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Horrible fraternity chants and all other manner of hot spicy racism.


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#1 Green Goblin

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:12 PM

"You can hang'em from a tree, but they'll never sign with me.

No they're never be a ****er in SAE"


Yeah, so I dunno if this is really "controversial", as I don't see anyone objectively siding with the frat house.  That being said, it's hardly the only instance of just blatant racism I've seen out of college kids nowadays.  Now, a lot of you guys know that I'm from the DC Metropolitan area.  That consists of Washington DC, parts of Northern Virginia and Southern and Central Maryland (basically all locations within the Capital Beltway).  More specifically, I'm from Prince George's County/Montgomery County, MD.  They two of the richest counties in the country that happen to have a black majority.  As a result, I typically didn't see a lot of racism or hear a lot of the n-word ending in hard R's growing up.  But as some of my friends extended beyond the Beltway after college, I got to see it a bit more first hand.  I got to see children as young as 15 use the word effortlessly (and directly in front of me, no less).  I saw college kids tell a joke that starts with "what's blue and hangs in my front porch?".  Now, it's pretty clear that these are learned behaviors.  And I'm guessing that's it's always been there.  Just that now, with everyone having access to a camera in their pockets, it's just sooooo much easier to document.

 

 

Just last year, the film "Dear White People" centered around the throwing of a "black" party in an Ivy League school, followed by showing of legitimate cases of the exact same thing that have happened recently.

http://www.thegloss....an-stereotypes/

 

So, I just gotta know:  Is this just.....like....a common occurrence that just never got a lot of press coverage or something?  What's it like where you all are at? 



#2 FŽanen

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 07:44 PM

I'm adjacent to several areas with heavy black and Hispanic populations with high poverty rates, but as far as the epithet in question being uttered by white people I've only heard it once by a rather odd and rambling man on a bus right after Hurricane Katrina. Generally what I hear is the sort of veiled "I'm not a racist, but the people in this town..." sort of stuff, and the Hispanic population gets far more of that bile (and the Hasidic Jewish population gets the most by far around here). As far as conscious, flagrant, racism like the stuff in Oklahoma, that's totally alien to me. Might be because of my slim field of associates, being a social worker, and whatnot.

 

That being said, is anybody remotely surprised that fraternities and sororities are a place where this shit comes out? I'm sure they're not all bad, far from it, but I can't think of a better breeding ground for closedmindedness, groupthink, and general assholery.



#3 JRPomazon

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 09:52 PM

I'm sure this shit is happening everywhere. But like an article I read about this subject mentioned. people who are racist tend to trip up on themselves eventually and all comes out in one way or another. And man, this shit popped like a zit. I don't think I've seen a situation where the hammer fell so hard so quickly and so publicly before in my entire life.



#4 Hana-Nezumi

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 02:25 AM

I've seen depressing amounts of casual racism, having lived in Louisiana my whole life. It's horrifying to think that it's probably even worse in Texas and Mississippi. In New Orleans, it wasn't quite so bad, as the city is pretty integrated, however in smaller towns and neighborhoods with very few minorities, you come across it more often. You get racist parents who specifically send their kids to all-white private schools, and then the kids grow up never even knowing any people of other races, so all they know are the stereotypes, even if they're not racist in a hateful or deliberate way. In my opinion, the continued segregation of children by race by the schism of private and public schools is an enormous part of what is perpetuating racism in certain places throughout the US and especially the South.

 

The absolute worst case of racism I've ever seen... it was when I was working at Walmart, there was an incident where a customer called a cashier a n****r and spit at her. She told him off and stormed off... And she was fired over that. I don't even have words for how furious that makes me, even to this day...



#5 Egann

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 04:44 PM

It depends A LOT on where you look.

 

Debate club was one of my favorite college experiences, and it didn't become majority white until after I graduated. I imagine a fair reason it stayed mostly minority for so long was because people felt uncomfortable, but you know what? I loved it and I didn't care.

 

There is a bubbling undercurrent of closet discomfort. Probably the best example is a woman I spoke to who was looking to move into this area "because her neighborhood in Atlanta was changing."

 

"You mean," I said, "that black people are moving in."

 

"Precisely."

 

Now, granted, the reason she said she was uncomfortable was because poor black neighborhoods have higher crime rates. This is true, but it's in the same sense that my car insurance is ridiculous because I'm a young man, never mind that I haven't gotten a speeding ticket or been in an at-fault accident since I started driving ten years ago.

 

I guess it boils down to this; you can legislate things about discrimination in the workplace, but you can't goad people into being comfortable around somebody else. It's kinda got to happen on its own.



