News

Two fraternities under fire after bias claims

A pledging activity at Alpha Delta Phi and a party thrown by Delta Upsilon have been seen as racially insensitive by Latino groups on campus, bringing in the larger campus community, as well as administrators and OMSA.

Two racially-tinged incidents related to fraternities in the past month have drawn sharp criticism from Latin student groups and their allies, along with admonitions from University administrators and officials in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA).

The first episode occurred May 8 around 4:30 p.m, when a student saw what were believed to be first-year pledges performing a racial caricature, mowing the lawn in front of the Alpha Delta Phi (Alpha Delt) fraternity house wearing oversized sombreros while Latin music played from a stereo.

Photo: Sydney Combs/The Chicago Maroon

The student, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is ongoing, reported the incident to OMSA and the Bias Response Team.

In response to the complaint, a meeting was called between Alpha Delt leaders and three University officials: Elly Daugherty, assistant vice president for student life; Lynda Daher, director of the Bias Response Team; and Kristen Siron, assistant director of Greek life for ORCSA.

At the meeting, Alpha Delt was asked to talk about the issue openly, and possibly to make a public apology.

Meanwhile, word of the incident quickly spread, and Daugherty notified both the national Alpha Delt administration and its alumni organization.

However, Alpha Delt’s chapter on campus has not admitted any wrongdoing and has declined requests for an apology, according to an e-mail sent by Bias Response Team member Robin Graham.

Anger again flared up the night of Monday, May 21, this time directed at Delta Upsilon (DU) fraternity.

Members of the fraternity had posted a Facebook event for a party billed, “DU Presents: Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes [sic],” which in its description encouraged attendees to bring “an unlimited need to conquer, spread disease, and enslave natives.”

Response to the posting was immediate, as students were still working to resolve the previous incident with Alpha Delt. After discovering that the 24-hour phone line operated by the Bias Response Team was nonfunctional, a group of students associated with different Latin organizations gathered in the C-Shop that night, including members of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano De Aztlán (MEChA de UChicago) and the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS).

Within an hour, all reference to conquistadors and Aztecs had been removed as DU members became aware of the growing controversy via Facebook and word of mouth.

After the meeting, an e-mail was sent to DU on behalf of the Latin student organizations that had met.

At 12:54 a.m. that night, first-year Daniel Kraft—one of the brothers who created the event, as well as DU’s Vice President of Public Relations—sent an apology to the complainant organizations, expressing DU’s regret over the name. Soon after, he posted a second apology on Facebook.

“There is no question that the previous event title was unacceptable and offensive, and we would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Latino community and any other groups that have been offended and hurt by the title of the event,” Kraft’s letter read.

However, the controversy continued to build, since Latin students believed that the apology was insincere and dismissive.

“One of the things that we emphasized was an open forum where we can talk about culture and how to handle this,” said third-year Lizbeth Cordova, a member of MEChA de UChicago.

“They completely disregarded it.”

The party changed names twice, becoming first “DU Presents: Safari Bros and Jungle Cats,” then “DU Presents: Hats.”

Kraft, along with another DU brother who created the event, posted on the event’s Facebook wall that they were “sad safari bro[s]” because of the name change.

“I personally didn’t see it as a sincere apology,” Cordova said.

The party was finally cancelled Thursday afternoon. DU issued a third apology on Tuesday and met with members of OMSA’s student advisory board and representatives from Latin RSOs on Wednesday.

“We wanted to confirm the sincerity of our apology,” Kraft said in an e-mail.

DU has committed to an open forum, tentatively planned for next week, which will bring together individuals from OMSA, DU, and members of Latin interest groups.

As the two incidents have developed, questions have been raised about campus culture, the University’s relationship with its Greek organizations, and the effectiveness of “dialogue.”

At the meeting on Tuesday, students repeatedly asked why it was that the University could not take concrete action against either fraternity by revoking privileges or cutting funding, for example.

The University can discipline members of a fraternity as individual students but not Greeks as a whole, since they are not officially recognized as student organizations. That has left many of the offended students feeling without recourse.

But the University is not powerless just because it cannot mete out punishments on entire frats, Daugherty said. She can still use her position to bring fraternities to the table.

“Like other students, fraternity members take part in the Bias Response Team process and are subject to disciplinary procedures if a case calls for that,” Daugherty said in an e-mail.

Alpha Delt still has not made any public statement about the incident, although according to Cordova, they have a meeting next week with Dean of Students in the College Susan Art.

Meanwhile, the original complainants are trying to present the issue as one that impacts students of any race or ethnicity, and are looking to form an RSO coalition to deal with bias of any type in the future.

“People are getting it,” Cordova said. “We’re getting a response not just from the Latino community but the entire campus community.”

217 Comments

knowledge trumps maroon journalism

Point of information: Kraft is DU’s VP of PR. I don’t think he is dealing with this incident just for fun.

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Words of Affirmation

Yeah because that solves the problem. An equally ignorant and useless statement would read: “Could always just get rid of latinos.” You’re clearly enhancing this conversation. Thank you for your intellect.

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You Know

Whoah man, it was just a joke, why are you getting mad at a joke?

Oh wait.

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David

whoa! I never knew frat bros were born frat bros!

Getting rid of a race= genocide

Getting rid of frats =/= genocide

Thanks for your intellect!

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Robert

“Football, fraternities, and fun have no place in the university. They were introduced only to entertain those who shouldn’t be in the university.” Robert M. Hutchins, Univ. of Chicago President (1929-51)

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Robert

Do you or should you expect to be entertained at a research university? Do fraternities assist in forwarding the mission of this University or hinder it?

RC

I agree that we pull a Robert Maynard Hutchins and totally get rid of them. They have no place here.

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LUCIUS

There are hundreds of schools with frats…there’s only one University of Chicago. I don’t want it to become a clone of the others.

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Student

Greek organizations aren’t recognized by the university nor are they affiliated in any way (they don’t receive any funding and the houses are owned by the alumni) so it’s pointless to discuss getting rid of them.

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Luke

Your perspective of fraternities is as prejudiced as the racism at issue here. The idea that the integrity and character of UChicago is necessarily at odds with fraternity life is a childish one. Instead of assuming you are superior to Greek life because you saw Animal House once, try to see how much of a community fraternities and sororities are striving to build. Have you spoken with any fraternity members about their organizations? I have, and most of them in fact love UChicago and the character that I agree is both unique and worth preserving. Make informed opinions, because right now you are the one who has no place at this school.

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Ceryle Alcyon

Oh, spare us all. Fraternities and sororities are associated with an enormous host of social and psychological ills, from hazing and alcohol poisoning to sexual assault to body dysmorphia. And whenever an incident of this sort happens on the Chicago campus, a fraternity or a sorority is to blame. The problem is that you make conformity, superficiality, and solipsism into virtues and never stop to question whether what you are doing might be a wise or decent thing. The students in these particular fraternities, either for actively participating or for not speaking up and ending the activity. They should never have been at Chicago in the first place and should be expelled. I’m sure they can find their own level at a place like Penn State or the University of Illinois.

Student

So great to see so many students take the initiative to address this issue! Both are appalling for their own reason. The incident at Alpha Delt was personally even more saddening to me. Thinking about the many Latino workers on this campus that work as janitors and housekeepers to make a living, how would you think they would feel from seeing the racial caricature? Just makes me sick to think that any of them saw that.

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Student

Personally, the Latino housekeepers and janitors came to mind at first because of my constant interaction I have with them where I live. You’re right, though. This is about breaking down stereotypes.

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David

He (or she) doesn’t just classify Latinos workers as janitors and housekeepers. Sure, there are African-American ones and Caucasian ones, and there are also brilliant Latino instructors, but the Latino janitors and housekeepers would be the ones most immediately insulted by Alpha Delt’s remiss actions.

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Student #2

Terrell, you can’t deny that there are more Latino janitors, etc. than there are Latino professors. Also: I don’t think that this person was trying to say that we only have Latinos working as janitors and housekeepers, but rather, than those who do inhabit these roles would undoubtedly be more offended than the rest.

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Alternatively

This student isn’t merely classifying Latino workers as janitors and housekeepers. It’s just that these are the groups of workers that would be most insulted by Alpha Delt’s churlish behavior.

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Jango

What’s your point exactly? No stereotype was addressed by STUDENT. Alpha Delt intentionally (not coincidentally) made a display of the stereotype, which is why the issue is being addressed. Those pledges were instructed to perform that display of racism. Wearing a sombrero while landscaping warrants listening to Latino music? Do you really believe these actions compliment each other? I don’t see any white or black landscapers around Hyde Park working in these conditions.

How many times have Alpha Delts volunteered or worked with CPS? Do they use their collective power to influence legislation regarding immigration and worker’s rights?

No, they don’t. It’s stupid to believe that having “plenty of Latino professors” dismisses the idea that inequality is a thing of a past.

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Randino

Why are you talking about CPS? If you’re asking that of fraternity members, ask it of the janitors too. How many University employees are volunteering with CPS? How many people that contributed to this article are volunteering with CPS?

You’re asking a question that has nothing to do with this problem. Stop just throwing stuff around.

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Jango

Then dismiss what I say and accept your closet racism, or defend it some more. It’s really entertaining. I hope these comments make the local news.

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Grammar Nazi

You have a comma splice in that sentence. Better luck next time.

Local News

We’re on it! Forming useless segment now based on your wishes.

