David Pescovitz at 2:03 pm Thu, Dec 6, 2012
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David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.
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Sororities and Fraternities… why do those even still exist? Just to give the ignorant throwbacks a place to go?
It’s where the out of touch can keep in touch with each other.
Every college freshman is out of touch. Penn State is an enormous campus that gets kids from all over America, and a lot of them probably feel utterly lost when they arrive. Letting them have a combination party club and mutual-aid society is not a bad thing.
My son will be college-age in a few years, and dognose where he’ll be going. Far away, I hope. And I intend to urge him to join a fraternity, because maybe somebody will have his back when I can’t.
Penn State is an enormous campus that gets kids from all over America…
Yes, just look at the diversity in that picture! I think I even spotted an Asian girl!
And as our family has learned from similar situations….she was probably adopted into a white family living in some suburb somewhere. Just because we can see one or two people with slightly darker skin doesn’t mean their upbringing wasn’t entirely based on white privilege anyway.
Just can’t get that real-life Asian experience in college any more, huh?
Whatareya, blind? They’re all clearly Mexican.
There are alternatives to fraternities. One popular option is the “special interest” dorm. I went to a large university and lived in the “fine arts” dorm; other dorms at my school included an international living dorm, an environmentalist dorm, etc. I had a great time. These living arrangements have all the advantages of frats and sororities (a smaller, more close-knit social group within the larger school) and none of the disadvantages (sexism, racism, alcoholism, etc).
Really? College kids without sexism, racism, and alcoholism? Where is this magical land?
Well, i’m sure there are plenty in the USA (but i can’t speak of what i don’t know), at least it exists in other countries (for sexism and racism).
I existed as part of a sizable group on campus that lacked sexism, racism, and alcoholism (of the egregious sort, anyway). It was at the University of Rochester, a great school, and a school for nerds – and not the MIT/CalTech stereotype sexist nerds.
I also didn’t have a particularly enjoyable social experience at college.
My school was Cornell. But special interest dorms can be found at campuses all over the country. If you’re not personally/emotionally attached to the notion of “Greek system or nothing,” you can tell your son to look into this option too.
But special interest dorms can be found at campuses all over the country.
Doesn’t every college in the US have a dorm called Rivendell or something similar?
lorq: Actually, my college was almost frat-free, so I’m no raging greek apologist. But I had good friends who were in frats, and I hung out and saw the good side of those guys. I guess that’s horrifying, but it’s true.
In my experience with special interest dorms, they’re usually populated by artsy kids and geeks and have fewer issues with sexism, racism, and alcoholism than frats. They also throw good parties — the kinds where you don’t necessarily have to funnel or do keg stands to feel like you’re participating and where groping and date rape seem at least a little less likely.
Rice University does something similar with its Residential College system, though I think it’s almost totally random which college a student ends up in. But that’s even better from a diversity point of view. Still plenty of booze though. Rice has always been a hard drinking school.
Better yet, try a co-op. A nice, ganja-odor co-op.
And I intend to urge him to join a fraternity, because maybe somebody will have his back when I can’t.
Apparently, you don’t realize the the only purpose of fraternities and sororities is bulk discounts on crack and Jägermeister.
Well I do hope he stays off crack, but a few raging hangovers can be highly educational. I’d start his education right now if he didn’t have a mother.
Penn State ranks pretty high among campuses in which those “lessons” end in alcohol-related deaths. And the odds of such an occurrence skyrocket when a student is a member of a fraternity.
This American Life did not one, but two stories, two years apart, about the partying culture at Penn State. Neither was reassuring.
And is there a good reason why you’d say “a few raging hangovers can be highly educational”? Shouldn’t one be enough for a reasonably intelligent kid? For that matter, do you insist your kids reinvent the wheel rather than maybe learning from the mistakes of others?
Then his mother is silly. My Dad taught me to drink, because in his words, “If you don’t teach your children to drink, they’ll do it wrong.”
