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Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 5:31 am
By: BlackAmericaWeb.com

 


University of Arkansas' Epsilon Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha, a white sorority, bested 14 black sororities and fraternities in the "Sprite Step-Off Challenge," taking home the contest's $100,000 prize.

Second place in the sorority division went to Alpha Kappa Alpha's Tau Chapter from Indiana University and third place to Delta Sigma Theta's Sigma Chapter from Clark Atlanta University.

The men's champion is Alpha Phi Alpha's Delta Xi Chapter from Wilberforce University, followed by Alpha Phi Alpha's Alpha Phi Chapter from Clark Atlanta and Phi Beta Sigma's citywide chapter from Rutgers University.

Click here to see the winning team's moves.
 
 BLACK by NATURE, PROUD by CHOICE.
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Whaaaaaaat!!!


Who authorized their acceptence to even be in the competition? I thought that frat stepping, especially the "Sprite Step Off Challenge", was only organized and allowed for "Black only" frats/soros from HBCU's and other schools that have Black frats/soros.



Shows you how little I know.



Or did the Black sororities underestimated the White girls? You know how we do sometimes, especially in athletic competitions when you have a White competitor(s) as your opponent. We tend to see blood in the water.


Judges? Goddamit!!!!! or maybe a mixed bag of Black/White judges?



Them White gals stole that money, it was a total fluke and 'll bet that next year, the sisters will NEVER let it happen again. A complete shocker.


That $100,000 check would have never made it off campus.
Last edited by Cholly
Yeah, I was pretty stunned about this story too, Cholly!! 

In the comments section, the new-age arguments of us not being able to have anything to ourselves anymore was brought up.  As well as the issue of the whole reason for us having HBCUs and other predominantly Black entities is due to the exclusion of being able to participate/associate in those same kinds of all-White entities back in the day.

Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure which side of the argument I land on.  While I can see both sides, I am first, foremost and always on OUR side ... probably by default.  And not all change is good change.  And giving up our predominantly Black institutions to "others" is not a change I am convinced is in our best interests!

Anyway ... I'm not really a step expert and although these girls did seem very good ... were they really the best?? 

First there's White HBCU prom queens ... and now this?  I'm not sure what the hell is going on ... but I am pretty sure that I don't like it! 
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Or did the Black sororities underestimated the White girls? You know how we do sometimes, especially in athletic competitions when you have a White competitor(s) as your opponent. We tend to see blood in the water.
I'm guessing some people probably got a little too complacent and didn't think they were a threat until it was too late to overcome the lead they built. It will be interesting to see what the future holds now that whites are doing this and winning.
Exactly catch. 
I know quite a few of the people that put this event together.  There was no shady stuff going on; those girls just brought it harder than the rest.  That squad had to make it through a video tape cut and a regional competition to earn a right in the final.  Every regional was recorded, so the ability to "scout" was available.  Some of the audience grumbled for the same reasons some people here are grumbling - "How the hell did those white girls win a step conest?"
However they learned the skills, they showed and proved.

Edit:  Just asked my people - and based on how tight the final scoring was between the first and second place teams (and the controversy of the white girls winning IMO), the first and second place squads have now been deemed "co-winner" due to a "scoring error"
Everyone happy now????
Last edited by bigddouble
I do not see why people are having such a problem with this. This was not the first time that this group won. I understand that there were several qualification rounds which they had to make it through. They earned a chance to compete, and they brought it.

Besides, and this may get me in some heat, I enjoyed their routine more than the AKA's who clearly had a "type" on their team; i.e., "dark-skinned sisters or sister with naturals need not apply because so much of our routine involves flipping our WEAVES back and forth, from side to side, and staring at our hand incessantly as if it were a mirror."
Well, let me say again that IF these girls were actually the best of the groups competing ... and many of you say they were (or could have been) ... then I honestly have no problem with that!!  If they shoulda won, then the trophy should be theirs!

My problem can be summed up by what Cholly said ...

Reference:
Who authorized their acceptence to even be in the competition? I thought that frat stepping, especially the "Sprite Step Off Challenge", was only organized and allowed for "Black only" frats/soros from HBCU's and other schools that have Black frats/soros.

Now, obviously a company like Sprite can't discriminate and make the step contest a Black-frat-only contest!!  And I'm sure anyone who wants to participate has the same chance at getting in as anybody else ... and, if qualified can compete for the championship!

But ... who the hell allowed these White girls in in the first place?    And if the contest is not an HBCU-only competition ... maybe it should be!
http://www.spritestepoff.com/eligibility

All team members must be 18 years or over, a member in good standing of a nationally recognized service-oriented fraternity or sorority, and in good academic standing at an accredited 4 year college or university.

Of course the logos, branding and ads suggest a demographic, but since the rules didn't prohibit their participation...
That's like saying Shani Davis shouldn't be a speedskater cause Black people don't usually participate in ice sports...

LOL ... yes, your analogy IS sound ... and I hear you, too! 

And that's great about the community service aspect ... (I didn't know that was part of this contest!).