Shark Lasers

Love it. “In our top story, people are using the comments section of the Chicago Maroon’s website…”

Matt

Does anyone have proof that Alpha Delt was being intentionally and not coincidentally racist? Obviously the situation bears the potential to be a very prejudiced display that I would not personally agree with, but I can’t help but be somewhat skeptical of an account that seems to be disputed by at least one party. At least for the time being, I see this case as wide open.

What point are you trying to make by bringing up Alpha Delt’s lack of commitment to CPS and progressive legislation? Does a failure to advance perceived social justice make one a racist these days? If so-called “cultural organizations” on campus already advance such political agendas, I would be troubled at their misrepresentation as beacons of culture. Likewise, I would feel the same if a social fraternity took up such goals.

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Elisa

Don’t forget the gracious support from political organizations, academic faculty, and feminists groups! This issue is also about the perpetuation of rape culture, sexism, and any overall prejudice perpetuated by fraternities and the programming they choose to put on.

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Ridiculous

This is ridiculous. Fraternities are not supposed to be taken seriously. And it is ridiculous that people would misconstrue their behavior as racist. I’m sure that the party name was clearly written in good fun and reflected historical truth. The sad reality is, students that jump at the opportunity to point a finger and label something as racist, are indeed the ones that are constantly thinking in the lines of race and not able to think beyond what is immediately in front of them. I think this action was completely unnecessary and frankly ridiculous. Find something better to do with your time. Advance racial equality in a different way.

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Frats suck

Yo Kraft, you aren’t fooling anyone by posting comments anonymously

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really?

“reflected historical truth”
Aztec HOES? So, their civilization was pillaged and collapsed, but they were practically begging for it?

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Anon

Aztec ho’s, whatever, maybe it’s just an insensitive rhyme. This:

“The first episode occurred May 8 around 4:30 p.m, when a student saw what were believed to be first-year pledges performing a racial caricature, mowing the lawn in front of the Alpha Delta Phi (Alpha Delt) fraternity house wearing oversized sombreros while Latin music played from a stereo.”

is super inexcusable. I thought the CLMs were super lame three-odd years ago, but I didn’t think something the hypothetical “Spic-and-Span” party would every actually happen.

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Ex Libris

“Aztec ho’s, whatever, maybe it’s just an insensitive rhyme.”

This comment is indicative of the huge elephant in the room that very few people seem to be acknowledging: women are the real target of the DU party title. (Hispanic women are the target of the racially insensitive tint of this title; all women are the target of the entire title.) A big thank you to OMSA and MEChA for calling DU out for something they have done before (yes, this party occurred last year under the exact same name, and possibly occurred years before that) and would have continued to do, had someone not stood up.

Naming a party “Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes” sets up a construct that defines the interactions that the hosts of the party wish to occur. Straight men are established as the holders of power; straight women are placed in the position of subordinate prostitutes. People who identify as LGBQT aren’t even given the “compliment” of being identified as sexual meat for these straight males; they’re marginalized out of the picture.

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Are you kidding me?

Really? Frats shouldn’t be taken seriously? Obviously you aren’t a part of one, or if you are, one that means anything to you, for the simple fact that there are Fraternities out there who actually stand for something. Being Greek I find this whole issue offensive, and I have no clue who either of these orgs are. However, it’s ridiculous that this even happened and I think it should be taken more seriously.

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Anon

DU and Alpha Delt are two of the most racially diverse organizations on campus. This campus has reached a pathetic level of political correctness.

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truth hurts

Dick Texas, your comment makes total sense to me because all the latino interest fraternities are SO much more diverse than Alpha Delt and DU. Totally agree with your point, bro.

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Dick Texas

I didn’t say that. I think organizations like Model UN and Alpha Phi Omega are more likely to come to mind when someone is discussing racially diverse student organizations.

I’m also skeptical of your post because until these incidents arose, frats had no reason to pride themselves as racially diverse. I don’t state this to hold it against any organization. I assume frats exist because of some other social bond between its brothers.

You gotta admit it’s troubling when these groups behave in a manner that upsets a significant number of university affiliates. Something is clearly wrong.

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Herge

How do you know what frats do? Are you in one? I know for a fact that certain frats at our school do pride themselves on their racial diversity because like a well rounded social institution should, they want to have members with differing views, backgrounds, and experiences. It turns out social interaction is actually more interesting and fun when everybody isn’t exactly the same.

I also think anybody claiming that the frats at our school are all rich kids should maybe conduct a survey and find out how many brothers in each fraternity have a scholarship or reduced dues or don’t pay any dues to maintain membership. Its definitely higher than most people think.

Anon

Really? They’re much more racially diverse than OLAS and MEChA, which are much more focused in their membership with regards to country of origin/ethnicity/culture etc.

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Lol

OLAS and MEChA are cultural groups, so of course they operate in regards to culture. That said, they are open for anyone to join and they would not prevent someone from going to their meetings just because they are not Latino.

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someone who has attended a "cultural group" meeting

they may say this, but they most DEFINITELY do not make people of other cultures feel welcome. why don’t we talk about that?

word

You sound like an idiot…”this cultural group makes me feel excluded as a white male” wahhhh!

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Nate

PRO TIP: they aren’t usually unfriendly, they were just a little pissed about the sombrero you wore to the meeting

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Robert Michaelson

Perhaps Alpha Delt is just continuing a tradition? In 1938 a Nazi flag was hung from the front of the fraternity – see e.g. the photo from Cap and Gown reproduced in McNeil’s book Hutchins’ University. Kids do stupid things, then and now, but the 1938 incident was just one kid who was much abashed by his own behavior. The recent incident was stupidity in forethought, by the whole group, and is thus far worse.

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LUCIUS

“Oh, we have diverse friends, so we can be as insulting and offensive as we want!”

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Say what

Dude they apologized get over it. Spend more time fighting real hate crimes and real racism that is so prevalent within Chicago. I don’t see this as a big deal since they apologized what? 3 times already?

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Our culture of disregarding respect for minority groups when it's funny? no worries bro, we solved that (three times)

yeah guys come on they apologized – that means the underkying problems of culture and bias are automatically solved, right?

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Randino

Tell you what – let’s hold a forum about it and host “conversations” in which we’ll attack white protestant males and accuse them of all the problems in the last 500 years. If they talk, we’ll just stop listening/caring. This will solve all those “underkying” problems you reference, eh?

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Don

To first anon: Nothing wrong with sombreros. The problem is using the sombrero as part of a racial stereotype.

To second anon: Racial diversity does not absolve anyone from making racist remarks or comments. You’re just using the whole “I can’t be racist, I have black friends” argument. I don’t see how this is a pathetic level of political correctness when trying to stop a party that paints a serious event in your countries history in such a derogatory light.

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Randino

You’re assuming the racial stereotype, if not enforcing it. Sombreros are a genius invention – especially for those who work outdoors. You can’t tell me you’ve mowed the yard in a sombrero and regretted it.

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Don

Sombrero by itself = ok.

But you can’t tell me that wearing a sombrero while mowing a lawn, blasting Latin music, as your Frat bros laugh is not racial motivated. They knew what they were doing, unless they are as dumb as the stereotype of frat boys says they are.

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platosgrave

White protestant males – of which I am one – are the whiniest, most victim-claimant group in the world. We deserve absolutely no extra-respect, charity, sympathy, or whatever. We have systematically engaged in widespread oppression in the U.S. and elsewhere, we benefit ALL THE TIME from structural and institutional racism, and then we have the gall to claim that we are the actual victims. Here’s some advice for you and your precious fee-fees: Get over yourself, open your eyes, and try to acknowledge, just for once, that your stupid trick of trying to turn everything around to some kind of narcissistic victimized ego-stroking is distasteful and disgusting.

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Manseuto

Should have just nipped the Reformation in the bud, damn Protestants are everywhere now!

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Anon

At first, I was a bit iffy about how offensive “DU Presents: Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes [sic],” really was. Since it’s so far in the past, it’s kind of hard to empathize with either group. That said, “updating” it to more modern conflicts really shows how bad it is.

For example, try: “DU Presents: Nazi Bros and Holocaust Hoes,” or “DU Presents: Bosnian-Serbian Bros and Kosovar Hoes,” and its immediately clear just how bad it is.

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Hi

Not to diminish your point, but it would just be “Serbian Bros and Kosovar Hoes,” I think. Or, “Bosnian-Serb Bros and Bosniak Hoes.”

It doesn’t really matter, I guess. That conflict was just an all around shitstorm, and the hypothetical ensuing fraternity party would best be marked with somber reflection about genocide and NATO’s role in a post-Cold War world: “DU Presents: Ethnic Cleansing and Humanitarian Intervention.” Now, that sounds like a hopping party.

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student

“DU and Alpha Delt are two of the most racially diverse organizations on campus. This campus has reached a pathetic level of political correctness.”

So this allows them them to engage in racially insensitive behavior? At least DU has apologized and seems to be committed to mending their transgressions.

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Jango

Anon, your approach to the issue exhibits an appreciation for a “colorblind” campus. The fact that these organizations are “racially diverse” does not require its members to respect each others’ ethnic backgrounds. You shouldn’t accept this as an instance of a few college kids goofing around as a laugh with pledges. This view of individualization undermines greater institutions of race and the effects they have on people’s lives. Be color conscious, not color blind.