#6 Ikiosho

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 07:40 PM

I'm from Indianapolis, and I heard all sorts of slurs thrown around regularly, probably starting in junior high. Then, it wasn't anything malicious, or even tossed between people of different ethnicities. Just junior high kids greeting each other casually with them.

When I got to high school, things got a little more real. Probably about once or twice per semester in the common area of the high school, a brawl would break out between the big rival Mexican and black gangs. Word would go around the day before it happened, so a lot of people would skip school and extra police would be called in for the day. Granted, there were a decent amount of officers there every day, given that whites were not the majority at my school and the all-white administration may have been scared. Or just that there were a lot of fights, I don't know.

 

I go to a private university now, and I am in a fraternity. In the three years I've been here, racism isn't much of an issue here at all from what I can tell. At least in my fraternity, diversity is relished. We were all pretty appalled when we heard about this story.

 

That being said, is anybody remotely surprised that fraternities and sororities are a place where this shit comes out? I'm sure they're not all bad, far from it, but I can't think of a better breeding ground for closedmindedness, groupthink, and general assholery.

 

I know a lot of fraternities out there, especially at public state schools who are exactly this. As with anything though, watch out for generalizations, because there are a lot like mine who are out there trying to actually just have fun and make a good name for Greek life. We get pretty sensitive about these kinds of accusations.



#7 Selena

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 09:17 PM

It happens everywhere, unfortunately, but it most frequently occurs in white rural areas. Here in the other Washington, we're (in)famous for being a haven for left wing progressives -- but that's really just Seattle and the big cities. Move out to the predominantly white rural areas? Different story. Highly offensive racist jokes become far more commonplace.

 

Can't say I've ever seen something like this out of a frat or other organization here -- but I heard plenty of terrible "jokes" from young white guys in high school. Which isn't to say I haven't heard girls be racist -- because I have -- but "showboating" it around like this was typically a guy thing. Maybe it's an attempt to one-up each other, I don't know. Stuff like this almost always happens when there's a group of some kind involved. They think it's funny because the "butt" of the joke isn't there to retaliate.

 

 

 

Which is the key thing. The subject of the joke not being there to have a say. That's why this most often happens in rural white areas -- and Oklahoma is definitely that.

 

People who live in cities (or college towns) are more likely to be open-minded about other races. Close contact means you get to know them better. You realize they aren't awful. Sure, there might be some neighborhoods of prissy white people that bitch about the "ghetto" parts of town. But there are plenty more who aren't dicks and learn to appreciate cultural differences. Cities are melting pots.

 

Rural white towns? Don't really see other races as often as cities do. They're far-off "outsiders." That means it's easy to misunderstand them, even fear them as outside influences, and racist shit follows along. We don't have much of a black population in my county, but we get a lot of Hispanic migrant workers and their families -- some settle permanently. I've heard some pretty disgusting racist shit about how they're "making Skagit worse." My stepfather was pretty racist. Automatically assumed our Latino neighbors were thieves -- even though they made more money than us. Some racist remarks about Natives, too. Most often stemming from fishing rights, because my god are white rednecks pissed that they get to fish before the "main" season opener.

 

Girlfriend? From South Dakota. The white redneck population there is super racist too.

 

So, regrettably, it's not a surprise. Social media just makes it easier to put a stop to this kind of shit. "Post-racist society" my ass.

 

 

 

 

 

Still, very pleased that the university dropped the hammer so hard -- should hopefully show that people aren't going to tolerate bigots anymore.



#8 Green Goblin

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 01:35 AM

Selena, you were telling me quite a lot about Native American culture a while ago.  Despite (or maybe because of) living in and around and area who's football team is named something rather tacky and offensive, we don't really have and kind of appreciation (or even common knowledge) about Native American history around here.



#9 Delphi

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 09:39 AM

Basically what Lena said. I've heard more racial slurs in rural Utah in the last five years than probably the rest of my life at this point.

What's worse is when you try to explain why a certain racial or ethnic group don't like to be called something around here they say "Well they need to stop being so sensitive." Goes back to my hatred of choosing to be ignorant instead of coming about it because they genuinely don't know better.

And it was a gentle "correction" too about calling Asians "Orientals". DJ was actually the one who taught me this years ago and I corrected myself immediately once he explained it. He said that Oriental is considered something you use to describe furniture or a rug, not a person and the term has a lot of historical baggage. Makes sense to me!

Someone was throwing around the word "Oriental" in regards to people from East Asia and I mentioned what DJ had told me in a friendly way like, "Hey I know we don't really see a lot of variety out here so I wanted to pass on something an Asian friend told me a few years back so you don't get jumped on in the future." So after they told them they said that was interesting...but they're still going to call them Oriental.