I think I could say that my mother taught me to drink and still function the next day, and my father fortunately didn’t manage to teach me how to drink yourself to death at 55. Particularly fortunate since I’m now 55.
(@boingboing-096f32c997988c54d6d7c09ff0be4d32:disqus) The worst part is that even if you haven’t had one raging hangover and you’re pretty sure you don’t ever need one, they expect you to get one anyway… lots of them, even. I guess the lesson is, “Your friends are fucking morons and so are you, if you care what they think.” But honestly, I really hate that lesson.
It’s probably about average for the UK that my first raging hangover was at age 14. It’s pretty middle class that I was at my friend’s house and his parents had bought the cider on condition that we didn’t leave the house with it.
Since I’d drunk enough to make myself sick a few times before starting university I knew when to stop and was generally a bit more responsible than I might have been otherwise.
So you’re going to urge your child to join a fraternity in the hopes that it will be an experience that teaches the child not to drink to excess?
That really is the dumbest thing I’ve heard…probably since the last time I stepped foot inside a fraternity.
”Letting them have a combination party club and mutual-aid society is not a bad thing.”
If you really need a “club” for that, i’d say it’s pretty sad.
I don’t mean to be a know-it-all, but speaking just from what I’ve seen… if he joins an academic club or a specialty dorm, they might have his back when you can’t. But the frats are only likely to have his liver.
Where else would all the ‘popular’ boys and girls in high school go to check the social pecking order status of each other?
Eh, I dunno. This is a bunch of idiot, overprivileged college kids doing something dumb. They are also in a sorority. I don’t know that there’s a very strong argument to support the idea that the fact that they’re in a sorority caused them to do the dumb thing, except for the fact that the likelihood of a dumb thing happening seems to increase whenever college kids gather without supervision into a large group of any kind, whether it’s a social club, a sports team, or a party.
There are almost definitely certain cases where certain social clubs have helped institutionalize prejudice or other negative behavior, but that doesn’t make it logical to object to the entire idea of a social club. Unless you’re proposing that college kids simply shouldn’t associate in groups of more than 5, there’s not much logic to blaming the institution of sororities or fraternities – rather than the prejudices and lack of judgement of the college kids themselves – every time something dumb happens.
Yeah, your average “Greek” student is just like all the other students.
Or we could note the fairly uniform skin tone and draw reasonable conclusions about this specific sort of social club.
So your point is, these girls formed a (nearly) all-white sorority, which is racist, therefore sororities make girls racist?
You’ve got cause and effect backwards. A racist community made up of racist individuals is going to have a tendency to produce racist social institutions – the problem with the whole picture is the racism, not the concept of having social instituions.
… So stop hassling me about this white robe and coned mask. It’s just a social club.
Institutionalized idiocy strikes me as being both more problematic and more solvable than individual idiocy.
Solvable how? Getting rid of the institutions because they make visible a widespread social fault would be a pretty pathetic way to (not at all) address the social fault.
I don’t think getting rid of corrupt institution is pathetic at all. ”Schools” like PSU breed this kind of behavior.
“School?” Penn State is mostly considered to be an actual, functioning, well-regarded university. Not sure how it merits the quotes.
@ChicagoD:disqus Yeah, this photo is pretty much the only negative thing to come out of PSU in a while. Go JoePa!
@ChicagoD:disqus Just to check if my peers and I are wrong about how bad PSU is, I checked the rankings:
#46 in public universities (USN), #129 in ROI (payscale.com)… not that I trust USN ranking, but it’s mediocre at best, and my first-hand impression is as bad as it gets – this news of racism doesn’t surprise me at all.
Hmmm….getting rid of the institutions…dude, I think you might have hit upon a solution, and no, I do not think your idea of abolishing the Greek system is pathetic at all.
“Getting rid of the institutions because they make visible a widespread social fault would be a pretty pathetic way to (not at all) address the social fault.”
This IS how the social fault is addressed, systemically.
To make life less hellish for those who live in the dorms?
