Friday, November 29, 2013

Devil Dogs & Q Dogs - Are There Connections Between These Two Referents?

Edited by Azizi Powell

UPDATE: August 6, 2016

This is Part II of a two part series on the influence of the United States military on historically Black Greek lettered fraternity & sorority steppin.

This post provides information about the military referent "devil dogs" and the informal referent "Q Dogs" for persons associated with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

This post also includes comments about the term "dog" being used by Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and the term "dogmatic" being used by members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Click for Part I of this series.

Part I provides excerpts about this subject and several videos that illustrate points that were made in those excerpts.

This content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and historical purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

The reason/s why persons associated with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. call themselves Q Dogs may be one of the secrets that only members of that organization know- or only fully know. Yet, there's published information online and off-line that purports to explain why "Q Dog" is used, while emphasizing that this is not an official term for members of that fraternity. Some of those excerpts are cited or linked to in this post.

I respect that BGLO members have the right to keep their secrets. But, as a community folklorist, I'm interested in searching for, documenting, and sharing cultural content, including speculation. I'm concerned that too much secrecy in historically Black Greek letter organizations may mean that what is known and experienced now may be lost to future generations, just as I'm sure we've lost or forgotten much of our cultural past.

As as an admittedly long inactive member of a historically Black Greek letter organization-Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Gamma Zeta chapter, 1966), I debated for some time whether to publish a post on this subject, but I've decided to go ahead and do so, in the interest of the folkloric record.

(These excerpts are presented in no particular order and are numbered for reference purposes.)
Excerpt #1
"Devil Dog is a motivational nickname for a U.S. Marine. It is said to be based on the apocryphal use of "Teufel Hunden" [sic] by German soldiers to describe Marines fighting in World War I...

...The April 27th article from the LaCrosse Tribune was probably referring to the action on April 20, 1918, the first action between the Marines and the Germans. The Germans made several attacks against the Marines on that date and were unable to dislodge them. The article states that it was the first scrap between the Marines and the Germans, showing that it was prior to the major fighting in June.
The term "Devil Dog" has its origins at Belleau Wood. It was in a dispatch from the German front lines to their higher headquarters explaining the current battle conditions that described the fighting abilities of the new, fresh Americans as fighting like "Teufel Hunden" or "Hounds from Hell.

The term "Devil Dog" is a very common nickname for all Marines. "Devil Dog" is historically a well-accepted term of endearment, as a title of honor. The "dog" in the phrase is usually associated with the bulldog, in line with the original 1918 poster, such as the bulldog being a common mascot in the Corps."...
Culturally, bulldogs are considered to be tenacious & ferocious when challenged or when called upon to protect someone or something. I think that this is the core attributes of the miltary nickname "devil dog" and I think that this may be one of the reasons why persons associated with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. are called "Dogs". Note that the bulldog is also the breed of dog that is associated with that fraternity. Read Part I of this series about the influence of the United States military on historically Black Greek lettered organizations. I would be surprised if persons associated with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity weren't aware of the history of and the positive associations of the military devil dogs. However, there is a historical reason for the use of "dogs" in association with Ques besides the possible connection with the Marine "devil dog" nickname.

Excerpt #2
From Soulstepping: African American Step Shows by Elizabeth C. Fine (University of Illinois Press (2007, p 167)
“Pledging rituals photographed during the 1940s and 1950 reveal the linear formations of pledges marching in line*. The first pictures of Greek activities appeared in the 1940s. The 1943 [Howard Year Book] Bison included several unlabeled photographs of fraternity and sorority pledges on-line and a fraternity engaged in a public skit. Twelve young men in suits and ties, with dog collars and long chains around their necks, pose behind the university’s sundial (“the Dial”), traditional gathering spot for Omega Psi Phi (the “Q dogs”). The Omegas unofficially adopted the dog as their mascot (the mascot of Howard University before 1920 was a bulldog), and many members howled and used canine symbols.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity was founded November 17, 1911 on the campus of Howard University.
I wonder if the bulldog was selected as Howard University's mascot before 1918, that is before the Marine's devil dog nickname was coined or was it selected after that nickname & its bulldog poster were publicized. It may be just a coincidence that Howard University's mascot before 1920 was a bulldog and that same breed of dog is the symbol of the Marine's devil dog referent. But maybe this isn't a coincidence at all...

