Lay Off Soror Barbie!

Don't let outdated stereotypes about AKAs stop us from celebrating the new black doll.

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It is the wealth of talent that women across generations bring to Alpha Kappa Alpha that has sustained the sorority for 100 years. Reducing AKAs to little more than a group of women linked by skin color and hair length—a group of women who could "pass a paper bag test"—is not only demeaning and offensive, but it dismisses the continuing relevance of black Greek-letter organizations.


My own interest in Alpha Kappa Alpha was sparked when I was a little girl, blissfully unaware of the politics of skin color.


I couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 years old when a Girl Scout leader asked me if my mother was an AKA, saying that she resembled one of her sorors. I idolized the Girl Scout leader and decided that one day I, too, would be an AKA.


Ten years ago, my dream of joining the sorority came true. I felt that I'd come full circle when I was finally able to address the Girl Scout leader who had been one of my inspirations as "Soror."


I have come to truly appreciate the ties that bind. I've moved three times since 2001, more than that when I include summer internships. Alpha Kappa Alpha helped anchor me to those new communities; the sorors I met in those new cities helped bring me closer to Alpha Kappa Alpha. They've played a huge role in my decision to remain financially active and in contact with sorors from my college days and beyond.