That’s one type of fraternity. Others focus on community service or leadership development. I know – those rarely make the teen movies where we get most of our cultural knowledge from…
Bill, I spent my college years in both small town midwest liberal arts land AND in Big Giant Midwestern University town. Also lived in said places for several years after graduating. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen a hint of a Frat that had anything to do with community service or leadership development.
Just my own experience though.
Alpha Phi Omega is a national, co-ed service fraternity.
I have absolutely no experience with any fraternities like that. You can blame the media but I suspect there’s more to it than that.
They also don’t cause as much ruckus for idiots like myself who move next to the frat houses. (some background)
Here’s something from Matt Groening’s “School is Hell”.
I first saw this just before I went to college, and remember thinking “I’m sure this happens but it doesn’t seem fair to paint everyone with the same brush because of a few bad apples.”
After I got there I changed my mind, and pretty quickly. I guess it’s fair to say I’m pretty closed-minded, at least when it comes to the Greek system.
Maybe it got better after I left but this happened while I was there.
The same sorts of people who dine at Señor Frogs for the authenticity when they’re on Spring Break in Mexico.
Funny, the Spanish that popped into my head only had two syllables.
It would have been great if the name of their sorority was Chi Chi Theta :P
Caballero, ha ganado usted un internet!
college kids did something stupid? HUGE news
There’s some aspect to this partying that goes beyond regular college stupidity…….I just can’t put my finger on what it is…..
Let me tell you, in terms of idiocy, PSU is in a class of its own.
A very, very special class.
Poor day laborers. Get it!? Get it?!
The photo is a symptom of a much wider cultural attitude.
Punishing the natural expression of the culture does not address the underlying causes nor does it bring a different thinking… only teaches hypocrisy.
In what respect?
The cultural attitude is racism. The expression, whether it is natural (like you suggest) or learned, is something that needs to be stamped out. And perhaps the underlying cause is that these students haven’t been held accountable for racist actions in the past.
I don’t understand where you think that holding these students accountable for being assholes is teaching them hypocrisy. Please explain.
Don’t you see? We can’t blame the perpetrators of one act of racism when it isn’t stamped out everywhere else yet!!
Instead of censoring the n word for example, we could create experiences cultivating understanding, tolerance and connection. If we think as racists, act as racists, support racist policies but don’t use a few token words and carefully avoid showing our attitude in public (+ punish our children for being less restrained), that’s hypocrisy.
The way out is to admit we live in a society that is racist and use a legal system that supports that attitude and start taking steps to change things.
Being a white male, if someone tells me I am racist, my answer would be “and sexist.”
Racism is more than just using certain words, it is seeing the world in a certain way, presuming certain things. Living in a culture where slavery was OK until a few generations ago, where people who grew up during segregation are still writing laws, positions us in a time of transition. Racism is not in the past, we are in the process of healing it.
Being shamed for being racist is another sign of hypocrisy. Shaming someone does not make them understand the issue, just feel bad.
Also, racism is very closely related to classism. Some time ago, Mexicans were considered “white” which was related to a higher economic status. Irish were considered “black” for similar reasons.
This is a complex issue. Making it binary and restricting it to using some words or images is a way to support the ignorance in which this divide is rooted.
And next time you hear the word “minority,” remember that non-white people outnumber white ones significantly. So, whose frame is this?! Why are we using a word implying insignificance for the larger group of people?
Shame and guilt are the cognitive mechanisms by which human beings are inculcated with values. Not only does shaming work, it’s the only thing that works.
Racism isn’t a philosophically coherent position and you can’t reason someone out of an opinion they didn’t reason themselves into in the first place. Racism is less common in society than it was 40 years ago exactly because it’s considered shameful to be racist.
The “minority” thing is obnoxious pedantry. The term “minority” applies in the US and most of Europe, which is where most of the readership here live. But just for the sake of argument, what terminology would you prefer?
So you’re rejecting the Magical Epiphany then?
The “if we stop talking about racism, it’ll go away” will never go away.