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Jango

Playing latin music + mowing lawns + wearing sombreros? Can you explain the concept of humility? to us?

The fact that Alpha Delt hasn’t apologized only reassures me that they’re all bunch of overprivileged racists who come from wealthy families and get away with tormenting other students through rape and racially insensitive demonstrations.

Sorry if I’m being politically incorrect. I’m just tellin’ it like it is!

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Anonymous

And you perpetuate your own stereotypes and bias by calling all fraternity members “overprivileged racists who come from wealthy families”. If you actually knew anything about the students in fraternities on this campus, you would know that that statement is categorically untrue.

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Jango

How dare you generalize and assert that “students in fraternities” behave the same way? You may be anonymous, although I highly doubt you exclusively interact and participate with all members of all frats on campus. If so, I pity your time at UChicago.

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Irony

“Perpetuating stereotypes is bad.”

“…they’re all bunch of overprivileged racists who come from wealthy families and get away with tormenting other students through rape and racially insensitive demonstrations.”

Huh.

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JASON

well actually you should read that a bit more carefully.
Jango above clearly wrote ” they’re all as in Alpha Delt not all fraternity members. Again he/she follows this up by saying they get away with rape and racially insensitive demonstrations… which points to which fraternity? lets read more!

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Ceryle Alcyon

No, you’d be wrong there. Many of them are actually vapid, suburban, whitebread, middle-class social climbers. Or what’s the new buzzword? Aspirationalists.

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Randino

Things you assumed in that comment:
1.) They’re overprivileged.
2.) They’re racist.
3.) They come from wealthy families.
4.) They have families.
5.) They’re tormenting (how did you pick tormenting – doesn’t that seem a bit dramatic?)
6.) They’re raping people (WHAT?!).

Problems with your argument: Don’t you think that if they were as overprivileged as you suggest they’d pay someone to mow the lawn? You put two question marks in your second question; you only need one. You’re not sorry you’re being politically incorrect – if you were sorry you wouldn’t have posted it. You’re not just telling it like it is – you’re telling it how you see it and choose to skew it.

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Randino

Things you assumed in that comment:
1.) I got my feeling hurt.

Things you should have assumed:
1.) Your argument was painful to read.

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Jango

Alpha Delt REALLY doesn’t think it offended anyone. In fact, you all assert that people who ARE offended are wrong/stupid/unevolved.

Anon

Hi! I’m friends with a ton of alpha delts and I know the fraternity really well. I just wanted to tell you that you’re wrong, and alpha delt is not full of “overprivileged racists who come from wealthy families.” A lot of them come from families with very modest incomes, and have to work to pay for their own rent without help from their parents. Not relevant to the race discussion, but I just wanted you to know that you’re wrong. Totally and completely wrong. You’re not “tellin’ it like it is.”

I haven’t talked to them about it yet, but I’m guessing that they haven’t apologized because they just generally don’t give a shit about anything, not because they’re overprivileged.

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ANON

This may show my age a bit but does anyone remember the controversy in ’05 over a party thrown at Max Palevsky: “The Straight Thuggin’ Party.” Basically the exact same “conversations” occured. Many thought is was sort of ridiculous, but many were obviously very alarmed. I think these incidents are just symptomatic of the larger issue that many minority students don’t feel welcomed on campus. I can’t really speak to their experience but…that is probably symptomatic of the relationship that the university has with the community of Hyde Park as a whole…Historically, this has been the case since the inception of the university. I’m not sure if I have an opinion about “what should be done.” But, I wanted to point out the many layers to the “racial discourse” at the UofC.

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Anon

Great point, thank you. Additionally, I really feel like the increase in security this past year results in some very unfortunate racial profiling. Campus feels more like a gated community. I hate it.

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Anonn

Thanks for bringing this up. Remembering that incident shows that it’s not something characteristic of the Greek system, but rather the campus as a whole.

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Anon

I think its pretty clear that the party theme conquistadors and Aztec whores was meant ironically, no one is condoning the actions of Cortez here. Rather, the theme was mean to poke fun at the obscene genocide a la a post on /r/wtf. Is this party theme too soon? If 500 years isn’t enough temporal proximity to make light of a horrible historical occurrence, I don’t know what is. Are these subjects just too taboo? where does the pc censorship end then? It isn’t like anyone’s passport reads, ‘Aztec’- there is no one on campus that can fairly claim to be personally offended by the ridiculing of an event that they are at least 10 generations removed from.

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alum

First thing I thought of. When I learned of that I thought what many students here seem to think: “It’s just a joke. Lighten up!” But yea, those jokes lose their charm once you grow up a little, reach the age where you can drink alcohol without going to frat parties, and become more aware of how your actions affect other people. Oh well. There was also the “Spic and Span” and “Pimps and Hoes” within a year or two, right?

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Student

Lots of people still identify as Aztec and there have been serious problems of discrimination and even genocide aimed at native populations in Latin America throughout the 20th century. It’s not 500 years in the past, no more than the issue of slavery in the U.S. is now funny just because the emancipation proclamation was signed 150 years ago…

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Herge

Your comment is fair, but not to realize that the genocide of the Aztecs inhabits a different place in cultural memory than the emancipation proclamation is foolish. Although there is a clear continuity between the actions of the Spanish and slavery in the United States, I would argue that Americans feel a significantly greater sense of responsibility for slavery in the US. Neither are funny, but it is certainly easier to remove oneself from the consequences of Spanish actions than slavery in the US.

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88

this perfectly sums up the problem.

“Its in the past and they’re all dead so no one can get angry.”

From your perspective things aren’t wrong or cruel in and of themselves, they’re wrong and cruel if someone else who you feel you have to listen to tells you they are. If no one does than you can giggle over horror and pain you’ll never experience because you have absolutely no moral fibre beyond, “I hope someone doesn’t yell at me.”

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M.

I wish these people would stop focusing so much on DU and more on Alpha Delt. Alpha Delt’s actions were blatantly racist and much worse than DU’s, in my opinion. And Alpha Delt’s decision to not reply shows just how little they care about their actions.

Additionally, it DOES NOT MATTER how racially diverse the two frats are. The fact of the matter is that they both engaged in racist actions–whether or not it was meant in good fun.

To put it simplistically, whether or not you meant to be offend, you did. Thus, you should be understand that your actions are wrong on some level.

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Anon

Racist? Alpha Delt was racist? Some on here are claiming they offended Mexicans – Mexico being a country with people of all different races.

Or were they offending Hispanics? Being Hispanic, once again, is an ethnicity and not a race.

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Anonn

Thank you! It’s not racist because “Mexican” is not a race. Doesn’t mean it’s ok, but “racist” should be the word people are using to discuss this issue.

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anonn

I think the DU incident is a lot more offensive than the Alpha Delt incident.

They were both in poor taste, but Alpha Delt made a joke about Mexicans mowing lawns, while DU made a joke about Europeans raping and enslaving Native American women.

I honestly don’t see how anyone could think the Alpha Delt thing was more offensive.

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Anon

“that they’re all bunch of overprivileged racists who come from wealthy families and get away with tormenting other students through rape and racially insensitive demonstrations”

How on earth can back up this narrative? Both organizations offer financial assistance to brothers. Also, as close friends, I think you would be hard pressed to prove that they don’t celebrate each others’ ethnic, religious, and political differences.

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Frats suck

I’m throwing a party tomorrow and I can’t decide if I want to call i Jihadi bros and 9/11 hoes or Kamikaze bros and pearl harbor hoes? Any help from DU?

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Party Pooper

How about you go with Politically Correct Bros and Super Sensitive Hoes?

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FemBot

Or, you know, we could just dispense with the whole “bros and hoes” thing altogether. That way it wouldn’t be so blatantly sexist on top of being racist.

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Tom George

What frats here at UChicago really need is pity. I mean, frat brothers here are in an awkward position: not quite as good at taking partial derivatives or running regressions as the Asians in their Econ classes, and without the liquor tolerance and general style of frat bros at, say, UIUC, what else should we expect them to do? Yes, you’re right: try very hard. And what are they trying so hard to do? In one case, make a racist joke. All this backlash against them for a failed joke is a little much; I feel bad. In the other case, convince their female friends to live out their strange and demeaning (though not very long-lasting) sexual fantasies. But now, they don’t even get to try it. Instead, they’ll be wearing hats.

It must be a real bummer to be in a frat around here. Lots of things to make up for, but none of the maturity or intelligence to do it. I guess we shouldn’t expect much more from them. Just think about what pledging a frat involves; these organizations are breeding grounds (yes, I may be suggesting that frat brothers mate with one another) for people with no self-respect.

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Anon

It’s sad that whatever social experiences you’ve had here involving fraternites has made you so bitter toward them, but your gross, sweeping stereotypes regarding fraternities and their brothers is pathetic to the point of being offensive. Aside from providing a place for overworked U of C students to party on weekends and enjoy themselves, greek life here has been a tremendously positive influence on campus (participating in community service, raising tens of thousands of dollars) and fostering administrative and social skills that a lot of students around here desperately need.

You’re overwhelmingly hypocritical post is anything but mature or intelligent, but whatever, you’re probably just trolling anyway.

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JustSayin

I just want to point out, although this is probably a trolling post, that 1/4 of AEPi are currently math majors. Sig Ep (one of the few organizations on campus that keeps track of their GPA) has a 3.6 average, which is a full .3 above the University average. So, in terms of not being able to “do regressions” and “lacking intelligence,” at least for the organizations that I have decently solid numbers on (something you probably lack at all), Uchicago frats do have quite a few intelligent members.

