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To the Brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon,

My name is Ja’han Jones and I serve as the President of the African American Men of Arizona State University. Admittedly, I write this letter with regret, for surely, a man hopes to come in contact with another man only for purposes of solidarity, unity, and love. Having been made aware, however, of your most recent egregious act of denigration toward the African American community, I find myself in your mailbox—on your computer screen, perhaps—for purposes much less fortunate. I write, now, with no intent to reprimand, or defame, or scold, but to ask with the utmost sincerity: Why?

On the campus of Arizona State University exists an abundance of student-led organizations, each—with every act—etching its own legacy into the very concrete upon which we walk. The legacy of the African American Men of Arizona State University is one from which my constituents and I derive an incomparable pride. Having been birthed almost a decade ago by some of the most virtuous and self-aware beings to set foot on ASU’s campus, the organization continues its pursuit of improved retention rates for African American males and, more largely, the cultural consciousness of ASU’s community of African American men and women. This, again, is our legacy.

I am concerned, however, that your legacy is enduring an almost-irreparable damage, and further, that you’ve demonstrated a willingness to endure this damage for meager laughs and degradation at the expense of the African American community. I am concerned that your organization’s self-professed mission to “aid men in their mental, moral, and social development for life” eludes you with such heinous acts as your most recent “MLK Black Party”. I am concerned that your fraternal structure is transforming into an echo chamber for racism. And further, I am concerned that not a man stood among you brothers with the foresight to predict the shame such an event would heap upon your organization. Again, I must ask: “Why?” Why would a man degrade himself to such lows—degrade his organization to such lows—for such paltry praise. Perhaps, I—we of the AAMASU community, of the African American community, of the national community, and of the global community—may never know.

TKE

To be “fraternal” is to be of, or akin to, brotherhood. To be brothers, in the context of organizational fraternity, ought to be more a celebration of manhood than a celebration of maleness. To celebrate the beauty of manhood is to celebrate the admirable character traits so necessary for a man to fulfill his familial and communal responsibilities. To celebrate maleness is to parade oneself as a caricature of manhood. Much of my work with the African American Men of ASU is concerned with clarifying this difference. In fact, at their foundations, much of the work of ASU’s numerous other fraternities is concerned with clarifying this difference. I can only hope that you, too, will one day make this your goal.

TKE2

Lastly, it has come to my attention that my organization and your organization share the third floor of the Memorial Union as home. If ever you wish to speak with me in person, I’d welcome the opportunity.

Sincerely,
Ja’han Jones
President, African American Men of ASU

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131 thoughts on “To the Brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon

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  2. There is NO accountability, that’s the problem with our society. And what is more disturbing is that people are actually defending this “coincidental” event.

    Also, as a member of a fraternal organization, I feel like with this act, the members of that certain Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter have destroyed all I’ve personally done for my community and re-inforced the ridiculous stereotypes people have about fraternities. It’s a shame, really.

  3. Pingback: ASU Fraternity Expelled After Throwing A Super-Racist Martin Luther King Day Party | GossipViews.com

  4. Respectfully, this chapters actions are not representative of Tau Kappa Epsilon as a whole. The legacy of TKE as an organization is not perfect, nor is the legacy of any group as widespread, diverse and old. While their actions are shameful, it is wise to keep an eye on the big picture. Tekes are, through my years of experience, generally nice guys. Guys who drink a lot. But a nice accepting group of men.

  5. Mr. Jones,

    I can, with 100% certainty, say that this in no way reflects the values and views of the fraternity that I pledged and was initiated into. The motto for Tau Kappa Epsilon is “Better Men for a Better World.” We strongly push these values here in my chapter. I just wanted to send our regards from Kansas.

    Exert from our National HQ Official statement:
    “Since 1899, our fraternity has taken much pride in the diversity and uniqueness of our membership. Tau Kappa Epsilon has never had an exclusionary clause in our membership. Our founders believed, as we do today, in the personal worth and character of the individual, not his wealth, rank, or honor. We take great pride in having members who were and are still advocates of civil rights movements in the United States. We celebrate all men and women of all races, genders, creeds, orientations, and beliefs who strive each day to make the world a better place.”

    http://www.tke.org/news/2014/01/21/tke_at_arizona_state_official_statement

    From a TEKE in Kansas.
    -Will

  6. Well written. I appreciate your words. And the answer posed to the organization I can answer for them………….White Privilege. Meaning because they’re white they feel–with good reason–they do not have to be accountable for their actions. They believe to degrade another race is to elevate their own. We live in a society that embraces white superiority and non-accountability. Our people are killed by them weekly and are not held accountable. This isn’t a organization issue this is a NATIONAL ISSUE; AND specifically a UNITED STATES ISSUE.

  7. Ja’han. Had the opportunity to hear you briefly speak at the Fall Leadership Conference. I also wrote about this. Take a look at JWEsquire.com

  8. Pingback: Arizona State University fraternity expelled after ‘offensive’ Martin Luther King Day party | theGrio

  9. Pingback: Arizona State University fraternity expelled after ‘offensive’ Martin Luther King Day party | CE Marketing & Promotions

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