8 myths about being paper or made in black greek lettered organizations
conversations about being paper and made in greek organizations are not new to the greek world or those outside of it. before you continue reading, i challenge you to think about what you know about being paper and being made? regardless of whether you are greek or not (because let's be real.. greeks talk to non-greeks about greek stuff more than they should), what are some qualifiers that resonate in your head about who's paper and who's not? what do you look for? i'd be interested to know if some of those things (if any) are consistent with what's listed here. this isn't a complete list (by a long shot). rather, these are merely some of the assumptions/misconceptions i've witnessed resurface in conversation after conversation between greeks and non-greeks alike.
8). the bigger the line, the more paper they are.
so you've seen a line of 30 and you think to yourself, "oh they gotta be paper." well, why? why does a number like that insinuate that they must be paper? it amazes me how genuinely ignorant greeks and non-greeks are to stuff like that. like, who appointed you the made police? more importantly, why do you even care? my thought is -- greeks "care" because they are always trying to prove themselves as the the most premiere of them all, which is why we typically look to break one another down, unfortunately. whereas, i think non-greeks "care" because they are looking for a way to be relevant. they want to "chime in" on the conversation when in reality, you really should be seen and not heard seeing as how 9 times outta 10, you are an interest, anyway. and if you aren't an interest ..again, i ask...why do you even care? bottom line, there are no rules that say x amount of people on a line automatically means they are paper. a line of 2 can be just as paper as a line of 42 and if you don't believe me, that's fine too.
7). paper greeks don't know who's on their line.
at the end of the day, if i made an excel sheet with all there was to know about the people that were going to be on your line and i told you to study it...you'd learn it and basically be able to regurgitate it back to me when asked. does that mean you're made? not necessarily. does it mean you have a brain and can follow instruction? absolutely. that's basically what we do in college, we learn something temporarily and we regurgitate it back (in the form of our beloved tests and quizzes). point is, you don't have to go through extra curricular activities with the chain crew to commit something to memory, in all seriousness. so, stop making that assumption.
6). it's more important to be renegade and made than to be paper and an actual member of the organization.
as d9 greeks, we have a way of contributing to this assumption. not only do we depict being made as the only acceptable way to join a historically black organization, we actually alienate (and in some cases, openly disrespect) members whose journey may have differed from our own. because of this, i think aspiring members have picked up on the notion that it's "better" to be made than it is to be paper, even if that means your line is renegade. now, a renegade essentially means that either you (or your line) lack official membership in your organization (meaning the corporate headquarters has no record of your membership and you don't have an identification number). instead, you are a renegade, which means that you underwent requirements brought forth by the chapter you were seeking membership (and that's it). so, you don't have an official membership identification number, you can't "technically" attend events as a registered member of the organization and you can't (or shouldn't) be listed on the chapter's roster. but, you'll get the respect of your chapter for the most part, as well as your campus. but i'm gonna let you in on a simple minded truth: the requirements of a chapter should never supersede that of the organization at large. it does not matter how long you allowed yourself to be subjected to extra curricular activities, without an identification number..you aren't a member (regardless of what you've been told). in fact, what you are is a perpetrator--someone who's portraying to be something that they actually aren't. now, i'm not saying go out and protest doing any and all extra curricular activities...however (comma) i'm saying that you need to ultimately have your priorities in order and make sure all applicable bases are covered, ya know?
5). being made is an automatic way to earn the respect of your prophytes.
this isn't true, necessarily. at the end of the day, you can do things your prophytes' way and still end up being disliked by them (for whatever reason). you have to realize that although it may not seem like it, they are people ... just like you. there's no perfect algorithm for getting people to like you, and that includes your prophytes.
4). paper greeks can't sit in the cut.
greeks nowadays have adopted this notion that the best way to determine whether someone is made or not is by calling a sip, which is an opportunity for members of various d9 organizations to throw a paddle on one another. this concept is not valid. just because someone doesn't "break" (move), when a paddle is being thrown on them doesn't automatically mean that they had a long, extensive process. it could mean that they simply have a high tolerance for pain. and more often than not, the greeks involved in the sip still don't respect one another afterward; so they still throw shade on each other's process anyway and it's just like, what was the point?
3). the only way to get a line name and number is if you get made.
it's common knowledge that many people want to be greek because they want to "make a difference in their community" or because "they like what the local chapter stands for on their campus", allegedly. but, there's some skaters in there too and you aren't fooling anybody. you only want in because you want a line jacket with your own name and number. as a skater, it's your job to try and get into the organization unscathed and it's the duty of the chapter to have discernment and not let you in, but that's another story. in any case, you don't have to be made to get a line name or number, folks. people name and arrange themselves more often than you think, all outta fear of not fitting in. sure, the name may hold more importance to you when it comes from one of your prophytes, i'm not knocking that... i'm just saying that despite popular opinion, it's not the only way.
2). the amount of time you spent pledging is not commensurate with your level of "made"-ness.
you ever meet a greek who always says something like, "i was on line for 17 weeks, 3 days, 23 hours, 19 minutes and 54 seconds." ok, so does that mean that you are "more made" than someone who was on line for 17 weeks, 3 days, 23 hours, 19 minutes and 32 seconds? it's no surprise that we as greeks take an opportunity to elongate our processes even more by adding miscellaneous information like, "and i was pre pledging for 4 years because they were suspended on the yard." my question is... in the grand scheme of things, am i supposed to respect you more? is there a certain way i should treat you based off what you are telling me (which could be false, anyway because let's face it..greeks lie)? is it my fault that you spent your entire last year of high school and all your collegiate years seeking membership into an organization that you aren't even an official member of? is there a shut off on how much respect can one earn in greekdom? bottom line.. stop thinking that the amount of time someone spends on line makes them "more made" than the next greek because it's not true. if i say i've been in college for 9 years before graduating and the next person has been in college for 3, does that make them smarter than me? some may argue yes because i took longer but what if our majors were different? what if we weren't taking the same amount of classes per semester? you see how the answer is not as simple as what you originally perceived? the same holds true here...so don't assume.
1). lines that are made are closer to one another than paper lines.
this is what most people think greek life is: the chapter picks you; they get you acclimated to doing extra curricular activities for x amount of time with other people that they've chosen, they put on a probate for you and everyone on the line is tight for eternity because of "everything you've gone through." hate to break it to ya..but it does not always work out like that. while we'd love for everyone on the line to get along, sometimes it never truly happens. you ever met someone and it just didn't click? perhaps this has resulted in you categorizing people in "friend" and "associate" lists. the people on the associate list are cool or whatever, but you could only hang out with them if you had a mutual "friend" there. the same is kinda true here. you don't have any say so in who gets picked with you, and sometimes you may just not like them as people. being close with someone is not necessarily a "made" thing; it's a "human" thing...and you can't always force what doesn't come naturally.