It is the assumption of many, that fraternities and sororities are gangs and all about parties, alcohol, hazing, and an era of life where there is much bad decision making—or at least that is what the media portrays. To a certain extent, there ARE greek organizations that only live up to what the stereotypes are and unfortunately it scars other greek organizations who try and stray away from those stereotypes. It is sad to see that little is broadcasted on how Greek life can shape students, and in this case I speak of the council that my sorority is a part of, NALFO (National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations)
Bourdieu claims that our habitus is correlated with our age/gender/race etc. and that that makes us perceive the world in the way we do. Within the Latino habitus, family is key and so is helping others that are in need. It is within our values to look out for each other especially in campuses where there are only a handful of us. Therefore, for students seeking out that support system when they’re away from home in college it is essential to be a part of an organization whether it is an honor society organization, student organization, or Greek organization.
Unfortunately, the retention rate for Latinos continues to lag. That is where the Latino community is expected to pull through and as Latinos we can’t do it alone—having a support system motivates us to become more than we ever believed in. We have all these superior forces that stigmatize our culture and try and define our habitus but it is because of our experiences as Latinos that we know there will always be a superior force trying to downgrade us.
Within NALFO we strive to help out each other and be each other’s support system. What is even more interesting is that fraternities and sororities have a habitus within itself and so do Latinos and they both happen to be steered in a negative way. It’s as if we are trying to defeat two negative habitus of two social groups that we belong to. What most don’t know is that through greek organizations, Latinos are able to grow as people and become more outspoken about their beliefs. They are able to become more involved within the community. They are also able to help each other graduate on time or just graduate in general.
The habitus of a social group can also be changed throughout time and that is what I’m hoping for when it comes to both Latinos and Greek Organizations. Greek organizations help build character and can be used efficiently if only a light was placed on them to show their potential—not just the negative counterparts of it. The same goes for Latinos, who should be given credit for assimilating to another culture and being able to balance both their culture of their background and the American culture as well. Although it might take us a while to assimilate, we are slowly getting there but we must also be provided with resources and as for me, a Latino Greek organization has been a great resource in helping shape who I am.