Thursday, March 4, 2010

Was it really that serious?

A few weeks ago the final round of the first annual The Sprite Step Off, sponsored by Coca-Cola, was held (fyi on stepping in Atlanta. Well if you read the description I linked to I'm sure you noticed that stepping is generally associated with people of color specifically those of African decent. Yeah well it turns out a white sorority (Zeta Tau Alpha) won the women's competition of the contest.

My question is is there a something wrong with that?

It's easy to say that this is a terrible thing. How dare a white sorority come in and win a contest meant to celebrate an activity that was started by black sororities and fraternities. Some would say that it amounts to cultural invasion and appropriation for whites to do such a thing.

On the other hand is it possible that the very fact that a white sorority was allowed to compete is a sign of people from different backgrounds coming together and thus progress? It would have been very easy to just turn that sorority away because of their race and frankly I highly doubt they would have been able to do anything about it if that had happened (an act of racism mind you but not much they could do about it).

But race relations aside it would seem that because of a review of the scoring from Saturday's national contest revealed a "scoring discrepancy" that it declined to explain another decision decision has been reached.
Coca-Cola said Thursday the Alpha Kappa Alpha team from Indiana University, whose members are black, would share first place and would also receive the same $100,000 in scholarships that the Zeta Tau Alphas won.

"Because the scoring discrepancy cannot be resolved and due to the extremely narrow margin between the first and second place winning sororities," the company decided to declare co-winners, the company statement says.
I'm not sure how I feel about that.

If it was indeed a discrepancy such as an honest miscount in the votes then no problem. If there was cheating among the judges (namely favoritism for certain acts) then no problem. However if this was simply a bone then I have to say I don't like it.

I know that it is tempting to say that a white sorority winning a step competition is a sign that hell is freezing over and whites are making a push into the few things that blacks have made for themselves. And to those that say that I say get over yourselves. Those women in Zeta Tau Alpha trained for their step routines just as hard as any other sorority and for it to be instantly called racist because they won is unfair to them.

How can we expect to break racial barriers when every time there is some mingling like this we go into outrage mode?

Other sources on this:
What Tami Said


womanistmusings said...

It's not that they are racist it is that White people entering a step contest are participating in racial appropriation.

Danny said...

Does participation automatically mean appropriation? It would be one thing that white sorority has come out bragging about coming in and making stepping a white thang or some other trash talk but as far as I can tell they haven't.

Jim said...

WM, what do you mena by "racial approrpaition? Step is a cultural expression; do you mean "cultural appropriation? Do you mean that the two are the same thing?

Does a black person speaking English participate in cultural appropriation? Absolultely not, if it's happening in America, where thee isn't any other real choice. Maybe, if it's happening in Nigeria, but probably not even there, where it is the de facto common language. Yes certainly if it's happening in Mali.

Does a black opera singer participate in cultural appropriation? Probably so, since opera is hardly mainstream, dominant cultural expression. How about Charlie Pride and CW?

And so what if they do? Leontine Price enriched opera-lovers' lives, and that's the real bottom line.