Excerpt #3
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity: The Mighty Second District
“Myths abound about the meanings of certain words, phrases and activities often practiced by Omega men. One myth is the origin of the title “Quedog”. To date, no documented proof of the initiation of this term to describe members of the fraternity has been found. The term used by many as a term of endearment is not an official term in the Omega vocabulary. Also of note is the reference to the symbol of the Bulldog. The origins of this symbol are as mysterious as the myths of the ancient Egyptian Pyramids. No matter what you hear, the bulldog is not the official mascot of the fraternity.”

Excerpt #4
From University of Oregon: Black Greek Letter Organizations
4. What's the distinction between an "Omega Man" & a "Que Dog"?

An "Omega Man" is the name sake term bestowed upon members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. once their members join the organization. A "Que-Dog" is a mythical term used to identify pledges while on line during the final stage of the pledge process. It's important to understand that "Que Dogs", canine calls, and camouflage paraphenelia doesn't directly reflect the enitre outlook of the organization as set in the guideline by the Grand Chapter. *Please note* Never address or call a member of Omega a "Que-Dog" for it is rather disrespectful. In essence "MEMBERSHIP HAS IT'S PRIVLEDGES!"

4b. "Why the DOG image"?

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. does not have, nor has it ever endorsed, a mascot of any type to be representative of the organization. So why do so many Omega Men like the "dog" image? "WE ARE NOT DOGS even though those who misunderstand us would view us otherwise because we possess a dawg-matic determination to make changes and the tenacity to see them through, the loyalty of man's best friend and the guardianship to protect the ones we truely love."

This analogy was written by the chapter members of Fayetteville State.
In addition to the attributes mentioned above, there's no question that another cultural meaning attributed to "men as dogs" is closely tied with masculinity and heterosexual attraction and sexual activity. There's also no doubt that -at least publicly- those sexual connotations are a prominent part of the Q nickname as evident in the widely heard term "Nasty Dawgs" that Ques use for themselves. Witness the Ques's reaction to George Clinton's 1982 massive hit Funk record "Atomic Dog". That record is widely considered the Ques' unofficial anthem. Perhaps that record is the reason why the "nasty dog" connotation of "Q dogs" appears to be the symbolism for dog that is most publicly emphasized by Ques and by other BGLO members regarding Ques. Or perhaps that record was just a fortuitous, perfect fit that reflected the public ascendancy of that sexual connotation over all the other symbolism associated with the word "dog".

Perhaps those of us who aren't members of Omega Psi Phi, Inc. will never know what "dogs" really mean with regard to that organization, but I bet it means more than nasty dogs.

ADDED - August 5, 2016
Comment #1:
From the discussion thread for this YouTube video: Omega Psi Phi Que Doggs
George m, 2016
"These POGES need to stop barking, they STOLE that Bulldog bark from us the Marine Corps, they are NOT a TRUE brotherhood WE ARE! throw a grenade in the middle of that crowd and see if a q dog belly flops on top of it, I THINK NOT! The Marine Corps have been doing that WAR BARK a lot longer than you have, THATS WHY WE ARE DEVIL DOGS!!!! You guys are Pathetic, do something constructive instead of Hazing and popping each other in the Ass which is what you guys do seeing as you are a Greek club."

Comment #2:
PerroLoco, 11-17-2005
..."Omegas carried canes while on line at one time, but we do not claim that as our heritage or tradition. It belongs to the Nupes, because they kept it and made it an integral part of their CONTINUOUS persona.