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Fem

I agree. I think feminism is the bigger issue here. The reason there was outcry was because there were racial slurs, not because of the sexism issues. Frats throw “hoe” themed parties all the time, and nobody complains. Our culture has a racism problem, and we acknowledge it and say that it’s bad. Blatant sexism is still okay.

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CW

We have to remember that pointing fingers and calling someone racist is counter-productive. The action was racist, not the person. But that is also the concern, the fact that racist behavior is pervasive in campus culture and people accept it as okay. The issue is not about the frats, specifically, but that a multitude of people saw it as acceptable behavior to do and say these things. It is good that the frats apologized, but the concern is more than that. The concern is not only race, I might add, but also with sex because the name was also placing women into an objectified and inferior box. Again, the fact that this ideology is commonplace and widespread around campus culture (being that Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes was a party where all of the school would be welcomed) is the issue. It is not the joke, but the underlying implications of telling the joke that is the problem.

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platosgrave

Why should we have any sympathy with people who need to buy their friends? Isn’t that what frats are actually about?

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JustSayin

I don’t know… Frats are also about brotherhood, connecting with other people in a very real way… We just happen to pool our money with dues so we can do fun stuff together. You could go just as far and say that your “house friends” were bought because you paid tuition to go to this school. If anything, frats are a much more real friendship than that, because while house friendships are decided by a random number generator ( functionally ), at least one has to seek out a fraternity as a group to be connected with, and thus there is some conscious action involved in becoming greek.

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Anon?

I take it you’re not the same “Anon” who said “frats shouldn’t be taken seriously.”

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Anon

Its amazing how little the Maroon reports on the overwhelming good greek life does on campus, yet this ridiculousness is featured as a “top story”…

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Anon

Never heard of MEChA before, so I did some looking. Their wikipedia entry mostly consists of the criticism and controversy sections (always a good sign). Their founding document, El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan, is downright absurd:

“In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal ‘gringo’ invasion of our territories, we, the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlán from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny.”

“Brotherhood unites us, and love for our brothers makes us a people whose time has come and who struggles against the foreigner ‘gabacho’ who exploits our riches and destroys our culture. With our heart in our hands and our hands in the soil, we declare the independence of our mestizo nation. We are a bronze people with a bronze culture. Before the world, before all of North America, before all our brothers in the bronze continent, we are a nation, we are a union of free pueblos, we are Aztlán.”

“Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.”

Try putting that last one into Google Translate. Why is my tuition funding an extremist, racist, separatist organization?

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Totaly Legit Mecha Member

Oh dang, he’s on to us. OK everybody go home, shows over.

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Nina

Who gives a shit? It’s a frat party. Lighten up, everyone. This literally has no importance whatsoever, and I cannot believe so much time and energy has been wasted on this “issue”.

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Harmon Siegel

How about a third, even more serious incident, the posting of fake police sketched by frat bros?

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Anonn

Yeah, that was seriously fucked up, much more so than either of these issues.

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That Guy

Quit projecting.

This has nothing to with wealth or entitlement, which you’d realize if you knew anything about fraternities today (especially at UChicago) beyond what you saw in 80s movies and heard from your parents’ time in college.

If anything, for most people fraternities are a mechanism for upward social mobility, not some bastion of elitism (that’s the University you’re thinking of).

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Jack

Quote: “”At first, I was a bit iffy about how offensive “DU Presents: Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes [sic],” really was. Since it’s so far in the past, it’s kind of hard to empathize with either group. That said, “updating” it to more modern conflicts really shows how bad it is.

For example, try: “DU Presents: Nazi Bros and Holocaust Hoes,” or “DU Presents: Bosnian-Serbian Bros and Kosovar Hoes,” and its immediately clear just how bad it is. “”

In addition to being historically insensitive, these names perpetuate misogynistic gender roles and rape culture. The event title essentially gives men (conquistadors) the power to dominate, or conquer, these “Aztec” women. Furthermore, using the word “hoes” gives this domination an explicitly sexual connotation. This is just completely unacceptable. It’s not just Latinos DU has offended.

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Anonn

Thank you for pointing this out – no one is commenting on the sexual implications of the DU party title, which I think make it much more offensive than the Alpha Delt incident.

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DU - Illinois Chapter Member

People should consider first what fraternities are. They are social non-for-profit philanthropic organizations. The point of joining them – fraternities like DU or Alpha Det – is to have fun. By naming a party “Conquistadors & Aztec Hoes” DU did not partake in mass genocide or spreading of a dangerously contagious disease. Rather, their point was to make a fun theme that people would enjoy.

Frat parties aren’t the basis for running a political campaign. They’re about getting together with friends, perhaps getting dressed up in some kind of outfit, and having a good time. Any people who attempt to mix political correctness and racial stereotyping into the mix completely miss the point.

Should parents also stop telling their kids to play cowboys & indians or cops & robbers? No, because kids playing those games aren’t spreading racial stereotypes in the same way that DU wasn’t.

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Cmon Dude

“Should parents also stop telling their kids to play cowboys & indians”

Actually yeah they totally should. Because that game is absolutely spreading racial stereotypes.

So, uh, “yes”.

Moreover, why is it necessary to theme your party after a horrifying genocide to have fun? Why is that even something that is fun? How is that enjoyable. Why would that add to your enjoyment of a party. I don’t understand. “Woooo! Mass slaughter and enslavement! Good times.”

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Ex Libris

No, their point was to make a theme that would humiliate women into sleeping with straight members of their frat.

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Ryne Weiss

This whole matter is disgusting, but regarding one of the details, the picture of the original event as it circulated Facebook said “unlimited need to conquer, spread disease and colonize” with the word “colonize” rather than “enslave natives” as the article quotes it. Both are terrible, but if the quote had been changed by the author of the article (or the editors of the Maroon) to “spice it up” that would be a horrendous disregard for journalistic integrity.

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Ben

Ryne, there are screenshots on Facebook showing that it was, at least at some point, “enslave natives”. Whether the screenshot is accurate, is another question altogether.

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platosgrave

You are not helping your cause here. It doesn’t matter if you are “philathropic” or not: your actions are offensive to real people and have real consequences for how Latinos on this campus feel. If you cared about that – instead of “having fun” – you would never engage in this ludicrous attempt to mask what is, essentially, soft racism.

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ucstudent

i agree, the du party name wasnt that offensive at all. i think mecha just needed a punchbag to take out their frustration from alpha delt not apologizing. du has done its share and alpha delt needs to live up to its actions.

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Hello

The original description of the event said “enslave natives.” The insertion of the word “colonize” instead of the above term was an edit on the part of DU after the event had already been created and guests had been invited.

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Jar Jar Binks

The University insists on the importance of academic freedom when it comes to investments in Sudan. I imagine the same freedoms extend to frats, comedians that perform on campus, etc.

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Party

I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea why this thing is such a big deal, especially the DU thing. I have been to a Conquistadors and Aztec Whores party before and it was probably one of the better parties I have ever been to. This is ridiculous. Do you guys realize that this is about a PARTY THEME? A sentence of 4 words..

What most of the people here are doing is in no way helping to prevent racism, but is instead ridiculing actual racism by diverting attention to minor issues.

The other incident on the other hand is a lot more severe. In Alpha Delt’s case, we are dealing with publicly displayed hazing INTENDED to be seen and to offend the campus community .

Let’s get back to reality.

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R

And MECHA, et al have the same freedom to call them out when they’re being racist twits. Your point?

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Someone who's actually done surveys before

Please. This survey is poorly designed, and its results would never be accepted in any serious academic context. Why should we accept such a flawed approach to your “research”?

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S

The picture of the original event as it circulated Facebook said “unlimited need to conquer, spread disease and colonize” with the word “colonize” rather than “enslave natives” as the article quotes it. I’m not saying “colonize” is good, but if the quote had been changed by the author of the article (or the editors of the Maroon) to “spice it up” that would be a horrendous disregard for journalistic integrity.

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Guy

It originally said “enslave natives” it was changed to “colonize” something like 10 minutes later which is when the screen shots were taken.

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Anon

I think the point to get out of this is that this makes the university’s Greek community as a whole look bad, and also doesn’t reflect well on the university as a whole. It was offensive no matter what way you look at it, and I do appreciate DU’s apology but this affects more than just the perpetratora and those affected by these actions.

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Student

As a hispanic student, I find this whole controversy hilarious…. seriously, people need to learn to not get so worked up. Was anyone physically hurt? No. Anybody emotionally scarred? No. Sure, maybe AlphaDelt’s stunt is a bit racially insensitive… but who cares. As a hispanic, I believe we’ll only leave “minority” status when we learn how to not flip out about anything remotely offensive to our ethnicity.

And the party name? Very clever, if you ask me. Too bad there are people on this campus that can’t take a joke.

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Anon

One question: is what Alpha Delt did racism? Isn’t racism defined as the belief that a certain race is inferior? In that case, it would be wrong to infer that from Alpha Delt’s display.

What they did is an example of stereotyping. Can anybody here refute the assertion that there are people of Latino ethnicity (not a “race”, mind you, an “ethnicity”) who work in (and percentage-wise, dominate) the lawn care industry? Can anyone argue that they sometimes wear their native headgear to protect themselves from UV radiation? Or listen to the music they listened to at home to relieve the boredom of their profession?

