Frats have always have always been casually associated with terrible people doing terrible things. The stereotypes are drugged drinks and racist behavior, but are maybe more accurate than we like to admit. Most people can think of a massive incident in the last few years that had to do with a frat. If you pay attention at all, you can probably list several. Most recently in Oklahoma, some kids from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were caught on video chanting some horribly racist stuff.
“There will never be a n***er at SAE. There will never be a n***er at SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he will never sign with me. There will never be a n***er at SAE.”
Not long ago, kids from the Phi Delta Theta frat had this sign hanging.
The sad truth is those two disgusting acts aren’t even the worst these frats do.
A list was put together here, citing all the incidents related to rape in 2014. Even if some of the cases aren’t true, the simple fact that this list needs to exist is crazy. Whether or not frats are the worst offenders is irrelevant. They are offenders, and repeatedly so, when they have every opportunity to improve their image themselves. They write the rules, they throw the parties, they encourage the attitudes. They control everything in their houses and they are being caught messing up over and over again.
I have a limited understanding of fraternities, so please excuse my ignorance. I’ve been reading up on them, though, and the information is confusing. Some seem to be linked to the school, insomuch as, the school can ban them. They also appear to be supported by some schools, with tax payer money going to building and maintaining frat houses and related things (and donations to fraternities going to the school). Where this is the case, I think frats and sororities should close up shop. Other frats and sororities seem to be loosely tied to specific schools, self-run and self-sustained, and off campus. In which case, nothing can be done about them. My main desire is for the universities to cut ties with these organizations as they don’t represent what a university should represent.
Fraternities are another thing that invites the tribal mentality to take over our autonomy. We aren’t individuals when we form these types of brotherhood relationships. Your actions are not seen as your own. They reflect your groups values. If you go against the group, you aren’t seen as an individual making a decision, you are stepping out against your own. It’s common in wars, all the way down to high school sport teams. It’s an extreme “us vs them” mindset. You can see why it would be useful in some situations. War is a constant risk to your life. You need to trust the people around you completely, so that level of bonding and that mentality make sense. In sports, you don’t want to like your opponent. Off the field, that’s fine, but when gearing up for the game, or playing, they are an enemy of sorts. Both of these can be, and sometimes are, taken too far and should be dealt with when that happens. But why do frats need this mentality? I hear people say it’s to form close, lifelong, deep, meaningful friendships, and that might be true in some instances but it’s nonsense. You don’t need to form a brotherhood to be lifelong friends. Friends can disagree, can argue, can tell each other to stop being stupid. There aren’t rules, explicit hierarchy, rituals, hazing or other weird stuff like that. (Other people say frats are for networking, but again, you don’t need hazing that cause deaths to network. That’s ridiculous.)
We can talk about racial and gender discrimination, too. We can talk about how they are basically a caste system.
There are plenty of other problems that make it impossible for me to see how the positives outweigh the many, very serious, negatives.
Now, smart reader, you may be thinking, “Yes, but…” and you’re probably right. For a far more complete look into fraternities, I recommend this article. http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/02/the-dark-power-of-fraternities/357580/
It’s well written and thoroughly researched. My post was a silly little rant and should be treated as such.