I'm really trying hard not to *hate* .. .but, in cases like this, I guess I'm just not very good at it!    The girls won .. they deserve their due ... whatever!  But, I don't have to like it.  And at this point, I am not the least bit amused!
Quote by bigddouble: "Edit: Just asked my people - and based on how tight the final scoring was between the first and second place teams (and the controversy of the white girls winning IMO), the first and second place squads have now been deemed "co-winner" due to a "scoring error"



bigddouble,  I agree, the national controversy probably caused this "scoring error?"


Also, do you know who/what caved in???



***And that means that since this step challenge rules & regulations is an "open invitation" to all frats and soros no matter the frat, soro, race, sponser(s) or school, the HCBU's frats & soros needs to find and prepare for competitions all over the country a la the Penn States, the UCLA's, Ivy League schools and Duke Universities hosting big money competitions.****
Last edited by Cholly
Quote by ER: "Are you saying they should stick to cheerleading?? 


Probably because just like Yemaya said:


"Going into my Ebonics: Them chicks probably spent the last 2 years watching every black film with stepping, every black sorority and fraternity at the University of Arkansas and bit every move they had... Been watching too much "Bring It On".



Straight up competition. Anywhere, anytime, anyplace. Two weeks away. No  Keanu Reeves "The MATRIX" bullshit. Straight steppin' dammitt!! 


Let's get it on!!!!


We can find 5-15 coordinated in-step, in-tune soro Black sistas on ANY campus, ANYWHERE in the country cocked & locked, ready to get busy. Can we say the same about the White girls?
Yeah, it is, Yemaya!  But ... looking at it realistically, I think we are dealing with a horse long-gone out of the barn .. and trying to shut the door at this point will isn't going to us any good! 

The truth is ... (and I know you probably won't like hearing this )  WE need to do (and to have done) a better job of protecting those things and entities and institution that are important to us.  It is US not supporting our HBCUs for OUR children that has lead to them recruiting (and giving full-ride scholarships to) White students to bring in money just to keep their doors open!

WE should have better control of our own treasures ... and, not that I'm necessarily blaming us for not doing so (because I believe there are 'extenuating circumstances' when it comes to such things) ... still, I believe that we have to look at the reality and take responsibility for our own actions (or the lack thereof) when dealing with our situation as it is right now!

I think you're right that our "cultural business" is in jeopardy .. and really, to say it's under attack I don't think is being too dramatic!  But ... where are our defenses?  Do we have any?   

If we aren't willing (or able) to put people back in their place after they've 'crossed a line' ... should we really be surprised when they make the choice to step all over it?
Reference:
do not see why people are having such a problem with this. This was not the first time that this group won. I understand that there were several qualification rounds which they had to make it through. They earned a chance to compete, and they brought it. Besides, and this may get me in some heat, I enjoyed their routine more than the AKA's who clearly had a "type" on their team; i.e., "dark-skinned sisters or sister with naturals need not apply because so much of our routine involves flipping our WEAVES back and forth, from side to side, and staring at our hand incessantly as if it were a mirror."
Well you are right about the AKA's.  I glimpsed at their intro and it was mostly weave swinging and arms flailing.  However, I think the issue for me personally is the same sort of slight irritation that comes when white musicians imitate black bluesmen and become fabulously rich while the bluesman died in poverty.  Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, and John Mayer come to mind.  That's not to say that these artists aren't talented or don't produce good music, but the point of co-opting and profitting from blackness remains.  Stepping is a black artform. 


I'm also aware of how very exclusive white sororities have been.  It's very rare to see a black member of a white sorority, and seeing 1 or 2 black members in a white sorority has only been happening within the past 10-15 yrs or so.  I couldn't tell whether one of the Zeta Tau Alpha steppers was african american or not, but it did make me wonder why they would want to engage in "stepping", which is again, a distinctly black thing, done by black sororities and fraternities and correct me if i'm wrong, but it's also linked to slavery.  oh, nevermind $100K would make me wanna mimic another culture as well 


I suppose shows like americas best dance team and so you think u can dance have influenced a broad array of americans to experiment with stepping and like jazz, blues, rap, breakdancing,etc it will become "american" rather than just a black thing - and that's probably not a bad thing.  Probably if they had'nt been handed $100K for co-opting african-american culture it wouldn't be such a big deal - just another group of white women imitating black women  - no different than lip injections and booty implants.

Contest win fuels fierce debate over race

By Lawrence C. Ross Jr., Special to CNN

Editor's note: Lawrence C. Ross Jr. is the author of five books, including the Los Angeles Times bestseller "The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities." He's lectured at over 300 colleges and universities on the topic of college fraternalism. He's recently launched brainCOCOA, a podcast service for authors, and you can follow him on Twitter at @alpha1906.



(CNN) -- What does it mean when a white sorority wins a competition that African-American fraternities and sororities not only created but also consider an essential part of their cultural expression? It means an uncomfortable discussion about race, history, culture and inclusivity that is not black and white.

On February 20, the University of Arkansas chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha, a predominantly white sorority, won the inaugural Sprite Step Off stepping competition, beating two predominantly black sororities.

Stepping, which began in the 1960s, is a intricate rhythmic dance that features synchronized foot stomps, handclaps, choreographed movements and chants. The competition was fierce, and all of the competitors fought hard for the $100,000 first-place scholarship.

