Date of Award
Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations
Del Favero, Marietta
The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the issues of race and mattering in relation to African American participation within historically White fraternities. Participant perspectives were obtained through six interviews with African American males at four collegial institutions within the Southeastern Region of the United States. Critical Race Theory was utilized to framed issues surrounding race in a homogenous Greek context. A second lens, Rosenberg and McCullough's (1981) concept of mattering, provided a comprehensive description of participants' feelings of significance within the inter-racial Greek experience. Thematic findings indicate that although African American members are recruited to be a part of a particular historically White fraternity's brotherhood, they initially experience marginality. Through continued interaction, the fraternal bonds become strengthened with participants rising to varying levels of leadership within the group, and, mattering to their White fraternal brothers. Other themes related to African American participation within historically White fraternities include: (a) One or no family member that attended college, (b) no immediate family members that are Greek, (c) significance of race is downplayed, (d) limited fraternal knowledge prior to entering college, (e) recruitment is driven by image, status, and counter assumption, (f) stereotypical organizations are racial holdouts; and, (g) discord exist with other African Americans that disapprove of the inter-racial experience.
Summers, Eric J., "Mattering: The African American Experience in Historically White Fraternities" (2010). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 1195.