A University of Texas fraternity faces criticism for its alleged racist and homophobic rules putting into perspective — once again — how fraternities are run.
The confidential initiation rules for the Austin chapter, Phi Gamma Delta (or FIJI), banned Mexicans, fagetry, interracial dating and cited “no being a pussy” and “no deuschbags” as requirements when pledging.
The fraternity is no stranger to racism. Last month they threw a Border-Patrol themed party where students and members dressed in sombreros and construction outfits. More than a 1,000 students asked UT to punish the fraternity for the party, but while the University of Oklahoma shut down Sigma Alpha Epsilon for their racist chant, UT has not taken any action to counter students’ racism in its own backyard.
“While the behavior doesn’t mirror UT core values, it’s within students’ right to freedom of speech at private off campus event,” the university said on its official Twitter account.
The SAE video and FIJI’S letter put under the microscope the controversial functioning of fraternities. Fraternities are centered on brotherhood and acceptance, but under what judge is that acceptance determined? The stereotypical bro culture feeds into traditional views of masculinity in what it means to be a man: straight, cisgender, alcohol-tolerant and white. These rigid norms of male American identity penetrate deeply into how fraternities are run. The consistent racism and homophobia in our own heteronormative, white-dominated society is mirrored by Greek culture, and creates a damaging cycle of fear and rejection. Many budding college students see Greek life as a way to be accepted by their peers and feel at home in college. It’s about time frats actually take up that message of acceptance.