Black Haze: Violence, Sacrifice, and Manhood in Black Greek-Letter Fraternities

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SUNY Press, Mar 10, 2010 - Social Science - 176 pages
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 The first book solely devoted to the subject of black fraternity hazing.

As a fraternity member, past chapter president, and former national committee representative, Ricky L. Jones is uniquely qualified to write about the sometimes deadly world of black fraternity hazing. Examining five major black Greek-letter fraternities, Jones maintains that hazing rituals within these fraternities are more deeply ingrained, physically violent, and imbued with meaning to their participants than the initiation rites of other ethnic groups.

Because they do not see themselves as having the same political, social, and economic opportunities as other members of society, black fraternities and their members have come to see the ability to withstand physical abuse as the key ingredient in building and defining manhood. According to Jones, hazing in black fraternities is a modern manifestation of sacrificial ritual violence that has existed since ancient times, and the participants view such rituals as an important tool in the construction of individual and collective black male identity.

“…provides valuable insights into the reasoning behind hazing, a practice that extends into the realms of sports and even high school, and is relevant for not only fraternity members and officials, but the general public as well.” — The Griot

“…an important contribution … because of the skillful manner in which Jones incorporates and critically analyzes relevant literature and other related scholarly writings … Jones, himself a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, offers personal observations as well as first-hand views and perceptions of hazing.” — Journal of College Student Development

"In Black Haze, Ricky L. Jones skillfully analyzes the culture of pledging and hazing within the ranks of black Greek-letter organizations. Too often, the leaders of these fraternal organizations have tried to prevent the destructive hazing behavior of their members without adequately researching the origins and the systemic reasons for the behavior in the first place. Jones's new research will not only illuminate the subject in the eyes of national fraternal leaders, but will also be a clarion call for action on the ordinary fraternity and sorority member level. For this, Jones's work is invaluable and I highly recommend it." — Lawrence C. Ross Jr., author of The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities 

"Ricky L. Jones does a masterful job in identifying the reasons behind the seemingly unstopped cycle of violence in black fraternities. It is my hope and prayer that fraternity leaders and campus administrators will read Black Haze to begin a meaningful process to face this challenge." — Walter M. Kimbrough, author of Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs, and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities

"Black Haze is at once a work of scholarship and a book of practical use for all who work with fraternities and sororities. Jones's research is impeccable, his theories are sound, and his ideas are enlightening. Black Haze is a brilliant and most compelling reading experience." — Hank Nuwer, author of Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking
 

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Contents

1 The Problem at Hand
1
2 Old Problem New Approach
13
3 The History of Black GreekLetter Fraternities
25
4 The Pledge Process as Sacrifice
47
5 The Hegemonic Struggle and Domination in Black GreekLetter Fraternities
67
6 Acceptance Freedom and Identity Construction in Black GreekLetter Fraternities
95
Beyond the Fraternal Self
113
Appendix
121
Notes
129
Bibliography
143
Index
155
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Ricky L. Jones is Associate Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville.

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