Shaming works to inflict pain. Not being racist out of fear is not doing it right. This worldview is based on the belief that everyone is a criminal and crime is prevented by constant fear of shame and punishment.
Another option is for people to understand and refuse to participate in racist relationships because they genuinely care: for their friend, for their relative, for other people. Of course cultivating such a relationship requires awareness and resistance to many cultural messages. But it is possible. I would prefer “Mexican-Americans” vs “minority.” I get you see this as obnoxious, I see it as careful framing implying that whites are higher in numbers or importance. I am white and I detest the term for its sticky hypocrisy.
Good luck getting racists not to be racist out of the goodness of their hearts. Not too surprised that you wrote that you’re white.
These are educated young women , not some ignorant kids or rednecks or whatever .They know exactly what they’re doing, and like almost anything else people do for fun, they did it because they like it.
And the reason they find it fun and like it is because most people in their environment do.
Not their fault, just a symptom of where that community is in relationship to racism.
“Not their fault”
They are generally 18 and over, so yes. They do have some responsibility for their racist behavior.
Not really. Not in a community where this is the norm.
“Society made me do it!”
Why’s the university president apologizing? It’s not like she knew what was going to happen.
Jessica Riccardi is the president of the Chi Omega sorority.
Because this is a university sanctioned group and it reflects poorly on the school? If I had to take a guess….
There have got to be a good number of smart, kind, ashamed students at Penn State who are really not looking forward to running into some friends at home over the holidays.
Good number? You’ll doubt that if you (unfortunately) know what PSU is like. It’s like that movie “Idiocracy”, except it’s real.
Yeah, welcome to PSU.
I dunno, I’m skeptical. I’m pretty sure this is really UT.
“Stupid sorority” is redundant. Who edited this title?
This will be an unfortunate mark on Penn State’s otherwise untarnished image within the community.
Yeah, that was sort of the thought over at /. Gotta come down hard (oops, sorry) on these sorority gals. It’s serious. If all they’d done was sexually abuse children, or offer free sex to recruited athletes, that would have been fine. But making fun of Mexicans? OMG DOOM
I wonder how Mexican college kids make fun of rich white girls.
They’d probably put on blonde and brunette wigs and pretend to shop for shoes. It’s what I would do, anyway. Though, that’s not much of a stretch. Oh, I know! They would also pretend to look down on everyone and be judgmental, and carry around toy breed dogs in purses and whinge about how daddy got them a Lexus instead of a Porsche! Hmm, still not outlandish enough . . .
The funny thing about this is that carrying little dogs in purses while shopping for shoes is stereotyped view of Hispanics common here in Texas.
And when was the last time anyone saw an actual Mexican in a serape and sombrero? At what point does caricature become distorted enough to be obviously humorous rather than ‘racist’? Does such a point exist?
What is you point? Fagin is obviously a distorted caricature, so do you think it’s not antisemitic to portray Jews in such a manner?
The guy obviously thinks it’s acceptable to order his Halloween costumes from Stormfront.
“At what point does caricature become distorted enough to be obviously humorous rather than ‘racist’?”
I can’t wait for your next hilarious blackface party.
Here in the Coachella Valley, the Mexican gardeners and pool cleaners and brick layers bought cheap houses and drove crappy little pick-ups while they built their businesses in the 90s and 00s. They still have houses and cars and children in college. The white hipsters overextended themselves on houses and cars and artwork that they couldn’t afford and are now living in crappy apartments or trailers and driving Yugos.
Revenge has already been taken.
The real winners here are the white gardeners and the Mexican hipsters.
Hmm. The one white gardener that I know did fine and the one Mexican hipster lost his house.
Revenge? Miore like a natural consequence of solid work and business practices.
Sarcasm and irony. You don’t understand them.
Take menial jobs in their households and steal their shit?
Not that I buy into that stereotype especially, but right now I feel like I wouldn’t blame them.
