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.
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.
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.
President, African American Men of ASU