(and nobody's laughing)
"Frat Boy" isn't a term used in
praise or admiration or affection very often and if you went to college
where fraternities flourished, you'll know why. Perhaps you have
embarrassing memories. Fortunately for us old folks, none of it is
likely to have been recorded for posterity in the days when nobody had a video camera in their pocket. Boys will be boys you know,
and by "boy" I mean drunken irresponsible idiot.
have no way of knowing whether the SAE brothers at the University of
Oklahoma will look back 40 years hence with embarrassment or anger at
the day when their fraternity was shut down following the surfacing of a video showing some of them on a bus chanting: “There
will never be a n***** in SAE.” Perhaps that's a self fulfilling
prophecy as the University immediately closed the fraternity despite the
formal apology by the fraternity.
never pledged a fraternity although I investigated a number of them,
preferring the increased freedom, or license if you prefer, in finding
my own housing off campus. I do clearly remember visiting one frat and
hearing the song "There'll never be a Jew in Sigma Nu" which, as you
might expect, disappointed me a bit, even though I still suspect the
implied anti-semitism wasn't all that deep. But there were no
consequences back then, in the tumultuous early 60's. There were only
short term consequences when some black students ran into similar and
worse attitudes in other places, but the repercussions were short lived
and involved deep snow drifts and frat boys in their underwear, but I
won't elaborate. The school took no actions I'm aware of. Of course
there were plenty of fraternities free of such retrograde nonsense and
with diverse memberships as I'm sure there are at Oklahoma.
things are not the same, despite the bizarre assertions by some that
Selma changed nothing with regard to racism, our tolerance for it and
the consequences of racially motivated actions. Of course today,
conversations about race and many other issues across the political
spectrum are dominated by institutions, which seem to demand that we use
only certain terminology, accept certain axioms and discuss things only
within a certain framework before beginning. I'm sure someone reading
this will already be writing something about how I'm just an old white
man and don't understand my privileges -- or copying it from some
pamphlet or tract. I'm too old to care, but old enough to remember well
when the consequences of racist epithets and actions were few to none
and denigrating jokes were many and frat houses mostly Caucasian.
it, it's better now. It's a lot better and if progress threatens those
who prosper by protesting the lack thereof, perhaps it's time to shut
down other fraternities on and off campus.