In an effort to educate the University community about issues concerning minorities, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, has organized a series of discussions and forums with topics ranging from hip-hop to affirmative action. The fraternity has chosen to tackle the issues head on through a series of activities that encompass a multitude of issues in a jam-packed week of reflection and discourse.
Monday’s discussions focused on the hip-hop culture that has become increasingly more mainstream as it permeates into mass culture in areas from clothing to dialect. The two-hour session analyzed the degradation of women in popular music, which has infiltrated not only hip-hop music but also other popular genres. The rarely-discussed topic of what hip-hop embodies was examined as different viewpoints were expressed in relation to the multifaceted aspects of the culture. This necessary dialogue raised probing questions on issues relating to racial co-option of culture as suburban white males compromise the largest audience for hip-hop music.
The fraternity brothers also focused on higher education by donating time and money to increase awareness and raise funds. Tuesday’s charity event benefited the United Negro College Fund, which provides both financial aid and moral support for black students seeking to enter college. The brothers also organized an informational session outside the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in order to support the University’s admissions policies.
The programs at the end of the week will focus on community building, as the brothers facilitate events with prominent law officials, mixers at the Central Campus Recreational Building late Friday night and Habitat for Humanity on Saturday. These activities encourage students to take an active role in effecting change through campus policies and community service.
The fraternity members are to be applauded for their innovative approaches to addressing a week’s worth of difficult and relevant topics. Primarily, hip-hop is a culture that many college students, regardless of race and ethnicity, are exposed to; however, very few spend time analyzing the effects of the lyrics and messages on popular culture and this week finally brought this type of dialogue to the University.
A “call out,” the scheme used Wednesday, is a novel method toward the University’s affirmative action policies because it promotes information flow by allowing opposing views to be expressed in this open environment. Harnessing the campus’s new knowledge about educational disproportion, Kappa Alpha Psi will allow students to help the community by building homes for the disadvantaged in Ypsilanti. More student groups must encourage similar dialogues that bridge the gap between college life issues, such as scholarships and affirmative action, and the world at large, such as the poverty that dwells next door.