The “LAST BLACK SAE”… I hate that name.

Four days ago, I was just a guy. A Husband, a father, and a son. Four days ago,  I was Anonymous. I liked Anonymous. Now, I’m “The LAST BLACK SAE…”


By now you know, a fraternity I was involved with was caught on camera chanting a horrifically insensitive chant. My outrage birthed a letter. An essay describing my grief and disappointment in something I lost. Not a house; not letters; but a culture I felt somehow purposely placed to help create. But that is not the story I’m getting to tell.

NoLabels“Mr. James, now let me get this straight, you were the last Black SAE, right?” “What was your initial reaction to those videos?”

I get it. That’s exciting television. I was “interesting” because a letter I wrote showed that I had a “unique perspective in this tragic situation.”

Here’s the thing though, we don’t agree on what the tragic situation was. Those words in that chant were DEPLORABLE. That is fairly obvious and has now been beaten to death. What’s tragic is there was a time at 730 College where a group of guys that nobody else wanted made the conscious decision to be something more, and that legacy has been erased.

See, by the time I got there, we knew we had something. We were from small towns. Large cities. Some people had money. Some people didn’t. Yes, there were only two African American men there at the time, but there were men from Middle Eastern decent, Latino Americans, Greeks (the real kind), some guys from Altus, a Venezuelan (fact checked), etc. and yes a whole lot of “White guys.”

NO: we did not walk in those doors all at the same level of progression. Not about race. Not about probably much of anything. But we chose to educate each other when our ignorance came out. We would check each other, like gentlemen should, when one steps across a line. You know, that whole speaking with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy thing. Whatever any of us went through, and we went through a lot, we went through it together. We thought maybe this Fraternity thing can be real, and even though we may be different in various physical ways, we can see each other as ONE. We bought in … it worked! We did something amazing because eventually we stopped looking at each other and seeing labels. A tiny glimpse of The Dream as I believe it was intended.

Then the Nightmare…

Now the NEW label: LAST BLACK SAE.

I hate that name. It started to squeeze the life out of me. You see, by nature, I am an extremely private individual. I’m an introvert. I have never liked the spot light or attention. Yet, there I was. There was a weight to it.

But then something happened…

Someone helped me realize that out of this response to my very personal disappointment, I’d been given a voice. For some reason, even though it is something I try to avoid, I have been placed in a spotlight…

I have your attention.

So here is my intention:

Let this start REAL conversations about race relations in America. Don’t settle for the same conversations we’ve been having. In these politically correct times, we have been arguing about which labels to use to describe each other. We argue about who can use which labels and when. But that has gotten us nowhere. SO LETS ATTACK THE LABELS. When we keep focus on the label we never see the people behind them.

To have a REAL conversation. We need a REAL education.

So this is what I am doing with my moment:

This special moment in time I’ve been given when a tragic situation led this Father, Husband, and Son in front of your television screens, iPhone screens, tablets.

I am giving it to someone else…

My brother in law sent me a link to a video on RACE and Understanding Labels given by Chaplain Michael Polite from Andrews University. Once I saw it… I knew… This is what I have to do.

Here is our education. Here is the start of a real conversation.

Please watch this video. Give it…15 minutes. Look at our labels, even the ones we hold so dear, with new eyes.

>>watch video here:

Then tune in Monday,  3-16-15, to CNN tonight with Don Lemon where I will attack one label once and for all.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice.” T.S. Eliot


photo credit: Oh My Dear Photography


  1. Maybe you can change that to be the last decent Kappa SAE. I wrote in when you first published your article about there never being another Black SAE. Was never involved in the Greek system at Oklahoma as I attended and received two post graduate degrees. Received my undergraduate at TAMU which does not recogniz the Greek system, but it was present in a small way as compared to most larger Universities. This topic of racism in the Greek system has really been on my mind this week and have been somewhat obsessive in researching and watching other videos, especially the sorority system at Alabama and the Selma events of 50 years ago. I have also watched your interviews on televisions. In the end, I do not know you personally, but I am proud of you sir! You have represented our University with pride, control, and the understanding of a educated person.

    There is a quote from Martin Luther King that I read many years ago that may help you to forgive them and understand them better…”We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate out enemies.”

    In the end, you will have to forgive them for making you become what you call is the Last Black SAE as I am sure there is some GOOD in them despite their evil actions. I am sure those two gentleman have a bigger name tag to carry than you in the end. Definitely a little more embarrasing. The last White SAE’s at Oklahoma if President Boren gets his way. They have been identified in the Media (I will not place their names on your blog out of respect to your family) and are both from the Dallas Highland park area fom what seems is very wealthy families. For the rest of their lifes as students (eventually), and then as professionals and as family men with children (and have to explain to them their father’s infamous past), this badge of dishonor will be on them unless they erase it with actions much greater than saturday night. it will be a lifetime of work on their part to not be remembered alway for what they did.

    There are only two things that ALL humans have in common. We are born alone and we die alone. What we do in between defines the type of person we are and will be known for once we are gone. I do not think when you leave this earth you will be only thought of a the last Black Sae, but as a decent human, a loving husband and father, and a person who showed just restraint during a trying time in your life. It is my hope you find peace with what occurred as well as I hope that the two expelled students hopefully will not be remembered for their actions Saturday. What they do from this point forward will ultimately define their own journey and how they will be remembered many years from now. Just remember that they have a much,much steeper slope to ascend the rest of their lifes to make up for one night of horrible behavior. You are already on the high road they will try to get to and may never reach. They have a chance, if they are brave, to effectuate some change if they desire.

    With all sincerity I do hope you eventually forgive these persons, find peace with where you find yourself, and forgive them. It will be a long, hard process. But remeber Mr. King’s quote above, he who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love AND their is good even in the worst of us.

    I will again tell you that you and your family have people out here praying for you. May god bless you and those dearest to you!

  2. Wow! You are an inspiration! I watched some of the video of Chaplain Michael Polite you posted and I can’t wait to watch the rest of it. All I can say is this really excites and inspires me with hope for the future in America. Let’s keep this conversation going. God bless you!

  3. you weren’t the “last” though. There was a black SAE who I believe graduated last year or the previous year. I think it’s important that this title stops because it is untrue

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