By now, if you spend any amount of time on the internet, you’ve seen (or at least heard about) this video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members at the University of Oklahoma chanting a remarkably racist song (on a bus full of their dates, no less).
First off, holy shit. For those who have claimed that institutional racism does not exist in America, there is your proof. Those young men, bolstered by the status, prestige and social connections they make through their fraternity, will go on to become our future judges and politicians.
Look at positions of power in the U.S., and more often than not, you will find fraternity men.
Here’s a fun fact about fraternities and sororities:
all of the stereotypes are true.
Here’s a fun fact about my life:
I founded a multicultural fraternity my freshman year of college.
Here’s how those two fun facts fit together:
although the stereotypes may be true, they don’t come close to giving you a complete picture of what Greek life is like for those who live it. And these stereotypes serve as a crutch for people who are not willing to understand the complex relationships which drive Greek organizations. This is the real issue I have with Alexandra Robbins’ “Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities,” a decade-old expose of Greek Life which I just finished reading. It does not live up to the promise of the title. The book has no secrets to share. “Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities” simply regurgitates the common cultural narrative, without trying to unpack why it is that narrative holds such pull. “Pledged” is cheap.