PS, “I drink to escape the outrageous burden of privilege,”
is rather a lot to fit on a cardboard sign, but it might be appropriate.
I went to PSU. No I don’t say that proudly.
That said PSU is a very affordable state school. Its students pull largely from the small towns of Pennsylvania. Many are the rural poor. This is a matter of ignorance, not privilege.
Their white privilege is part of why they think mocking a more marginalized people is such a fun lark that offers no consequences. Class is just another aspect.
Ignorance and privilege (the privilege to remain ignorant) go hand in hand.
So do ignorance and poverty. All I am saying is, these ain’t rich kids.
The underclass is not going to afford to live in a Sorority house with full rent and fees.
“Many are the rural poor”
Not in social Frats/Sororities.
“This is a matter of ignorance, not privilege.”
Saying this does not make it so.
They may not have class privilege. They still have white privilege.
Well, at least the mustaches look natural…
Maybe they visited France. I heard there is a booming mustache transplant market there.
That’s only because we gave up handkerchiefs, mustache is more convenient.
I’m positive this isn’t the most regrettable thing these girls have done…
Probably not even the most regrettable thing they’ve done on camera.
Ironically it was probably in Mexico…
Women use racial stereotype as party theme. Internet uses sexual shaming and gender stereotypes in response….. everyone takes it “seriously”
Calling them sluts is not acceptable either.
If that is an insult to Mexicans, then St Patrick’s Day is the greatest hate crime since the holocaust.
I’m an American of Irish descent and I think that’s a load of crap. Read the comment from @boingboing-1a24d0708b32892bc735d64fa20d9dfb:disqus below if you need to understand why.
36 minutes before this cliche. Not bad.
Since St. Patrick’s Day in the US is lead by Irish politicians, public figures, publicans, and entire Irish neighborhoods, it’s hard to see the similarity in your analogy.
Well and you know it’s actually 1800 not 2012 now, and Irish Americans are still struggling and establishing themselves as one of the dominant populations in the U.S.
It’s a shame the way The Minutemen, Jan Brewer, and whole shitload of Americans are treating white Americans with Irish ancestry as non-Americans and “illegals”. The way white Americans of Irish decent are struggling so hard compared to everybody else…….
Right, because none of those people celebrating St. Paddy have any Irish ancestors. They are an heterogeneous polyethnic amalgam of Asians, Africans, Native Americans, et cetera, just taking the piss as it were.
It comes down to intent.
And this was malicious/exclusionary.
You can have a Mexican (Cinco De Mayo) themed party. In college, because we had a fair number of friends whose parents were Chinese, we used to rock a killer Chinese New Years party. Boston is a continuous drunken party on St. Patrick’s Day. Do those parties tend to be caricatures of the cultures? Sure. There is a key difference. As fuck-all as a Boston St. Patrick’s day party is to do with Ireland, or our Chinese New Years Parties were to do with China, they were done out of some sense of (drunken) respect. There was a genuine respect of the culture and a certain amount of jealousy that they have deeper cultural tradition that we are just sketching crude approximations of.
While St. Patrick’s day Boston might be a drunken hedonistic binge, everyone claims Irish ancestry no matter how improbable, and any true Irishman sporting an accident is unlikely to pay for a drink the rest of the night and get toasted at every turn. Irish music will be playing not to make fun of it, but because people love it. Anyone armed with a guitar who can actually pull off an Irish drinking son will be cheered.
I try not to throw the B word at women, but seriously, look at those *******. Does that look like the kind of party where if someone who was actually Mexican walked in they would be cheered with genuine enthusiasm and warmth? I feel a little bad for them. People like that live fantastically dull and boring lives.
You had me until the b-word.
I’m gonna pretend he said “assholes” just because the rest of the comment was well-stated.
I, on the other hand, am going to convert it to asterisks.
I try not to throw the B word at women
Then don’t. Don’t fight racism with sexism.
