"Being a minority in a majority situation"
Berris, Barbre Skwira
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The current literature on Greek-lettered organizations mainly focuses on alcohol use, substance abuse, sexual misconduct, and hazing, whereas important but rarely discussed issues of race, constructs of segregated organizations, and cross-racial membership are consistently excluded from research. A review of the literature revealed only a few researchers who directly study cross-racial membership in Greek-lettered organization. The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of Black women in historically White Greek-lettered organizations at three predominately White institutions within sixty miles of a southeastern metropolitan city. The study also explored the factors influencing the decision of the women to seek membership in the organizations and how they navigated their experience within their organization. Specifically, through this dissertation, the researcher sought to provide insight for higher education professionals addressing issues related to membership diversity within historically White Greek-lettered organizations. Phenomenological methodology was used as the research approach for this dissertation study. The study was grounded within Allport’s (1954/1979) intergroup contact hypothesis. Additionally, critical race theory was utilized to provide an additional perspective for the discussion. Data analysis followed the general qualitative study process outlined by Creswell (2008) with an incorporation of Patton (2002) and Moustakas’s (1994) methods. Through in-depth, semi structured interviews with seven Black women members of historically White Greek lettered organizations, four themes were identified during the data analysis process: 1) equal group status, 2) friendship potential, 3) pursuit of common goals through intergroup cooperation, and 4) support of authorities. The implications for practice and future research related to the discussion of cross-racial membership in Greek-lettered organizations were discussed.