Guzman-Buchness: Dear Greek System
I am sick of your abuse. You make me need you, you hurt my friends and I keep coming back.
I was vulnerable when we first met, and you took advantage of that. I wanted friends and to meet cool upperclassmen. I craved a social space of my own and to be a part of something more. I wanted to expand my experiences, blow past the academics and explore. People vouched for you, saying that I should give you a try. You were the lover of all lovers. You could give me friends, fun and a place, but at a price.
Our highs were incredible. Our raging dance parties, topless pong games and most importantly, the people I met through you were more than what I wanted. You were so sexy, but also so sneaky. You slipped me all these privileges, so that I couldn’t break up with you. I wanted you and you wanted me, and you knew how to keep me for yourself — you took away my agency.
It was because you liked these friends, these brothers, these sisters that I was willing to open up to them. I gave them chances I don’t normally give. You screened and judged them based on their gender, class, race, weight, and social skills. They wanted to impress you and we were willing to do anything so long as you accepted them. Instead, you crushed them. One of my friends tried three times to fall into your good graces and you still rejected him. He left Dartmouth for an entire year because he thought he must have been “messed up.” Another one of my friends you rejected is now suffering from clinical depression because she doesn’t think she is “worthy to be here.” Two weeks ago, she threatened to take her life away.
You were deciding who I met and I noticed you kept matching me with white people, with people who are just like me or with people almost just like me. You love segregation. You love it so much, you’ve encouraged that I adopt it. The people down by the gym are A-side, while the people up frat row are B-side. I’m spreading your ideologies now. You’ve got me making flash judgments when I see someone wearing your initials, your letters. You’ve given them a tag, a brand endowed with social capital, and now I associate worth with those brands. I’m grossed out by your sick exclusivity and power to divide. You make me feel like I’m in high school again.
But I keep coming back because it feels like there is nothing else on this campus. You feel like my only option to have a social life, which has scared me from breaking up with you. Ever since I realized I was the privileged type you liked, I’ve wanted to de-pledge my commitment to you. I am a white-passing, intellectual, good-humored, attractive person, who had little control over the life that made me this way. I am your perfect lover, victim and accomplice. Every house here and sweatshirt carries your symbol, and it feels easier to be with you then to leave you. I am captive to you. I’ve grown to accept your abuse. But my stomach hurts too much now when I think of who I’ve become and how much I have compromised myself to be with you. I can’t take it anymore. You’ve taught me so much, which is why I have to leave. We are through, Greek System. I’m escaping your grasp, and you won’t hold me back.
Deby Guzman-Buchness '15 is a guest columnist.