I wonder if the Asian girl on the far left would feel awkward if they’d had a “China party” and all those white girls did their best dressed exaggerated Suzy Wong: “Will love you long time for beer and weed” “I don’t wash clothes, I take them off…”
With buck-teeth and squinty-eye glasses
The “China Party” was last week. “Chingchong-Chinagirl” was such a good sport doncha know, a real credit to all chinamen.
Boston has the highest proportion of current and past Irish immigrants of any city in the USA. A lot of the people claiming Irish ancestry actually are Irish by ancestry or actually are immigrants from Ireland. The link between Boston and St. Patrick’s day isn’t completely spurious.
The Irish aren’t necessarily impressed by the minstrelsy.
Always classy, Penn State.
Classy is _not_ Joe Paterno’s middle name.
Paterno _is_ Jerry Sandusky’s middle name.
Years ago when I first got into Wicca, I became very sensitive and angry every time I saw a pointy hat, wart-nosed cackling portrayal of a magic user. Now I don’t care anymore. I’m not sure I have a point.
Been stopped by the cops a lot because you look like an illegal alien from Oz? Strangers randomly address you as Elphaba because you look ‘witchy’?
At least Rindan didn’t resort to throwing the W word at those girls.
The film portrayal of the Wicked Witch from “The Wizard of Oz” predates the Wiccan religion. Mexican stereotypes, on the other hand, do not pre-date the existence of people from Mexico.
“privilege is awesome and I don’t like hearing the complaints of others”
I think I found your point.
I’m Mexican and find this stupid, but I bet if I got harrased all the time I’d be insulted. Guess I’m just trying to say this is stupid. Wait, everybody knows this already.
Well, everyone here. At Penn State they still seem a little confused.
Obviously the authenticity of this party is directly related to the quality of the Tequila they were drinking.
This is what happens when you don’t have to work for a living. You make fun of people who actually do and pretend they’re the lazy ones. You think Mexican folks have time to have parties making fun of American college sororities? Nope, they’ve got stuff to do and could care less. Also, why do adults in they’re twenties get referred to as “kids” simply because they’re in college? And where do they even get the money for the sombreros or the alcohol? Does somebody pay these people to be in something as worthless as a sorority?
I see at least a couple girls “smelling their fingers”…what were they doing just before this picture????
Imitating a moustache.
…but why are they SMELLING their fingers?
Judging from these comments, I guess prejudice against fraternity/sorority students is okay. They are all the same.
HAHAHA! Yeah, pooooooooor frats and sororities, the REAL marginalized people in U.S. society….
Blah blah blah blah “intolerance of bigots is worse than racism” blah.
I hate to admit it but I laughed out loud when i read the signs. I could see one of my mexican friends jokingly saying “I don’t cut grass, I smoke it” because the only reason I know these mexicans is because we both smoke pot. They definitely would cut someone lawn for some premo herb and so would I [Mr. Whitey Whiterton] and I HATE going outside [I live in Scottsdale, arizona]. If I was at that party chowing down on mexican food i would has roasted a bowl. they probably do to. AND WHO DOESN”T LOVE A FINGER MUSTACHE??? Drawn on mustaches are better than real ones to. It especially looks good on Casey Spooner from Fischerspooner.
Now, as a pot smoker, here is why i think what they did SUCKS:
Mexicans and Blacks get pulled over all the time because they are suspected of using marijuana based o their skin color. A lot of cops believe it’s an easy bust.Our prisons are filled with blacks and mexicans that got busted for using pot [something that should not be illegal for responsible adults anyway]. So basically, what these girls did re-enforced that stereotype, which wouldn’t that big of a deal if it wasn’t for marijuana prohibition.
I’m irish and I don’t get offended at people calling me a drunk… because i hate alcohol and smoke pot like a fiend… so that’s just ridiculous. I doubt those girls had racist intentions. Honestly, the quickest, cheapest way to look mexican is to throw on a sombrero and a pancho. I can think of some looks that would have been more authentic… and would probably be considered much more racist. I have lived in predominantly mexican and poor neighborhoods.