But the results immediately sparked a firestorm within the African-American fraternal community, with many calling foul. How could a white sorority beat black sororities at our own art form? Why were they even competing in the first place? Some alleged that judges cheated, while others posited that the novelty of white women performing swayed the judges.

To understand why this is a big deal, you have to understand that African-American fraternities and sororities are as close to the Animal House stereotype attached to white fraternities as Pat Boone is to hip-hop. Black fraternities and sororities, known as the Divine Nine, form the fiber of African-American leadership in this country and continue to produce the leaders of tomorrow.

The nine predominantly African-American fraternities and sororities -- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity -- were founded between 1906 and 1963 to support African-American college students in their quest not only to succeed on campus but to develop into college-educated leaders.

The roster of Divine Nine members is a Who's Who in African America: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Michael Jordan, Maya Angelou, Dorothy Height and over a million others count themselves as members. The civil rights movement is populated with Divine Nine members who developed leadership skills on college campuses.

And the connection doesn't end after graduation. African-American fraternal members spend thousand of hours doing service in alumni chapters, raising money for scholarships and mentoring at-risk people. Pride in one's organization is paramount to Divine Nine members, and one way to express that is through stepping.

Divine Nine fraternities and sororities take great pride in being original and innovative in their dances: highly coordinated, with elaborate costumes, and sometimes performed before thousands. It's a point of pride to perform, but to win for the glory of your fraternity or sorority is the ultimate.

So when Zeta Tau Alpha members won the Sprite Step Off, it was not just that they'd beaten African-American sororities, it was seen as the first assault on yet another African-American cultural tradition that, if not guarded, would be appropriated from blacks like jazz and hip-hop.

For many Americans, the notion of African-Americans having a separate culture, uninfluenced by other Americans, makes them uncomfortable. Isn't the point of civil rights to erase the color lines that separate and divide us? And if we acknowledge that blacks have cultural traditions that have been nurtured within their own community, does that make blacks separate from whites?

This is where the nuances of race and culture come into play. Blacks are keenly aware of their otherness in this country. We're proud to be Americans yet also proud that we've built strong traditions that have sustained us through turbulent times. So we zealously protect those traditions from interlopers who may want to exploit or denigrate what we cherish.

But this is the very reason why any African-American who dismissed the Zeta Tau Alpha win, or even the sorority's right to participate in the competition on the basis of being white, was 100 percent wrong.

We as African-Americans can't protect cultural expression by creating fences that exclude. Those fences never work. But we can demand that anyone who seeks inclusion, and wants to participate in our culture, does so with the same respect and honor that we as African-Americans demand of ourselves.

By all accounts, the women of Zeta Tau Alpha did just that. And even later, when Sprite announced that Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the African-American sorority that had come in second, would also be awarded a first-place prize because of scoring irregularities, no one could dispute that in a subjective contest, Zeta Tau Alpha met the criteria for winning, regardless of skin color.

And that's something we as Divine Nine members should remember as we continue to strive to eliminate racism and bias. We can't fall victim to the same rationale that still is used to deny us first-class citizenship. As the leaders of college campuses and in the community, we must always fight for equality and demand that we're judged based on our skill. And if we don't do that, we lose much more than a stepping contest.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Lawrence C. Ross Jr.

 
 
 
Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINIO...ce/index.html?hpt=C2
 
On one hand, if the white sorority loses, they would look out of place, since it's not really part of their (white) Greek heritage/culture.  If they win, they would REALLY look out of place and make the losers look bad, almost like Jesse Owens-beating-Nazi German-athletes-in-the-'36 Olympic Games-bad.

Either way, the black Greeks need to bring their 'A' game; every time, all the time.  If stepping is a part of your culture, you have to do it BETTER than anyone else on the planet.
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Either way, the black Greeks need to bring their 'A' game; every time, all the time. If stepping is a part of your culture, you have to do it BETTER than anyone else on the planet.

Absolutely, Huey!!    But ... (and as Black people know from decades of previous history) ... depending on who's judging .... being "BETTER" isn't necessarily always good enough. 
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I was just about to say that, Catch. Do you think the judges were wayyy too lenient and/or gave the white sorority a handicap in the competition, which later helped them to win.
I don't think the judges were lenient at all or gave a handicap. When they walked in the bldg, they were probably written off before they even had a chance to take of their sweats and stretch.



The best way I could equate this would be from a discussion we had in the gym Monday. Pretty much everyone who has been in a powerlifting competition has been dusted off by the person they least expected. You size up your competition and try to get a feel by asking questions or guessing their opening lift, never once paying attention to the skinny kid with the pencil neck and bony arms.
While all the "threats" are sizing each other up, the skinny kid with the pencil neck and bony arms makes a lift that automatically puts you on the defense, trying to refocus your energy and play catch-up.......but it's too late.
What pissed me off personally is yet another attack on another aspect of our culture as the author Ross stated. But different doesn't mean unequal well at least in countries other than America. They have no respect for our culture at all and whites do as much as they can to copy us at every turn. Often imitated, but NEVER duplicated.

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