In February during Black History a White sorority crossed over into what has been historically black fraternities and sororities territory in winning a Black Step competition in Atlanta, Georgia. The young women of Zeta Tau Alpha, a predominantly White sorority of well heeled steppers from the University of Arkansas beat out five other teams in the final round to win the national Sprite Step-Off competition and the $100,000 prize.
Unfortunately for the young women of Zeta Tau Alpha that started the competition with eighty teams from fraternities and sororities at forty universities their coveted first place win was not the rest of the story. It seems that while blacks have for decades been shattering barriers in baseball, basketball, golf and finally the presidency of the United States, during Black History month, being a winning white team was somehow stepping over the color line. A few days after the stunning February 20th performance the white sisters in step from Arkansas were not allowed to win fairly with their talent and their character on the dance floor even if the results were originally fairly tabulated.
It seems that there was a deluge of race oriented complaints that followed after the contest. According to press reports many citizens of color who were there, as well as countless online complaints from disappointed blacks rained down upon Sprite like an unrelenting stream.
So Sprite had to find a way to maneuver itself into a win-win scenario that if this same treatment had been afforded to black performers in a nearly all white venue, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Rev, Al Sharpton and a host of other black leaders would have descended upon Sprite’s corporate headquarters in a New York minute calling for nation wide boycotts.
One can probably guess what happened next. Five days later Sprite found an error and wonders of wonders, the numbers were recounted and the competition was called a tie! So during Black History month a fine wonderfully entertaining African American college Greek tradition was sent to the back of the bus.
So now after Rosa Parks stood up for civil rights and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. marched for equal rights, and Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Sprite seemed to refuse to ignore color and awarded a tie to both Zeta Tau Alpha and Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Tau chapter which is a black sorority. Both teams received $100,000. A haunting price to pay for racial inequality.
Here is a question for America to answer. Are traditions only meant to be broken by Black Americans as long as they are the other race’s traditions?
It is fair to surmise that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would not agree, nor should America, white or black.
Do you agree or disagree. Let me know what you think by commenting at: http://tinyurl.com/y9jzo3p