But really I shouldn't expect much from a community that calls their Black neighbors "yard apes" and throw out every bad joke about watermelon and fried chicken at the mention of the president. And calling the president the "Black Devil" and every variation of the N word.

Then there's the poor people from South of the border... I'm just waiting until someone gets shot. And it probably won't be a white person.

#10 Selena

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 11:16 AM

 

What's worse is when you try to explain why a certain racial or ethnic group don't like to be called something around here they say "Well they need to stop being so sensitive."

 

Oh, I've seen this countless times. In reference to every single minority group. It always plays out as a gross combination of willing ignorance, social Darwinism, and an determined, utter refusal to acknowledge bad shit the US has done. The last one is set to get even worse in the future, as some states (like Oklahoma -- again) are passing laws that forbid the teaching of anything "unpatriotic" -- AKA: anything that makes the government look bad. I think they replaced their AP history material with -- no shit -- the 10 Commandments and Reagan speeches.

 

I can't count how many times I've seen a white person dismiss a terrible atrocity, or at least overlook the worst parts of it. "Slavery wasn't really all that awful. It was just common at the time, so America wasn't doing anything overly bad. And HEY, African societies had slaves too! So there! Stop whining!" Or "I don't feel any remorse for the civilians who died in Hiroshima, because the nukes ended the war early."

 

And then in regards to Natives, no matter what kind of discussion happens, you usually see this:  "They lost, we won. They need to get over it and stop being so sensitive." Or, "Caesar didn't say 'I came, I saw, I felt really bad about conquering people.' This is the way society works. The strong dominate and conquer the weak."

 

Because that's a well adjusted thought.

 

Slavery is sometimes "justified" with those arguments, too. They aren't old arguments from a bygone age. The Caesar comment was something I saw recently on this video of Sacheen Littlefeather refusing to accept Marlon Brando's Oscar for the Godfather (note the loud booing -- it's also worth digging more into her story, because she was treated extremely shitty backstage. The reason she didn't read Brando's speech was because they threatened to arrest her if she did).

 

 

 

 

Unless you take AP history or get private tutoring, public schools teach a very "bleached/sanitized" version of history. Where I am, they just skipped over some of the more troubling stuff. I remember learning about the Revolution, Civil War, and the World Wars. Things like Vietnam and our mostly doomed "operations" in the modern era were glossed over. Slavery and the Native American genocide (which is indeed considered a flat-out genocide by other countries, but conveniently not in the US) were presented rather dryly, skipping the most gruesome details.

 

I learned most of my history in private study, just because I legitimately enjoy reading about it.

 

But when you consider that most Americans don't study history again after graduation, y'know... people learned that America was the best thing ever, and they don't like hearing otherwise once they've been molded. History classes in any country are often propaganda tools. Even documentaries on the Hitler-- I mean History -- channel only like to cover our "glorious" aspects.

 

All big expansionist nations have bloodstained history. Persia, China, Rome, Britain, the US -- the list goes on and on. You have to take the bad with the good, so you can learn from it. Part of becoming a more enlightened society means realizing how awful past barbarities were. Like how you look back on your childhood behavior and facepalm when you realize what a shit you sometimes were. None of that underscores the good things that happened along the way.

 

And if you really never actually have to encounter the race you supposedly don't like? Well, you'll never learn otherwise. That's why whitebred rural towns are cesspits for racism. Because it's a combination of this kind of teaching, plus learned racism, plus cultural isolation.



#11 JRPomazon

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 12:47 AM

And like all great nations with bloodstained histories, I imagine there will come a time where the United States is mentioned in future World History classes and most of the things we try to ignore about this nation are brought up with no bias and total clarity. After all, I'm sure it will be on the test.



#12 Raien

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 07:26 PM

It's interesting to see this topic come up because a couple of weeks ago, a group of English football supporters were filmed shouting racist chants on a Paris subway train and preventing a black man from getting on the train. Apparently the people were found and banned from the Chelsea football club that they support. What I find interesting is that since Britain does not have college fraternities/sorrorities, football clubs have pretty much become the last bastion of overt racism in this country. It's the only kind of organisation that supports that kind of toxic-masculine frat-ish behaviour.

 

Otherwise, I agree with Selena that the best way to confront racism is simply to bring people into contact with different races from a young age. This is actually where I think the internet will benefit new generations. Despite the studies that claim the internet supports groupthink, I've noticed that it brings people into contact with facts and human experiences they wouldn't normally know about. I certainly think it contributes to the younger generations being more liberal-leaning than their parents. It at least takes them away from the isolation of their local communities.