I doubt those girls had racist intentions.
It’s not intentions that matter; it’s effects.
I doubt those girls had racist intentions.
But it’s still racist.
“I can think of some looks that would have been more authentic… and would probably be considered much more racist.”
That you’re concerned with the most acceptable form of racism is a sign that your priorities are broken. There are probably MORE racist ways to “dress like a ‘Mexican’” but don’t be a terrible racist, Steve. It’s a thing jerks and morons do.
I’m mexican and I’m not even slightly mad.
I mean, who could take seriously whatever some drunk sorority girls do? is not like they are prancing around the campus on white hoods burning huge crosses.
How about when they graduate, and then get into hiring positions, and won’t hire people they think of as “Mexicans” because insidious stereotypes still pollute their brains?
Greek culture is a much smaller group than, say, Mexicans or Mexican Americans. But if nearly every undergraduate campus in the U.S. has a greek contingent – that’s still a pretty large group of young Americans. As some of you have pointed out, it might not be an especially diverse group when it comes to race. But is this sorority really that different from the demographic of Penn at large? And more importantly, should it matter?
If this was a thread about Travon Martin, most of you would rage-LOL at the troll who tried to argue bad intentions, irresponsibility or addiction can be gleaned from race. Or attire. Or even affiliation, to an extent.
Even if there’s a pattern of dickish/racist shit coming out of greek clubs, the cause MUST be more nuanced than ‘membership.’ Joining a greek club doesn’t MAKE you an alcoholic/douchebag any more than prostate play will make you gay.
There are some brilliant, funny and sometimes downright wise people commenting on BB. It’s disappointing – but apropos of the headline, I guess – to see us resort to caricature.
Joining a greek club doesn’t MAKE you an alcoholic/douchebag any more than prostate play will make you gay.
Right. It’s more that sororities and frats pick people who are already prone to being alcoholic douchebags. And then the racist, homophobic, alcoholic and sexist Greek culture makes most of them even more so.
This is my point, though. The first rule of make-fun-of-people-who-overgeneralize club is: don’t overgeneralize. I’m sure you’re basing this on subjective experience, and not just a cliche. Maybe you know an individual greek who is racist, homophobic, alcoholic and sexist and who only befriends similarly awful people. Maybe you know fifty. That still doesn’t give you the right to pigeonhole an entire ‘culture’.
This is confusing. Greece is a country, “Greek” is a real ethnicity. You’re talking about people in fraternities and sororities, not actual Greeks, right?
So when I criticize fraternities and sororities, I’m not criticizing something like ethnicity or sexual orientation that a person doesn’t choose. I’m criticizing a choice that someone has made.
Maybe you know an individual [KKK member] who is racist, homophobic, alcoholic and sexist and who only befriends similarly awful people. Maybe you know fifty. That still doesn’t give you the right to pigeonhole an entire ‘culture’.
KKK is just a social club, right? And they’re just representing southern culture, right? I shouldn’t overgeneralize.
Sorry, I’m basing my opinions on my experience with the world. I don’t have any other choice, really.
Joining a greek club doesn’t MAKE you an alcoholic/douchebag any more than prostate play will make you gay.
Poor analogy. Unlike sexual orientation, alcohol abuse and douchebaggery are strongly influenced by environment. You’re much less likely to act like a drunken jackass when your peers frown on that behavior instead of encouraging it.
First of all, THEY’RE NOT GREEK. Second, THEY’RE NOT GREEK. Please stop smearing Greece by associating it with a bunch of underage drinking societies.
Thank you for pointing out that words mean different things, Amelia Bedelia. Sure, I’ll clarify for the Martians – I was not talking about Greek people. Or anything remotely mediterranean. And, I guess I should also clarify that by ‘mediterranean’ I don’t mean Middle Earth.
If I say something ‘uses too much Latin,’ most decent-minded people are going to assume I’m referring to a legal opinion – not an employer.