Alpha Delt didn’t say that Latinos were less capable than Whites, Blacks etc. Instead, they made light of a stereotype – offensive, yes, but racist, no.

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Minority

We should distinguish between racially insensitive actions intended to harm (emotionally, psychologically, etc) and those intended merely as a joke. I believe both occurrences fit into the latter. Im sure both Alpha delt and DU have or have had many Latino members. The members of these frats are not bigots with latent prejudices against Latinos. It was a joke, and was slightly humorous.

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Wow

I thought UChicago was the place where the open-minded people came to be. If you come to the conclusion that Greek culture is what Tom George/others say it is AFTER you have experienced it from the inside, so be it. I’ll yell your words into the megaphone for you. But until then keep quiet, otherwise your ignorance betrays the fact that you really don’t belong at this school.

Understand that I am neither defending DU’s or Alpha Delt’s actions nor pretending that any fraternity on campus is perfect. Both of these fraternities screwed up, and others have also done so in the past.

I do find it interesting to note, however, that whatever a minority, feminist, etc group such as MEChA does to advance their honorable and just goals, they cannot be wrong or do harm. Because such a group can hide behind the nobility of its cause, it cannot be faulted. Regardless of how “good” something is, we all ought to be wary of it when it can’t be killed.

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R

Intent isn’t magic. Intending something as a joke doesn’t make it automatically not offensive.

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Ex Libris

Both of these fraternities—along with other fraternities here on campus—are consistently screwing up; over and over again, they hold parties that they name in this same “Men in a Position of Power and Women in a Position of Subordination” format. (“Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes” is nothing new.)

“Wow,” many, many students on campus have encountered Greek culture for themselves at some point during their time at Chicago. And plenty of us have participated in the parties that we are now calling out as being based on racist and sexist principles. Hopefully this action shows not that students are suddenly hell-bent on criticizing fraternities for no reason, but that they want to engage in an important campus-wide discussion that many of them have considered before but have not bothered to bring up.

Also, saying that one cannot denounce fraternity activity unless one has experienced it “from the inside” is the kind of attitude that encourages women not to talk about sexual harassment in order to save the faces of their friends in fraternities. Am I not supposed to talk about my friend who got date-raped first year, just because I wasn’t at the party when it happened? Am I not supposed to say that I think it’s messed up that my friends in Psi U got branded by their fraternity brothers with hot forks, just because I wasn’t at the fraternity house when it happened?

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Wow

My point is that for those who are not affiliated with Greeks, the vast majority, if not entirety, of their interactions with Greek culture has been the party/entertainment aspect. A campus wide discussion would address only this one facet of Greek life.

When I speak of seeing fraternities “from the inside” I refer to the things that happen from Sunday morning to Friday afternoon. I’m not hiding behind this “get more information before you make a claim” sentiment in order to protect fraternities from accusations of sexual harassment, racism, etc. I’d just like people who make the silly ad hominem comments to understand that they are (usually) speaking out of ignorance and that it becomes an instance of two wrongs don’t make a right.

Also, to address your rhetorical questions:

The first question doesn’t technically address my comment, but that is likely my fault for not being explicit. Someone being date-raped is an actual incident backed by evidence. It’s not some outlandish claim or prejudice thrown on all of Greek life. There is a huge difference between saying, “My friend was date-raped” and “Oh my God, don’t go to frats! All the brothers try to do is date-rape you!” The second is akin to saying don’t walk to the Med late at night because you might be mugged.

As to the second question, of course you can say that YOU think it’s messed up that your friends got branded, as long as you acknowledge that its an opinion and that you are outside of the situation. It’s possible that your branded friends agree with you, but don’t forget to consider that they are privy to more information than you. In any case, both questions seem to stem from actual incidents – very different from someone claiming frat bros drink beer all day, are stupid, and live to party.

Sorry for the wall of text. I kinda let myself get carried away. Too many thoughts – I guess I like the discussion?

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Your Ignorance Shines Through

As a member of a truly diverse society, your comment is nothing short of appalling. It honestly made me cry myself to sleep.

Your ignorance truly shines through in your comment: DU’s Party theme was Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes. There is nothing in that party theme that implies the Conquistadors must be straight and/or male. That is an assumption you made because of your innate prejudices. There is also nothing implying that “hoes” must be female and/or straight. You should really think before you speak or post. What DU was really trying to do was raise awareness about people like yourself that make uneducated assumptions about Greek life without knowing anything.

You should attend some diversity reeducation before you post such heinous, uninformed, atrocious comments about Fraternities.

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EC

As a Latina, I cannot fathom how this became some huge issue. The DU party theme was clearly intended ironically. If anything, it seems like the intention was to mock racism, which is why it’s so over-the-top. The Alpha Delt stunt was in poor taste, but it’s something to roll your eyes at, not blow up into some pseudo-controversy. This level of political correctness is totally counterproductive.This lack of sense of humor and oversensitivity are more likely to push people away from reevaluating ethnic stereotypes than anything.

And hell, a lot of my family does work in menial labor – factory floor, construction, etc. They’re recent immigrants, can’t speak English, and poorly educated. And others in my family have worked and gotten themselves into six figure jobs. The second group is in the minority not because of their ethnicity, but because they came from relatively uneducated, low-income families. The stereotype of the Mexican groundskeeper exists for a reason – the key is to not let that turn into a generalization. If someone were to immediately assume that so-and-so was a janitor based on ethnicity, THAT is blatantly racist.

There’s plenty of actual racism to be dealt with – this absurdity is a waste of time and energy (says the chick who just ranted on the damn Maroon. I’ll cal myself on that hypocrisy before anyone else does…)

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InternationalStudent

American parents should stop telling their kids to play cowboys & indians or cops & robbers? No, because kids playing those games aren’t spreading racial stereotypes in the same way that DU wasn’t.

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Get it right

1) They are called FRATERNITIES not FRATS… You wouldn’t call your country a cunt would you?

2) Are people angry about the word “hoes” or the word “Aztecs”? I can understand the issue with “hoes” and agree that fraternities should never degrade women with the word; however, I do NOT understand the issue with the word “Aztec” – I would really like for an Aztec to come to my door and explain the issue to me so I may be enlightened.

3) Why were people not this angry about last year’s PsiU theme “Dinosaurs and Sluts”? Dinosaurs existed a long long time ago (like Aztecs) and were wiped out (like Aztecs). I’m offended that PsiU was so insensitive to dinosaur enthusiasts like myself!

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Cmon Dude

“2) Are people angry about the word “hoes” or the word “Aztecs”? I can understand the issue with “hoes” and agree that fraternities should never degrade women with the word; however, I do NOT understand the issue with the word “Aztec” – I would really like for an Aztec to come to my door and explain the issue to me so I may be enlightened.”

The issue is that, in the 16th century, conquistadors invaded Mexico, overthrowing the Aztec Empire, and engaged in the systematic massacre, slaughter and subjugation of the native peoples, as well as a non-insignificant amount of rape. Having a party themed after this event is deeply troubling because it elides the reality of that history and minimizes a process of subjugation and genocide. Having a party theme in which the male attendees literally step into the shoes of those Conquistadors and the women step into the shoes of the native women who they, again, raped is just insane.

How do people not get that this is not acceptable and screwed up. Why would you even want to have a party themed after a horrible act of genocide?

Happy to help

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Guy

How can you be sure that there was “non-insignificant” amount of rape?

Sir!

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People = Dinosaurs

“Aztec hoes” together not separate, although some are also upset at the hoes thing but that’s found in every other FRAT party.

Also dinosaurs were not a group of people whose descendants are still around, because I hate to break it to you but many Mexicans are nearly 100% indigenous, or have indigenous ancestry. SO yes Aztecs are still around.

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asdfasdf

after years of evidence it seems like party themes and racism are inseparable for some reason

no more party themes for anybody until you figure out how to make them not racist

i feel like queer parties and naked parties are options just throwing that out there

also it seems like the word “bias” is a compromise with racists and the Maroon seems to be trying to convince me to adopt this administrative euphemism. these frats have been accused of racism, so say it in the title!

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Galen Simmons

Does anyone find it at all Orwellian that UChicago has a “Director of Bias Response”? What response should the university take against people who offend the sensibilities of other students? Publish their pictures on the University website and label them bigots? I think that everyone is dancing around real issue here by debating whether or not this rises to the level of an ‘incident.’ The main issue is the university has created an office that allows politically-minded RSOs to promote their agendas by fabricating controversies. This is not about Latino janitors or housekeepers. This is about a group of students from entirely different backgrounds taking advantage of the University giving them a megaphone.

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Anon

Whoever is moderating this thread should be publicly shamed and then fired immediately.

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Bruße Waenn

Whoever is moderating this thread should be publicly shamed and then fired immediately.

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AB

Completely agree with EC.

This is such an overreaction that I would frankly be embarrassed to be associated with OMSA, MEChA, or any of the groups making a big deal about this.

Sure, maybe the party shouldn’t have used a derogatory word towards women in their party name. But to then say that Aztecs is insulting towards Latinos? Eh, no. The whole point is really more insulting for women than for a particular ethnic group (i.e., the point is that the male conquistadors are going to conquer the Aztec hoes. Ha. Ha. Not original, but certainly not insulting to a particular ethnic group).