#13 Egann

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 10:46 AM

I live in the deep south and I almost never see overt racism around here. I get undercurrents of it on occasion--like I alluded to in my first post--but I never see anything more than people feeling uncomfortable around each other (and these people are practically always older than 40). In fact,  Herman Cain and Ben Carson are pretty popular around here...for better or worse.

 

Maybe Jim Crowe being an official rule which got struck down changes things. Maybe it's the town I live in being relatively comfortable with itself. Maybe it's just the circles I hang out with. I don't know.



#14 Doctor Pogo

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 12:27 PM

I also live in the deep south, and I used to think the same thing. It turned out it wasn't the circles I ran in, or my town being cool, or any of that. It was that I was pretty blind to it. I didn't personally experience it, because why would I, and so I didn't take any notice of it.

 

Racism is utterly pervasive here. It's part of every conversation about politics or social causes. It's hiding under every zoning board decision, behind the doors of every institution, built in to the fabric of our society.

 

In every town and city I've ever lived in, there's been white parts of town and black parts of town, and the overwhelming feeling among white folks is that the black parts of town are not safe to even travel through. This is in total disregard of any actual crime statistics that may support or detract from this claim. In fact, when I've looked at the numbers for one of the cities I lived in, looking at the crime rates for things I've heard people specifically state they worry will happen to them in black neighborhoods (mugging, rape, assault, gun violence), I found that the occurrence of these crimes was actually higher in their own neighborhoods. Some of the black neighborhoods had a higher crime rate overall, but these numbers were heavily weighted in favor of domestic disturbances and drug-related offences. This was not true of all neighborhoods, or city-wide, but it was true of some of the neighborhoods I specifically looked at because of things I'd heard people who lived there say. I had access to a lot of this information and help interpreting it while I was a clerk for a lawyer who represented the Department of Family and Children Services.

 

Speaking of which, another thing that was true in every county our office represented - there were a fair number of complaints and investigations of abuse in both white and black families, but overwhelmingly it was the black families that faced protective orders and other judicial interventions, while the white families largely had their cases handled without court orders, using counseling and classes and other 'soft' means, while more black families faced the heavy-handed orders of the judge. This led to a disproportionate number of those children being taken into state custody, because it was harder for their families to comply with the financial requirements of their court order. I was on the legal side, so I mostly saw the cases of black families, but every time I went to the DFCS office it was full of white families who were getting their case plans dealt with outside of court.

 

Even as a musician, hanging out with lots of other musicians and artsy people, racism is there. It would not be possible for me to be who I am and do what I do if I were not white. It just wouldn't. I would not have had the same opportunities, been able to meet the same people and enjoy the same general expectations that I know what I'm doing. I teach at a music store, and there's a black guy that works and teaches there, and he knows a lot more about the electronics and inner workings of the guitars and gear than I do. But when we're both sitting in the shop, both looking at the customer, 90% of the time the customer addresses their question to me. And when I direct them to him for an answer and he gives one, amazingly, they usually look right back to me afterwards to validate his answer.

 

It's not just the overt stuff, like casually using the N-word or obviously discriminating. It's the cultural stuff, the lack of understanding or desire to understand, the casual disregard for facts in favor of learned notions, the unconscious difference in expectations.

 

I've seen a lot of the overt stuff, too, mind you. I played in a bunch of country bands with old white guys (and sadly a lot of young white guys) who were prone to the N-word and lots of racially charged talk about welfare queens and 'reverse racism' and other nonsense. I even heard the old 'slavery was good for them, it civilized them' chestnut trotted out a few times, with total seriousness. Even in regard to people whose abilities they respect and who they have a good relationship with: one of these bands had a fellow who played bass with us for a while, and he and the bandleader had great respect for each other and worked together outside of music as well, but the bandleader in private would without any hint of irony talk about how much it helped the band sound that "we have a n****r bass player, because they really have a different rhythm than us and it gives the band some jiggle at the bottom."

 

Yeah, racism is alive and well in the deep south, I'm sad to report. I would not have been surprised had the fraternity incident happened at either of the universities that I attended. Something similar easily still could.

 

 

I'm totally in agreement with Selena about the solution, though - being around people all your life makes them easier to understand. And really, just making an effort to understand makes a big difference. Most of the racism I've seen in my life seems to be a result of just not listening, not paying attention to the other person's culture enough to get past the perspective of one's own culture. Every culture has an ingrained image of what the surrounding cultures are like, and it's that perspective that prevents a lot of people from actually meeting other people on their level.






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