And anyway, the only ‘Greek’ aspect of most fraternities/sororities AGREES with your low opinion of these particular ignorant biddies. The (usually) three-letter names are acronyms for the groups’ mottos – which are almost always positive and aspirational, e.g., Phi Delta Phi (‘friends of justice and wisdom’).
I’m not saying it’s common to see fraternities/sororities living up to these mottos, but I think fraternities/sororities need REMINDING of the reason they call themselves ‘greek.’ It’s not slander. It’s not even disambiguation. George W. likes the way Republicans think. But there isn’t a single Republican who WANTS his blessing. It’s like that.
I’ll grant you, it’s delicious that XO is supposed to stand for the motto: ‘Hellenic Culture and Christian Ideals.’ Now THAT sounds like something a grand dragon might say.
And do you SEE how stilted it is to say fraternities/sororities every time? No one would read past the first sentence.
Pretty sure the girl at far left is Asian American. It’s nice to see even minorities in this country join in on the racist fun.
As a Penn State student, I would like to let those who are summarily accusing the university as a whole of being racist and culturally insensitive that it was a Penn State student-run blog that first brought this issue to light:
And though there are severe and systemic issues with the Greek here, they actually can be decent human beings occasionally:
I cut my pizza with Little Caesars.
I am part of a racially diverse fraternity at DePauw University. My pledge class alone includes those of Indian, Nepalese, Korean and Hispanic descent. We even have a few Indianapolis Colts fans, if you can believe it. Traditionally, the campus has been 80% greek or more. It’s a unique situation, but it does provide an opportunity that most universities can’t – fraternity for every type of person. Likewise, the sororities work the same way. While there are both fraternities and sororities of mostly-white, probably very wealthy individuals, we have other options.
Basically, you can’t summarize that all fraternities and sororities would do this. It’s wildly offensive. Some of us actually use the greek system for brotherhood, and as a gateway to being involved on and off campus.
“I don’t cut grass, I smoke it” says attractive girl in a pancho, possibly concealing Tequila beneath. Seems to party like all the Mexicans and South Americans I know!
Short answer on the word: it is how you attack a strong woman for being a strong woman and it is how you tell a woman in the most offensive manner possible that she is outside of her assigned gender role. The same type of words with the same intensity and level of offense don’t exist for men. So yes, it is extremely sexist.
Moderator note:This digression is now over.
I understand what you’re saying Jon (and I agree that there is so much trivial shit that pisses us off, we must pick our battles to avoid going nuts.) But consider — do light-skinned Americans who wear black-face and sing parodies of Negro-Spirituals look at all like African Americans? And when caucasian-looking people apply black-face and have parties similar to these young women, is that not a What-The-Fukc moment?
Yes, I do understand that there is not a straight-across comparison of the Mexican American and African American experience, but this doesn’t change that the theme of the sorority party – ESPECIALLY considering the verbiage of the signs held by the two young women in the first row — is blatantlly derisive, insulting and demeaning.
It is an In-Your-Face statement of their attitude towards Latin Americans, many of whom have lived in the territory that is the United States well before the British Colonies became the United States, and many others have been citizens before my ancestors got off the boat.
The signs Jon, the signs, at least aren’t those fukced up?
Wasn’t he being sarcastic?
Maybe…It didn’t seem like he was being sarcastic when I wrote my reply.
I just read it again and I don’t see the sarcasm. Assuming he wrote this with no sarcasm intended — I understand his point — it’s one way of looking at it. Considered alone, without the context I and others in this thread are using, the girl’s theme party not a big deal — stuff like this happens and happens, these girls are not bad, just a reflection of what they’ve learned. But big picture, it does show a continuing pattern of cultural lack-of-understanding.
Was Jon being sarcastic? I have to say, I didn’t see sarcasm when I wrote my response to him, and I’ve re-read his post and I still don’t see it. This is interesting. If he is being sarcastic, and if others see the sarcasm, I wonder what am I missing, because I did not detect any sort of humorous intent either. Hmmm…interesting.
I don’t think so.