And THEN they refused DU’s apology? Now they just seem like whiny little… yeah. DU has now apologized THREE times. And they cancelled the party. What do you want them to do? Beg for forgiveness?

And this entire deal about the lawn mowing business is ridiculous. Should there be specific guidelines on how Alpha Delt members can mow their lawn based on their ethnicity? Should white Alpha Delt members have to wear stereotypical white clothing and listen to stereotypical white music? So what if they wanted to wear sombreros, listen to Latin music and mow the lawn? This is the U.S. They’re allowed. To make a huge deal about it is more poor in taste than the original act, in my opinion. Not to mention, the stereotype of a Latino working at a menial job did not come out of thin air. Statistically, Latinos do hold many of the menial jobs in the U.S. You can howl about how politically incorrect it is to say so, but it’s a simple fact. Many Latinos have recently immigrated, don’t speak English, and don’t have a great deal of money or education, so they work at menial jobs. I don’t find the fact itself offensive. Now, saying “Latinos hold these jobs because they’re inferior to whites” WOULD be highly offensive. But I don’t see that here. If you are really so easily offended by a simple stereotype, then I would suggest finding a nice cave to live in right away, because otherwise you will spend the rest of your life being offended.

If anything, this sort of ridiculous over the top reaction does nothing but generate more racial tension. Good job, OMSA.

And for people saying something along the lines of “we should stop the perpetuation of stereotypes,” I wonder what exactly you mean by that. Most psychologists and sociologists agree- it is human nature to stereotype. It makes decision-making and reasoning easier for us, so we try to categorize everything- objects, places, ideas, people, etc. To say that we should stop doing this is the equivalent of saying we should rewire our brains and find new ways to think.

Good luck with that.

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M.

AB, you completely miss the point.

First off, they did not refuse all three apologies. We thought the first one insincere given that there were comments such as “change in theme makes me a sad safari bro” or whatever it was. This clearly showed that the brothers who changed the event only did so BECAUSE of the backlash, and not because they understood what was wrong with the theme. Also: given that the coalition had already pointed out that the original theme perpetuated rape culture, changing the theme to “safari bros and jungle cat HOES” did nothing to help the matter.

As mentioned in other comments, many Mexicans have Aztec ancestry, so it makes sense that they would be offended. Additionally, the other Latinos got upset were showing solidarity. However, it isn’t just the “Aztec” or the “Hoes” part that is offensive. The whole theme in general is offensive– conquistadors are part of ALL OF LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY because ALL LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES WERE CONQUERED. So excuse us for being mildly upset about it. Yes, it has gotten a little out of hand, I will not deny that, but I do think it makes sense they were offended.

However, given how cooperative DU has been, most of the people I’ve spoken to are actually no longer upset with DU at all. They still want to go on with the forum in order to have a more general discussion about race, ethnicity, and what it means to be a minority on this campus.

Second off, I cannot believe that you are actually defending Alpha Delt’s actions. Because joking or not, what they did was done in bad taste. The open display od that caricature is beyond fucked up. And while what you say about the statistics is true, the fact of the matter is that while all Mexicans are Latinos, NOT ALL LATINOS ARE MEXICAN. Perpetuating that image of latinos as people who always wear mariachi sombreros, etc. is fucked up and ignorant.

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AB

I think you’re missing my point.

My point is it is stupid and a waste of valuable time and energy to get so upset about trivial matters. So you find the very mention of conquistadors offensive? Seriously, get over it. I’m Native American. Therefore, I find all mention of white people offensive. I also like to get highly upset when people joke about small pox blankets, gambling, drinking, redskins, etc. In fact, my ancestors were here first (well, “first” is a relative term), so it’d be great if everyone else could all get the hell out now. I could think like that, but it would be idiotic and not how I would like to spend my time. I am capable of both identifying with my culture and also not getting my panties in a bunch when someone makes a joke. And TBH, I think that fosters much more openness and cooperation than this ridiculous, overblown reaction. But maybe I don’t understand your goals. Is your goal to foster cooperation, or to impose what you think is “right” and PC on everyone else? Can you honestly say that making a big deal out of this has furthered the goals of Latinos in the UChicago community… or has it led to more racial tension?

There is a difference between making a joke and being racist. If OMSA and MEChA, etc, are really interested in helping different cultures work together, then they need to know the difference. Breathing down people’s necks every time they do something that can be construed as “culturally insensitive” will help no one.

And I did not “defend” Alpha Delts actions (I referred to them as distasteful, actually, if you bothered to read my comment), but I am again pointing out how idiotic it is to get upset over a couple of kids mowing their lawn. And not all Latinos are Mexican BUT MOST LATINOS IN THE UNITED STATES ARE MEXICAN. THAT IS WHERE STEREOTYPES COME FROM. See, I can make my letters all caps too. I don’t think it particularly enhances my argument like you seem to think, though.

And “Perpetuating that image of latinos as people who always wear mariachi sombreros, etc. is fucked up and ignorant” is hilarious. Tell me, how does this image of Latinos wearing sombreros harm anyone? I will proceed to get highly offended anytime I see anyone wearing feathers and pretending to be Native American. How dare they perpetuate that image of uncivilized redskins! Never mind that some Native American tribes did (and still do) choose to adorn their hair with feathers, for various decorative or symbolic reasons. How dare they!!!

If you want to get offended about every single stereotype, then go ahead. I do not envy your life.

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M.

Native Americans have more right to be angry than any other group of people, in my opinion. And frankly, I have Native American friends who get offended when they’re referred to as Indians, redskins, alcoholics, or gamblers, etc. And I totally get why they are. That being said, i get where you’re coming from in terms of being overly sensitive. But as I said in my comment before, I do believe that the situation has gotten somewhat out of hand (which is why there are two factions amongst the complainants–we worry about being counterproductive by having such a huge backlash). But part of what made the DU event so offensive was the actual event description, not simply the party theme, because it made light of a very serious matter while also perpetuating rape culture. However, I will not bother going into further detail about why it was offensive, because I realize that it is pointless.

As to our goals, there are actually two factions– one of which is more extreme than the other. I personally do not wish to punish either fraternity, but would rather engage in open dialogue at a public forum, as mentioned before. We want to work together with both fraternities in question, although DU is the only one that has been cooperative thus far.

While you may not have explicitly defended Alpha Delt, you essentially defended their perpetuation of the stereotype. And the use of sombreros, etc. is exclusively Mexican, so it’s ignorant to use that as a way to symbolize all of Latino culture, which is very diverse. But that is besides the point. As mentioned in other comments, the caricature is demeaning and would certainly have been deeply offensive to other Latino workers on campus. And again, it’s your prerogative whether you get offended or not– this being your viewpoint does not mean that all Native Americans feel the same way, as I mentioned earlier in my comment. Though I would be surprised if you weren’t offended had they decided to make the pledges where traditional native american garb and farm while listening to tribal music.

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AB

Well, there is quite a difference between making a joke about Indians, redskins, etc and calling someone an alcoholic because of the way they look. DU may have been perpetuating a stereotype but they weren’t wandering around handing people who looked like Latinos brooms and mops and telling them to get to work. There is a difference. That is my point. And I really don’t see how they were generalizing the use of sombreros to all Latinos. Could they not have just been generalizing the use of sombreros to Mexicans? That seems far more likely, because, as I said, any music/culture/etc they have picked up from Latinos is likely to be from Mexicans, since they are the majority population of Latinos in this country.

And I never pretended to represent the entire Native American community; I was simply demonstrating how it would be ridiculous for me to get angry at the very mention of white people (our “conquerors”) just because of past events. Every white person I meet is not personally responsible for the genocide of my ancestors. They aren’t even somewhat responsible. Perhaps their ancestors are. I can hold a grudge against their ancestors, I suppose, but holding one against them would be stupid and petty, IMO.

And if I saw a bunch of white kids (probably preppy white kids from the suburbs. Let’s go ahead and propagate the frat stereotype) dressed in what they thought was traditional Native American garb attempting to farm the earth in front of Alpha Delt while listening to what they thought was tribal music?

I would laugh my ass off.

I would be annoyed by someone assuming I’m stupid, inbred, or have some special connection with nature (damn you Pocahontas!) because of the way I look, in the same way black people are offended when some people assume they are criminals who listen to rap music based upon the way they look. Racism and stereotypes are not the same thing. Everyone has stereotypes, as I mentioned previously. It is inevitable. Whether we choose to discriminate against people based upon those stereotypes is something else entirely. Discrimination bothers me; the perpetuation of stereotypes does not. Stereotypes perpetuate themselves, whether a bunch of frat kids choose to help will change nothing. If culture changes (i.e., if Latinos suddenly begin occupying all of the high-paying jobs in the U.S., etc) then the stereotype will change.

I just think it’s better to save our time and energy for blatant acts of discrimination than for these petty instances of stereotyping. Sure, they’re distasteful, but why aren’t people angry about our black colleagues getting beaten by the police without provocation? Why aren’t we arguing about actual instances of rape (it’s not like there aren’t enough!) rather than something that might vaguely propagate “rape culture.” It just amazes me that these organizations dedicated to supporting diversity on our campus choose the least important things to get upset about and instead of making things better, they make things worse. It may not have been their intention, but I do hope that in the future they will pair their actions with some forethought. Seeing someone else act carelessly does not give them the right to do the same.

