offering more people a chance to win acceptance to a house.
This is nice, of course—and good for those two black girls who will probably get in—but if you're asking how this helps defeat racism in any material way, you're not alone. If the underlying problem is that these sororities are being manipulated by racist alumnae who promise to pull financial support if black girls are admitted, or who vote to block black girls entirely, as the Crimson White's story alleged, who cares how big a sorority's enrollment can be?
The Associated Press interviewed some Alabama professors who called the new sorority deal "token," noting that numerous other racial and political problems exist at the school:
Language and classics teacher Sierra R. Turner, a black woman, said opening up the recruitment process was "rather token" since it wasn't accompanied by any way to measure progress.
"It's not good enough," she said.
Other teachers questioned why action wasn't being taken to integrate men's organizations, and some called for an investigation of a Greek-controlled organization called "The Machine" that influences campus politics.
Solving incidents of racism on a small scale is like chasing a bug under a rock: You end up lifting the rock only to find a heaving, disgusting pile of more worms.
Faculty Senate President Steve Miller organized a march for professors and students today (pictured above) in order to call for more substantive change. "We're going to be there awhile," he told the AP.
[Image via AP]