Volume 33: Life's Role Reversals...

“While we flatter ourselves that things remain the same, they are changing under our very eyes from year to year, from day to day.” -Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I’m sitting here thinking about life’s role reversals: The In-crowd V.S. The Social Outcasts. Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Growing up, I was never a part of the stereotypical In-Crowd; I was never the traditional jock, although I loved sports. And although friendly, I was never the poster boy for popularity or a social butterfly. I was somewhat of a youth who could relate to all types of other kids. I was a friend to the friendless- a confidant to a geek who would fall victim to a barrage of insults and jokes from other kids, and then someone selected for a quick game of basketball at the neighborhood courts by the stereotypical jocks.

One of the most interesting things that I’ve seen over the course of years, are the role reversals of the In-Crowd and The Social Outcasts. The in-crowd is that small group of people or organization who are fashionable, popular or powerful, but who don’t let many other people join them. They appear exclusive and influential and many others want to be a part because of their perceived prestige. Growing up, the most intelligent kids in school were usually socially awkward. Their academic prowess was usually credited to having stricter parents, who didn’t allow them to do much outside of school. Most of their families were God-fearing and their extra curricular activities may have involved things that were primarily rooted in education or things relating to church- such as the youth choir, boy scouts, or some kind of academic affiliation. The in-crowds that I knew growing up often had younger parents than mine-who probably could relate to our generation better-so they were allowed to do more things during their free time. They had the latest video games, they stayed outside later; and overall had more of a friendlier relationship with their parents. They dressed better because their parents were well dressed and knew of the latest trends. When the parents of the social outcasts cringed at the prices of $60 sneakers, the parents of the In-crowd gladly shelled out $125 for the latest Jordan brand sneakers.

As we all get older, the social outcasts do what they do best; they continue to be prolific students. They earn the grades necessary to gain admission into the best High Schools. While in high school, they still reflect some of those same socially awkward traits that they had before. The first two years of high school are hell. They survive the infamous freshman day hazing from their predecessors and the rejection from the upper classmen of the opposite sex. By their junior year, The In-crowd is at the zenith of their popularity. Jocks are peaking at this age. Many have experienced sex and the socially awkward teens are ridiculed for their lack of savvy with the opposite sex. The same awkward male that can make sense of Hamlet or can explain a Trigonometry equation in a classroom before his peers, considers it an insurmountable task to ask an attractive female to his prom.

Things begin to change after the high school years for the social outcasts. The outward appearances of the women begin to change. People begin to pay attention to them. The braces come off, and many of them now have a job; their earnings enable them to purchase nicer clothes. At a College or University, it’s no longer un-cool to be intelligent. Shit, brilliance is now a major turn on. Suddenly, a dumb jock is laughed at behind his back. People stereotype him and realize that his time is running out. They know that if he doesn’t get drafted to play some type of professional sport, he’ll likely be nothing more than someone who holding on to his past glory-a modern day Al Bundy. The female who was part of that in-crowd has now neglected the very same things that she came to college for…education. It’s all about a quick come up. Every year a new get rich quick plan. The athletes have already had her and they’ve moved on-her value worth little more than back-seat back shots. A man that has found success sees her, and then sees someone with real drive and ambition; someone who didn’t have to endure several years of promiscuity to get there. It’s a no brainer who he chooses. It becomes amazing how the roles have reversed. When they’re young, image is so important. The in-crowd looks at the social outcasts as “losers” because they lack the charisma and do not have the social prowess that they have. Years later, their intelligence has them in quite a position. Because of their intelligence, they now have the best jobs, which are producing the type of revenue, which makes them sought after individuals. And now it is themas life is kicking their ass-and it’s the former in-crowd who has now become the social outcast’s! Now the corporate exec or Businesswoman looks at them and thinks, “Wow…what a loser.” The success stories now have the world at their feet. They are now the in-crowd, and only a select few may now join them. that look at faces from the past-

As a member of a historically black fraternity, I also bear witness to the role reversals of the African American man and woman in college. It’s amazing. You have a man. He’s a broke as a $2 wristwatch. This man will also have no personality-no ambition or savvy. This man can also have below-average looks and be a total failure with the ladies. Add the fact that he is neither intelligent by most people’s standards and has a horrible attitude. Throw in the fact that he has the physical physique of a man who is the 10-year champion of a pie-eating contest and has no sense of fashion. Only in Greekdom, can a man of this stature…join a fraternity and suddenly have a bunch of people who actually want to be around him. Only in greekdom can a man like this suddenly have women willing to sleep with him and people wanting to befriend him. Only in greekdom will you have so many individuals with so little to offer prior to membership, become the best thing on campus since on-line courses. It’s amazing.

It’s no wonder that so many greeks become entangled in what I call “Perennial Peter-Pan Syndrome.” That’s when people don’t wanna grow up. Many don’t wish to leave college and those who do leave college, don’t wish to let go of their Undergraduate mentality. You’ll have greeks who pledged in the early to mid 90’s, who still actively attend and stroll at undergraduate parties in 2009. Why?only place where they still matter. Greek life is a microcosmone thing. Money. No one in Corporate America cares about “how hard” one pledged on line. Your supervisor could care less that you “were a solo”. And your colleagues are not impressed by your National Step Show Championships. You were a celebrity on your campus. Everyone wanted to know what you and your organization were doing. Everyone wanted to emulate you. Today, you’re viewed as a loser-and here…you’re just that idiot that people laugh at. Many Greeks recognize this and have an increasingly difficult time letting go. Can you think of any other outlets where someone who has nothing maintains celebrity status? Of course, all greeks are not this way. Allare. The sad thing is that when you come into these organizations looking for an identity and looking to define yourself-you will not only face the fact that greek life will not provide an identity for you…you will become more confused than you’ve ever been. You will actually begin to believe the hype. You will actually be naïve enough to think they your newfound family cares about you. You will actually be naïve enough to believe that when these women offer themselves up…that it really has anything to do with you… Because their respective alma maters are the of reality and in the real world it’s all about greeks are not people searching aimlessly to belong and yearning for an identity-but there are far too many who

In the bible, a day is described in which “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Life is filled with role reversals. Sometimes it can come in the form of an unattractive youth, who through the years becomes a heartthrob or radiant goddess. One can have a financial conversion-a modern day rags to riches story. Sometimes those who are considered cool early on in life, end up living in their Mini-van down by the river 20 years later. Whatever outcome or role reversal that life may have in store for you, remember to always treat people right. You never know how much things can change in a matter of years.

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…

Note: These are simply random thoughts that I had one day on this matter. In no way, shape or form am I insinuating that popular greeks today will become tomorrow’s welfare abusers (Although we all know that some will). I am not insinuating that a popular female who terrorizes those less fortunate will end up a whore or video vixen (although I’m willing to bet that most have similar beginnings). I am simply someone who is expressing his thoughts on the matter. There are always exceptions to the rule. I am simply speaking on my experiences on the in-crowds and social outcasts from my youth and with the emergence of social networking tools, such as myspace, twitter, and facebook-where I am beginning to see the role reversals through the reconnection of old peers.

I really wanna write a book now…but I don’t know what to write about! LMAO Any suggestions?!? Futre Random Thoughts Coming very soon…