Frats or Gangs? Are There Similarities Between Greeks and Gangs?

Enjoy this Article From The Black Collegian and Black College Wire.Org

Are There Similarities Between Greeks and Gangs?

Across the country, young black men gather wearing matching colors, throwing up signs with their hands, and using unique calls recognizable and exclusive only to their circles.

Florida Department of Corrections

The Crips handsign

Most would assume that this group is a gang. However, stepping onto a college campus would confuse anybody trying to identify these groups, because Greek-letter organizations share very similar customs.

The World Book Encyclopedia describes gangs as a group of people who associate with one another for social or criminal reasons.

Elijah Bowdre, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. from Long Beach, Calif., said he has grown up around gangs and can see how some people would make the mistake of comparing them to a Greek-letter organization.

“I always grew up with gangs around me,” said Bowdre, 21, a senior finance student at Florida A&M University. “When I first came on campus I saw (a fraternity) with red jackets, and I thought they were Bloods.”

Bowdre admits to seeing similarities in the physical setup of the two groups, but he recognizes important differences in the purpose of each group.

“A gang’s purpose is to destroy other gangs and make money through crimes,” Bowdre said. “A Greek letter organization’s purpose is not committing crimes; the purpose is well documented, to serve the community.”

Camron Hawkins, 18, who said he is a member of the Crips gang, does not agree.

“There are people who haven’t been in a gang who commit worse crimes than us,” said Hawkins, a Tallahassee, Fla., native. “Its not always about violence, it’s about money.”

Hawkins considers gangs and fraternities to be one and the same, and even considers a family to be a gang.

Ironically, a lack of family structure is what draws many to join gangs in the first place.

Robert Corley, a North Carolina Crip for 14 years, has left his former lifestyle to become a church laborer in Tallahassee.

“We get with our own kind of people to form gangs because we come from a broken family,” Corley said. “We find people that we can relate to, and we unify ourselves to become an army.”

According to sociologist Daniel J. Monti, quoted in the book “Gangs” by Gail B. Stewart, the family structure provided by gangs helps to build young people the same way families, churches, schools and neighbors do.

However, Bowdre said he does not believe that sociologists can give expert opinions about things they have never experienced.

“While sociologists are at home reading their books, gang members are in the streets,” Bowdre said. “They probably don’t fully understand gang culture. You can’t only go off of an assumption.”

Although gangs provide a family structure, many question whether gangs are worth the destruction that they cause the wider community. That question is not frequently asked of Greek letter organizations.

“You can’t put us on the same scale,” Bowdre said. “The net sum of productivity of gangs and fraternities are completely different.”

Elizabeth Hollifield, a psychology professor at FAMU, agrees.

“I don’t think gangs and fraternities can be compared, because gangs have a very negative connotation and fraternities don’t,” Hollifield said. “It’s like comparing apples and oranges. They are both fruits, but they have very different tastes.”

List of Historically Black Colleges! Get the Black College 411!

Get the Black College 411! Know what’s happening in the Black College World! This list is composed by HBCU Network.Com! Comprehensive List of Black Colleges! Hot Links for HBCU’s Online!

HBCU Network.Com

Black College Wire.Org

HBCU Connect.Com

The Black Collegian Online

Alabama A&M University | Alabama State University | Albany State University | Alcorn State University | Allen University | Arkansas Baptist College | Barber-Scotia College | Benedict College | Bennett College | Bethune-Cookman College | Bishop State Community College | Bluefield State College | Bowie State University | Central State University | Cheyney University of Pennsylvania | Claflin University | Clark Atlanta University | Clinton Junior College | Coahoma Community College | Concordia College | Coppin State University | Delaware State University | Denmark Technical College | Dillard University | Edward Waters College | Elizabeth City State University | Fayetteville State University | Fisk University | Florida A&M University | Florida Memorial University Fort Valley State University | Fredd State Technical College | Grambling State University | Hampton University | Harris-Stowe State University | Hinds Community College | Howard University | Huston-Tillotson University | Interdenominational Theological Center | J.F. Drake State Technical College | Jackson State University | Jarvis Christian College | Johnson C. Smith University | Kentucky State University | Knoxville College | Lane College | Langston University | Lawson State Community College | LeMoyne-Owen College | Lewis College of Business | Lincoln University, MO | Lincoln University(Pennsylvania) | Livingstone College | Mary Holmes College | Meharry Medical College | Miles College | Mississippi Valley State University | Morehouse College | Morehouse School of Medicine | Morgan State University | Morris Brown College | Morris College | Norfolk State University | North Carolina A&T University | North Carolina Central University | Oakwood College Paine College | Paul Quinn College | Philander Smith College | Prairie View A&M University | Rust College | Savannah State University Selma University | Shaw University | Shorter College | South Carolina State University | Southern University A&M College | Southern University at New Orleans | Southern University at Shreveport | Southwestern Christian College | Spelman College | St. Augustine’s College | St. Paul’s College | St. Philip’s College | Stillman College | Talladega College | Tennessee State University | Texas College | Texas Southern University | Tougaloo College | Trenholm State Technical College | Tuskegee University | University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff | University of Maryland Eastern Shore | University of the District of Columbia | University of the Virgin Islands | Virginia State University | Virginia Union University | Voorhees College | West Virginia State University | Wilberforce University | Wiley College | Winston-Salem State University | Xavier University of Louisiana |

HBCUs on wikipedia