Go read about Tiawanda Moore. Or Gregory Malandrucco and Matthew Clark. Or countless others. Now, if they were Native American, then this is what I would get upset about and find offensive (not saying I don’t find it upsetting now!). Not a bunch of frat kids playing with feathers.

Anon

Some have brought up that this article ignores all the good that Greek organizations do on campus, as if that would balance out racism. Fortunately, Greek life does nothing good on campus so this isn’t an issue.

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jhdvfajkdhsbf

Really? NOTHING good? What about the TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS that Greek organizations raise for charity each year? What about providing social outlets to alleviate the stress of our rigorous course schedules? I just raised you two, so let’s start with that. Before posting such an inane and horribly sweeping assumption, why don’t you a) do your research, since ostensibly as a UChicago student you pride yourself on being well-informed, intelligent, and most of all CORRECT and b) get off your holier-than-thou throne, because you’re no better than anyone in any Greek organization, and I’d go so far to say that uninformed, close-minded antagonists such as yourself are really the ones to blame for doing “nothing good on campus.” Live and let live.

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anonn

Really? Greeks don’t do anything good? I’m pretty sure the sororities all raise like several thousand dollars for their philanthropies, and I think most of them have community service requirements every quarter. What have you done recently to help out the less fortunate?

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Greek

Greek organizations have raised around $30,000 so far this year, donated their time to multiple volunteer organizations, and have participated in blood drives. I’d wager to say that this is more than any other group of students on campus. This doesn’t excuse their actions, but I would guess much of this (over)reaction is due to people such as yourself who make their own sweeping generalizations about fraternities because they dislike them, and not because you think their actions truly warrant this backlash.

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actually...

that’s an incorrect assumption. while other organizations may not have raised as much money as the greeks, they have most certainly done more service. think about the community change project, or peer health exchange, or SOUL, or CHAMP, etc. or Alpha Phi Omega, an service fraternity whose sole purpose IS to do service. and maybe this is an incorrect assumption, but I would guess that most greeks don’t do any service aside from those that are organized/required by their chapter.

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Anonymous

The Community Change Project was founded by three Greeks. Countless other service organizations are also headed by Greeks. That is absolutely an incorrect assumption.

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Dad

Apologist Bros and Derailing Hoes

1. This is a shitstorm of (certain, God forbid we ever generalize) (defensive) (insulted) fraternity brothers saying that generalizing Greek Life is bad without admitting that a cog of the institution that they associate with so dearly has reached an unreasonable level of political correctness—whether the issue is cultural trivialization or sexism.

Additionally, not all fraternity brothers are bad, not all fraternities are bad. Not even majorities. Fraternity brothers often do very good things! A lot of people are demonizing “frat bros” and the demonization is undue and excessive; they aren’t inherently bad people, and they don’t behave to intentionally harm.

But, this time, they did something wrong. It’s a shame that they’re seldom praised for the good that they do, but that’s not the focus of the discussion. The focus is that they were insensitive to certain oppressed groups.

2. “Irony” isn’t an excuse. None of you using it as an excuse don’t even know what it means.

3A. The REAL ISSUE is the fact that accountability NEEDS to exist when ANYONE does something like this. It’s not an issue of fraternities. If members of the UT community were to throw a party with a politically incorrect title, they’d catch fire for it. Same with OMSA. Same with every single RSO in this university. But this time, it was a fraternity. It was two fraternities.

I can’t make this any more clear.

3B. We’re not “targeting” fraternities BECAUSE they are fraternities. We are “targeting” fraternities because they are responsible for something that struck a chord. Stereotypes aside, Greek Life is supposed to represent a conglomerate of leaders that care about their community. These actions do not reflect that overarching goal. The apology from DU was appreciated, but they need to be sanctioned nonetheless so this sort of behavior isn’t repeated. A system of consequences for insensitive behavior needs to be put into place if Greek Life and fraternities want to maintain—or at least, give off—an image of leadership and community.

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Son

“2. “Irony” isn’t an excuse. None of you using it as an excuse don’t even know what it means.”

Fantastic.

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anonymous

does this mean that I can be offended about a Jersey Shore-themed party that makes fun of my Italian heritage??? where do you draw the line?

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Guy

To be fair the gentleman of jersey shore often fall on a grenade for their fellow men.

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Jaclyn Veronique Bustamante

The majority of fraternity brothers here are pathetic. Despite the efforts of the admissions office to frame them as a positive presence in campus life, they add next to nothing to the campus community. It’s a refuge for those who got in because of athletics (at U of C! Ha!), those admitted under the “Common App” and the efforts of Zimmer & Co. to admit more “conventional students”, and those who were popular at mediocre Eastern prep schools or high schools in suburban Chicago. To everyone who thinks I’m badmouthing the U of C’s frats by saying this – they do NOTHING to improve their reputation. Remember the gang rape at Alpha Delt and the knifing in front of (either Psi U or FIJI) in 08-09? Think about the recent poster a frat put up of the “suspect” for the sexual assault last weekend, completely mocking and dismissing the incident? Remember all the people who’ve been assaulted by bouncers and the sexual assaults every year? The current bias incidents? If they want people to think better of them, they shouldn’t act as they do. At the moment, this would be an almost ENTIRELY better and safer campus without fraternities, if not Greek life as a whole.

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That Guy

This is the most ignorant comment I’ve ever read.

I’ll save time by pointing out what you got right. Yes, FIJI is mostly football players, and yes, a lot of people in fraternities are from the Chicago suburbs or east coast prep schools (but then, so are a out of UChicago students in general). And yes, there was a stabbing at FIJI, where the responsible party was expelled/suspended.

Pretty much everything else is crap. The Common App? Do you think fraternities only started here 3 years ago? Zimmer & Co.? Why would the university encourage people to join fraternities? They all but openly disdain them. Gang rape at Alpha Delt? You mean the alleged incident where despite a full investigation nobody was arrested, nobody was sued, and the accusation was withdrawn? What, do you think they used their secret fraternity influence to buy their way out of trouble?

Maybe you should learn something about fraternities other than the rumors you overhear and the outright libel you read in the Maroon. You sound like you’re speaking from deep-seated prejudice than any rational basis.

Feel free to ignore the crux of my response and only focus on some minor error I may have made. I expect nothing less from someone who clearly has no interest in facts or logical debate.

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Jaclyn Veronique Bustamante

Okay, the part about “Zimmer & Co” is badly phrased. My point is that admissions policies over the past few years have favored male students likely to join fraternities. Okay, I’ll even concede that not all fraternities have a corrupt culture – Alpha Delt and FIJI are the main culprits, but I can’t think of any fraternity that’s a shining example of community-mindedness.

What disgusts me about the majority of comments “defending frats” is that they try to paint frats as “victims.” What and who exactly are campus frats victims of? The Maroon? Susan Art? As the Christian right now does, it assimilates the rhetoric of oppression from actually oppressed groups to exonerate groups, largely if not entirely, complicit in oppression. Fraternities traditionally have and here, in part, do form preserves of entitled straight white maleness, that writes off claims of misogyny, racism, etc. as insignificant. I don’t believe in prejudice based upon class, race, gender, ice cream flavor you like, left-handedness…etc. But I’m entitled to generalize about and be prejudiced about how people act in groups that they join voluntarily, for my own safety and other reasons. Prove me wrong.

Quoting the Anon poster earlier: “Some have brought up that this article ignores all the good that Greek organizations do on campus, as if that would balance out racism. Fortunately, Greek life does nothing good on campus so this isn’t an issue.” Truer words never said. What good exactly does Greek life, and in particular fraternity life, do on campus, other than hosting shitty parties for first years and providing a beer pong refuge? There is actual programming hosted by the Asian and Latino-oriented frats that doesn’t consist of sexual assault, but give me something more and maybe I’ll have a more “balanced” view of frat life.

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Guillermo

Let’s keep it in perspective. Only a group of true idiots, whatever their level of “racial” diversity, would come up with this party theme and thinks it’s a good idea.

Here’s the real offense… Combating these ignorant frats takes precious attention away from the greater, graver issues–e.g. prisons, gun violence.
So, anti-racists are wasting time to deal with the unintentional racism of these mental defects rather than the real intentional racism of the ruling class.

Micro is macro. If you’re excusing the frats and their dumb assery, I suggest you do some soul searching.

Hint: check the lost and found.

I got a party theme: US Soldiers and Afghan Hoes… When the ROTC gets offended, are we going to call them whiners too?

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um

DU and Alpha Delt screwed up and should be held accountable. But it is the nature of journalism that you only hear about the bad incidents and don’t hear about the tens of thousands of dollars fraternities raise for charity, for example. If you only learn about Greek Life from reading the maroon, then odds are you will not have a balanced opinion.

I will say that there should be contact information online for PR Chairs or presidents of most sororities/fraternities on campus. You should talk to some so they can enrich your understanding and maybe allay some of your fears, such as your bizarre idea that students from mediocre prep schools join fraternities (students from mediocre prep schools don’t get in here!). UChicago preaches “informed opinions,” so if you actually care about the issue I think you should take my advice.

Also, the conspiracy theory about Nondorf and Zimmer recruiting for Greek Life is just empirically false. UChicago’s increasingly broad applicant pool may include more people interested in Greek Life than back in the “UnCommon App” days when our ranking was much lower and our admission rate was double what it is now, but each application is evaluated on its merits and this new class is, accordingly, the most qualified class in our history! What a wonderful thing.

