Tuesday, March 10, 2015

'Disgraceful' University of Oklahoma fraternity shuttered after racist chant. From CNN.com.

Sent in by many readers:

Even with the national chapter shutting the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at the University of Oklahoma, the school president said the university's affiliation with the fraternity is permanently done as a campus group called for the expulsion of fraternity members.

The members have until midnight Tuesday to get their things out of the house, university President David Boren said in a Monday afternoon news conference.

"The house will be closed, and as far as I'm concerned, they won't be back," he said, adding that the university is exploring what actions it can take against individual fraternity members.

A Saturday video showing party-bound fraternity members on a bus chanting a racial epithet found its way anonymously to the school newspaper and a campus organization, which both promptly publicized the nine-second clip.

The students on the bus clap and pump their fists as they boisterously chant, "There will never be a ni**** SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me."

MORE




18 comments:

  1. I'm sorry--they have to have been raised this way. No one is born racist, as far as I can see. Either children -- who are perceptive of difference-- are taught to accept others as they are, or they are taught to Other anyone not like them.

    Sadly, it seems to be endemic despite the gains since the bad old days of literal lynchings and clandestine cross-burnings. My OH sees all of this behavior as of a piece--the gasping, grasping death throes of the old white male establishment against the onslaught of the multicultural, liberal, feminist worldview.

    I kind of agree--we are witnessing what seems like a resurgence of racism, but has really just come to light in these days of Twitter and Facebook and the speed with which information travels. Ferguson and Madison and Norman are not far apart, and many, many people are making the connection. It's not happening in the dark anymore.

    Change is gonna come. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbO2_077ixs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you. Attitudes are changing for the better but there's a lag. People like those in the fraternity video are getting called out for it more often, which will hopefully speed things up.

      Delete
    2. When you blow up a balloon and release it, it emits a steady pbthpbthpbthpbth till almost exhausted, then the last utterance is a stronger PPBBTHBBT!

      Delete
    3. I was home quite ill yesterday and my significant other had CNN on. I heard the uncle of the boy killed in Madison speaking. He was talking about segregation in school and he was correct. I went to an inner city school that was pretty much 50% Black, 50% white, and <1% other (Hispanic, Asian, etc.). We were friendly with each other but the Black kids stayed with the Black kids, the white with the white, and Hispanic with the Hispanic. We need to change the comfort our kids feel with "other." How do we start doing that? I would love for little Frenna to grow-up color blind.

      Delete
    4. As this has unfolded, SAE as an institution seems to be unraveling. It's a southern-born fraternity, proud of its Confederate heritage, consistently resistant to racial integration (they hazed a black recruit to death!) and even to the rhetoric of racial harmony (the list of 'fraternity in trouble for racist skit' stories they racked up alone in the last fifteen years...).

      As much as I try to be optimistic about this society we all live in, institutions like this are designed to perpetuate particular cultures, and they're very, very good at it.

      Delete
  2. As one of the British newspapers remarked, this happened the same week John Lewis, the Obama family, and many others were commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march over the Edmund Pettus bridge.

    My first reaction is similar to that of your OH, BurntChrome: this behavior (not just the racism, though that's certainly bad, but the apparent need to prop up one's own identity by proudly self-identifying as white, and insisting on associating only with other white people) strikes me as so badly behind the times that on one level I find it hard to get all that worked up about it (which doesn't mean that I wouldn't support expelling the students from the fraternity, the fraternity from the school, and at least the ringleaders from the school, in precisely the sort of swift, no-muss/no-fuss "this isn't allowed in our organization/institution" manner that both the national fraternity president and the university president have adopted). After all, simple demographics are against these guys; though whites may still be (just) the majority nationally in their generation, they/we won't be in their children's generation.

    But then I, too, think about Ferguson and Madison and Norman (and New York, and. . .), and about the millions of small decisions made by those in power (who often got there by "knowing people" from their own self-identified group(s)) that affect the lives of others. Some of these guys are probably, if not tomorrow's police officers, then tomorrow's lawyers, judges, businessmen, doctors, politicians, teachers, etc. One can hope that the video will eliminate some of those possibilities for some of the participants, but clearly this sort of thinking is still endemic in some circles (apparently there's another video of the same chant from Texas, I think, and I doubt those are the only two places it's been sung in recent years).

    One bright spot: somebody turned the video over to a group of anti-racist activists. I haven't seen any definitive information about whom (and I'm sure the person may want/need to stay anonymous), but the most plausible possibility seems to be one of the young women who were on the bus as the fraternity members' dates. I like the idea of dates as undercover agents exposing behavior the fraternity though was private. (Of course, the other possibility is that the person who recorded the chant approved of it, but/and was careless about where (s)he posted it, and someone who was less sympathetic picked it up and passed it on. That, sadly, is equally plausible.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite a few news websites' comments sections make many of the same points - these wealthy privileged young people will probably be tomorrow's lawyers, district attorneys, teachers, principals, school board members, city councillors, mayors, state congress members, senate members, etc. This just happens to be one privileged fraternity where someone had the brainwave to record what happens "on the inside" (someone disgusted with what was going on? I hope so.)
      Ugghhh.

      Delete
    2. Indeed. Mike the Mad Biologist makes the point well, with appropriate links.

      Delete
    3. The other (less alarming, because it only hurts the frat members) of this is: why would you want to join a frat with this ideology? If part of the point of joining a frat is to broaden your social and potential professional network beyond the one provided by your family and community of origin, and to practice the sort of partly-social/partly-professional socializing that oils the professional/business/political/civic gears in many places, then, in a country where whites are rapidly becoming the minority, wouldn't you want to broaden your network beyond the white world in which you grew up, and get some practice socializing with people of other backgrounds?

      Of course, not joining a frat in the first place would broaden your horizons even further (among other things, frats are expensive, so there's considerable class segregation involved). But even if you're happy to hobnob only with the economic elite, why not broaden your networking pool?

      Delete
  3. And then the Crampicle has this:
    Racism in Oklahoma Frat Video Is Widespread at Colleges, Researcher Says
    http://chronicle.com/article/Racism-in-Oklahoma-Frat-Video/228355/

    ReplyDelete
  4. And then there is the video of the SAE's housemother giggling as she says the n-word over and over.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/watch-racist-oklahoma-fraternitys-house-mother-giggles-as-she-says-n-word-over-and-over/

    ReplyDelete
  5. In response to two emails, that's Cal's graphic. He sent it to me very early this morning. Many readers sent me the video and the CNN link.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's an excellent graphic. I wish there were no need for it, but as long as there is. . .

      Delete
  6. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/university-of-oklahoma-expels-2-sae-members

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like the right decision to me. There might be some free-speech questions about most of the chant (expressing offensive opinions about offensive preferences for private association may be protected to some extent in a university context, if not in the frat context), but the lynching reference took it to another plane, and it sounds like the president has made (appropriate, I'd say) use of that.

      Delete
    2. Good discussion of why the expulsion may not, in fact, be justified (even by the reference to lynching) here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/03/10/no-a-public-university-may-not-expel-students-for-racist-speech/ .

      He makes some good points, but, much as I support the right to free speech, I find it hard to mourn possible damage to same if the ringleaders choose to accept the decision and slink away (as they seem, at least at this point, to be doing).

      Delete