At one time all freshman at Howard were called "dogs" til they achieve upperclassmen status. The Omegas and the Sigmas continued that designation with their pledges during Hell Week, but it was Omega who incorporated the DOG as an integral poart of who they are and what they stand for. For the Sigmas that I have known personally from roomates to co-workers of every era, neuther the DOG, nor the CANE was that Significant to their SENSE OF SELF AS A SIGMA.

So all of the PBS claiming these things as part of their history may be true but it was never a huge or defining part from what Sigmas made in the 50's, 60's, 70's and '80's tell me or what I experienced with my dorm-mate. I saw my dorm-mate as a Dog during his Hell Week, but that is where any canine reference ended or association with PBS. His Hell Week was completely different from mine as a Dog of Omega. Night and Day."...

Comment #3: Senusret I, 11-17-2005
"Canine is the word that means of or relating to dogs.

Dogmatic has nothing to do with dogs. It basically means when someone holds tight to an opinion. (Like religious dogma.)

Not trying to be a smart ass, it's just one of my top five pet peeves about Greek life, including the misuse of words "discrete" and "discreet.""

Comment #4: marquise1911, 12-08-2006
Location: Miami, FL
"Umm. I hate for this to be my come back post, but WT_**?? Sigmas were not the first with the canes, not the first to step with them, not the first to use them. Go ahead, check Howard's history. Our first colored canes appeared in 1953, but our founders and members have been carying them since the early history of our fraternity. Sigmas didn't even start using canse until the late 60's. I dare you to find anything with PBS and canes older than that.

Now as far as being Dogmatic or using the dog. WE ALL DID!!! At one point in time all pledges were called dogs and that's why some Omegas get offended when u call them Q-dogs. To be a dog means ur still pledging. The Ques took that image and ran with it. We let it go. They can have it. so stop crying about it."
In case it's not clear, this blogger is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

**This profanity abbreviation is fully spelled out in that comment.

Comment #5:
DSTCHAOS, 12-08-2006
"LOL. Senruset, I wonder why folks started using "dogmatic" like this. Was there a song lyric that confused people, or something? Who can I blame...George Clinton? Snoop Dog?"

*Some of the comments that are quoted here are included in another pancocojams series on stepping with canes. Click for the first post of this three part series. The other links are found in that post.

These videos are given in no particular order.

In these videos notice the vertical line with one person on the side giving commands, similar to a military drill sergeant. Also, notice the army (military) fatigues and the combat boots (although the boots are sprayed gold since gold and purple are the colors of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity).

In addition, notice the gold chain dog collars the men joining Omega wear in their probate (i.e. their introduction to the world as new members of that fraternity.) And notice the bark that is one of the signature calls of Omega Psi Phi.

Example #1: Atomic Dog at the Centennial Conclave


Darryl Blackwell, Uploaded on Aug 21, 2011
The Bruhs hoppin' to Atomic Dog in DC at the Centennial Clave.
Example #2: Omega Psi Phi (Fall 2012 SCSU Bulldog Showcase)

Terrell Harmon, Published on Aug 21, 2012
Xi Psi Chapter

Example #3: Motivation: Que Dogs Step

SundogQ , Uploaded on May 26, 2011

Que Dogs Step @ benefit Car Wash hype up party

Example #4: Best Probate Ever!!! Omega Psi Phi

thesouthjerseyrock , Published on Dec 19, 2014

Best Probate Ever!!! Omega Psi Phi on the campus of Rowan University! Omega Psi Phi pledge song in the spirit of Kevin McCall by Trevant McCloud.

Example #5: Que Probate (Raw footage) - University Of West Georgia

West Georgia Highlights, Published on Apr 9, 2014

Raw footage of the Que Probate at The University Of West Georgia.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post, to those who are featured in these videos and to the publishers of these videos.

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Visitor comments are welcome.

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