Black Sororities and Fraternities Fume Over White Winners of Step Competition

Dance is supposed to be about personal expression. You know, taking your passion and fueling it into movement or motion that inspires and entertains. But according to some critics, it’s also about culture and the color of your skin.

On February 20th, the women of the University of Arkansas’ Zeta Tau Alpha sorority (who are white) competed in the Sprite Step Off Competition against members of the Divine Nine (the nine predominant black fraternities and sororities that dominate the Greek fraternal order). Their moves were flawless, their costumes were fierce, yet when they won, both the audience AND the Divine Nine booed and cried reverse racism.

Step, a urban mix of pops, locks, and sharp synchronized steps was first introduced in the 1960’s, and draws its inspiration from black tribal dancing. Critics have stated that a white sorority should never have been allowed to participate to begin with, and that it’s just one more black cultural trend white people feel the need to steal.

Following the win, Coke (who was the official sponsor of the event) and awarded Zeta Tau Alpha a $100,000 in scholarship money. A few days later following the outcry, they backpeddled and claimed there was a “scoring discrepency” and stated that the sorority would share first place with another black sorority.

Critics weren’t really satisfied, the girls of Zeta Tau Alpha are trying to be P.C. about it, and the only thing this controversy has managed to accomplish is an open debate on whether or not it’s ok to embrace certain cultural traditions that don’t belong to you. Everything from the posters for the event, to the majority of the contestants who particpated seem to indicate this was supposed to be a “black thing.” But in labeling it as such, it kinda smacks of segregation.

Seperate but equal goes against everything many alumni of the Divine Nine (like Martin Luther King Jr.) fought and gave up their lives for. Why should skin color factor into talent and skills? We’ve worked hard to ensure that colleges and the corporate world doesn’t discriminate – why should one dance competition be the exception to the rule?

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