So I’ve been watching very quietly over the past few weeks as basically every single Black female blogger I read has talked about whether or not people should feel some kinda way about the new Pi Nappa Kappa, a Greek organization for Black women and men with natural hair. I’ve heard that it’s pointless. I’ve heard that it makes a mockery of the extant Black sororities and fraternities. I’ve heard that it might be setting naturals up for exploitation or trying to scam people. I’ve heard people rail against the “Natural Hair Nazis” that obviously must be behind this group. I’ve heard women who “went natural before it was cool to go natural” talk about why we don’t need groups like this. I’ve heard people talk about how we don’t need more things to divide our people. I’ve heard people crack jokes about what their pledging process must be like.
To make a long story short, I thought I’d heard it all. And as a person who generally supports Greek organizations (as long as they have their shit together), but had never really considered joining one, I thought I was perfectly content to read what lots of other people had to say about the organization without really weighing in.
But today, Thank God I’m Natural did something none of the other blogs I’d read about the subject did: explained the sorority in its own words, rather than making assumptions, and posted the organization’s pledge.
As a member of the Pi Nappa Kappa Natural Hair Sorority, I pledge that:1. I am a smart, special, valuable person!2. I respect myself and I respect others.3. My words and actions are kind and honest.4. I will respect the dignity and essential worth of all individuals.5.I will promote the diversity of opinions, ideas, hairstyles and backgrounds which is the lifeblood of the sorority.6. I will promote a culture of respect throughout the natural hair community.7. I will not tolerate bigotry, discrimination, violence, or intimidation of any kind.8. I will practice personal integrity and expect it from others.9. I will always be proud of my natural-born hair.10. I accept only my best in all I do.I am Proud to be ME!”
I’m pretty sure that pledge basically embodies my unwritten manifesto. Okay, maybe I wouldn’t have put the virtues of naturalista-dom so highly if I was writing my own manifesto, but promoting diversity and respect for all things would have been there. There is nothing on this list that I don’t try to already do in my daily life.
So, to recap: they’re not trying to be like traditional Greek organizations, there is no pledging process, they’re promoting really good goals… The only strong counterarguments I see are the dividing-our-people/Natural Nazis arguments, and honestly, those things aren’t new, people. They certainly shouldn’t be exacerbated, and I’d hate to see this become another #teamlightskin v. #teamdarkskin, because that shit is just the hottest of messes. But numbers 7 and 8 on the pledge lead me to hope it won’t be, and I think there has to be a way for people who have something in common to celebrate that commonality without necessarily putting down people who don’t have that in common. This is really just a subset of Black culture, when you think about it, and a lot of us can’t go to our mommas to talk about ACV washes or the benefits of henna (don’t worry if you don’t know what I’m talking about); I don’t think creating another space where we can do that is necessarily an affront to the rest of you.
I’m going to sign the pledge.