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InternationalStudent

“At 12:54 a.m. that night, first-year Daniel Kraft—one of the brothers who created the event—sent an apology to Leon, expressing DU’s regret over the name. Soon after, he posted a second apology on Facebook.
‘There is no question that the previous event title was unacceptable and offensive, and we would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Latino community and any other groups that have been offended and hurt by the title of the event,’ Kraft’s letter to Leon read.
However, the controversy continued to build, since Latin students believed that the apology was insincere and dismissive.”

And THEN they refused DU’s apology? Now they just seem whiny… yeah. DU has now apologized THREE times. And they cancelled the party. What do you want them to do? Get down on their knees and beg for forgiveness?

How is MEChA de UChicago better than DU? Is Aztec supremacism so much better than some jokes?

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Person

What a dull world we would live in if we considered the amount of people who would be offended by light-hearted jokes. If you want to go back to reading the tame jokes on popsicle sticks then I recommend you do. “Why did the dog bother everyone? Because it was a hound dog.” That’s a real knee slapper for you offended crowd isn’t it. I’ll continue to make crass jokes that might be construed as insensitive and listening to Richard Pryor doing impressions of white people, which are absolutely hilarious by the way.

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Must have been FIJI...

And what about FIJI’s roll in all this? The article neglects to address the incident that happened later that day where FIJI members made jokes about Psi Upsilon not being diverse on account of only admitting “gays.”

As both a gay and a PSI U, I find this terribly offensive – and think this incident is related to the broader problem, though not directly.

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wait what

from wikipedia:

“One common feature of logos used by MEChA chapters, an Eagle holding a lit stick of dynamite and a macuahuitl [aztec sword]”

at the very least, at least this DU thing shined a light on a creepy nationalist student organization. i dont believe you can play the race card or the victim card when your organization wants to reclaim the american southwest for “La Raza”! wtf…how is that different from islamaphobes in europe banning minarets or the kkk or any other form of racist nationalism?

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Make Friends Not Flamewars

To me, this boils down to an issue of first amendment rights. As I understand, both DU and Alpha Delt are private organizations neither funded by, nor officially recognized by the University of Chicago. This should afford them the right to express themselves any way they see fit. By the same vein, if you are offended by the name of DU’s party, you have the right to choose not to attend. If you are offended by the means by which Alpha Delt chooses to mow the lawn on its private property, you can stop looking at Alpha Delt’s private property. Similarly, if you would like to perpetuate Fraternity stereotypes based on pop-culture, misunderstanding, and on occasion blatant slander, I will defend to the death your right to do so, as I will defend DU and Alpha Delt’s right to make tasteless jokes.

However, if you would like to make a well informed judgement on our Fraternity system, I urge you to have conversations with the brothers themselves. Admittedly, some of them probably suck, but others will probably be happy to share in a pleasant conversation. Hell, you’ll probably even get offered a beer.

Peace

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Jaclyn Veronique Bustamante

A little understood aspect of the First Amendment is that, while you have freedom of speech, you also CAN FACE CONSEQUENCES FOR THAT SPEECH. You can’t stop Alpha Delt pledges from mowing their lawn in sombreros, but you can also criticize and deride Alpha Delt for so doing – and, moreover, they can be made to face consequences for their sombrero-ed lawn mowing.

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Wulfram

This should be a wake-up call to admissions that they need to do a better job of weeding these people out. It doesn’t matter what their SAT scores are–racism is a form of stupidity, and these idiots don’t deserve to be here.

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ARD Alumni

This will not be considered a real issue until MALDEF or Jesse Jackson or Luis Guiterrez becomes involved.

My own opinion is that anyone paying $50 Large per year in tution and fees and housing deserves to let off a little steam.

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LOL

Naming a party “Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes” isn’t racist and it doesn’t promote rape culture. My main problem is that they didn’t use “Whores” in the title – which would be catchier.

Now let’s consider the parts of the title that you PC-obsessed affirmative action kids and militant lesbians might have gotten upset over:

1. Conquistadors aren’t a race – they’re a subset of people within a race who were intent on conquering, etc. So characterizing them as people who like to conquer, etc. isn’t racist – it’s just accurate.

2. Asking girls to dress like Aztec Hoes isn’t racist because it in no way implies that all Aztec women were hoes, or enjoyed being raped, or any dumb nonsense like that. It just encourages acting a certain way and acting like a hoe (which they do on their own).

3. Implying that the women who attend will be “conquered” or whatnot doesn’t promote rape culture. If anything – it’s a warning: “don’t come to our party if you don’t like being treating like an object”. Attending a party with that name makes you complicit in rape culture because you are agreeing to be objectified – not a victim of it, uchicago hoe.

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Dan

The fact that these incidents have been made into a big scandal is incredibly racist in itself. Much more so than the original acts, which were just a few individuals making some distasteful stereotypes. Now, we have top university officials, and the Sun Times, declaring that Latinos are off limits to mockery, in the same way that you wouldn’t call a retarded individual “stupid.” To put this in perspective, we make equally bad stereotypes of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. No one cares, though, because we don’t feel sorry for Irish people. The people who are making a hoopla, are they saying the caricature was hitting too close to home?

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Fem

To all the people saying “I am a minority and I was not offended”: Just because you weren’t offended doesn’t mean that other people weren’t. People have different experiences with racism and how it has affected them. I think that it’s great that you’re weighing in, but phrasing it that way makes people feel marginalized.

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UchiPride

This whole issue makes me pretty proud of our school. Think about how upset people are about something innocent compared to say the Dartmouth frat scandal or the Yale sexism thing. We should keep it up :D (Mitigating factor: wow, people troll in the comments. What happened to reasonable discourse?)

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Rhonda

I truly believe that college students should be held to a standard equal to the work force. If someone makes racist comments the person is held accountable for it … normally by firing the person. If the business does not take action…heavy fines to include suing. The students involved should be expelled from the university and if the university does not take action and does not promote a non-hostile environment they too should be held accountable. In this day and age…I am appalled that such actions/comments are made. For those who think this is a joke…really need human sensitivity training. My husband and I just discussed how much better things are racially between people and then we read this…unbelievable.

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Thomas

I think it’s shocking that the Maroon has barely reported on the sexual assault on our campus, particularly the response to that sexual assault. In response, someone, purportedly a group of pledges from a fraternity here at Uchicago, posted a fake pamphlet all over campus the morning after the incident of sexual assault. The poster has a fake number, said “Warning Sexual Predator” and had a picture of one of the fraternity’s pledge brothers. This is disgusting, shameful, and a threat to every woman on this campus. It says, if you get sexually assaulted, raped, or harassed by members of our community, we won’t take you seriously. The maroon mentioned this incident in passing but has failed to create any sort of discussion about it, has failed to investigate it, and has failed to expose it for what it is. Many students still don’t know about it because the police took the posters down. I want to see this being discussed. Threatening woman on this campus seems to be acceptable and rape has been made into a joke.

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whogivesafuck

You all need to chill the fuck out and spend this energy getting an education instead of wasting your parents’ money having useless arguments.

In four years, half of you are going to have deadend jobs and the other half will resent you for it. No one will give a fuck who got offended in college.

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Jean Lyons Lotus

I lived in the DU house as one of many female residents in the 1980s. It was a nice, civilized place where pledges were courted with fruit and cheese platters and the house was friendly and fun. As women, we paid escrow dues in case “national” ever decided to admit women. Then one alumni weekend, this jerk arrived clutching a paper saying he had alumni proxy votes that would kick women out of the frat.

When I read about this controversy I was ashamed of Delta Upsilon. this would never have happened if the girls were still there. Shame on you DU.

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eager for a response

I know it’s 10th week, but surely Alpha Delt has something to say about the coverage it’s received both here and in the local media? Similarly, wouldn’t it have been fitting for the Maroon to publish another story with updates earlier this week? A lot of questions remain unanswered right now

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Irony

The irony is that three of the most emblematic buildings of modern UChicago were designed by Latin-American architects:

Max Palevsky Residential Commons, Ricardo Legorreta (Mexican)

Gerald Ratner Athletics Center, César Pelli (Argentine-American)

UChicago Booth School of Business, Rafael Viñoly (Uruguayan)

;)

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Ironía

The irony is that three of the most emblematic buildings of modern UChicago were designed by Latin-American architects:

Max Palevsky Residential Commons, Ricardo Legorreta (Mexican)

Gerald Ratner Athletics Center, César Pelli (Argentine-American)

UChicago Booth School of Business, Rafael Viñoly (Uruguayan)

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Erik

As a Latina, I cannot fathom how this became some huge issue. The DU party theme was clearly intended ironically. If anything, it seems like the intention was to mock racism, which is why it’s so over-the-top. The Alpha Delt stunt was in poor taste, but it’s something to roll your eyes at, not blow up into some pseudo-controversy. This level of political correctness is totally counterproductive.This lack of sense of humor and oversensitivity are more likely to push people away from reevaluating ethnic stereotypes than anything.
And hell, a lot of my family does work in menial labor – factory floor, construction, etc. They’re recent immigrants, can’t speak English, and poorly educated. And others in my family have worked and gotten themselves into six figure jobs. The second group is in the minority not because of their ethnicity, but because they came from relatively uneducated, low-income families. The stereotype of the Mexican groundskeeper exists for a reason – the key is to not let that turn into a generalization. If someone were to immediately assume that so-and-so was a janitor based on ethnicity, THAT is blatantly racist.

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