Racist-themed fraternity parties have become old news now — they have cropped so often that they don’t really surprise anyone anymore. As offensive as they are, they’ve almost become expected, and that’s a shame.
The racist, Asian-themed party hosted by the Duke chapter of Kappa Sigma last Friday, Feb. 1 is one of those cases, and it would have almost slipped under the radar if not for the work of the Asian and Pacific American students and minority student organizations on the Duke campus. The worst part of the Duke case is the blatant disrespect shown by the campus organization — one that had its charter stripped and operated off campus until just last year.
When people complained about their racist invitation, which was full of misspellings meant to replicate an “Asian” accent and included a picture of a puppet Kim Jong-Il, the chapter was dismissive.
They “cancelled the event” and announced a new one, named “International Relations.” It was the same party.
The campus organization only apologized following pressure from other students, but the apology seems hollow, considering the chapter’s behavior when it wasn’t in trouble.
Unfortunately, antics like this overshadow the good that Greek organizations do. For each ill-advised party or hazing incident, there are many more philanthropic projects, enduring friendships, and valuable lessons learned. The root of Greek organizations is inclusion, after all. Fraternities and Sororities are there to provide support and fellowship for their members. But it’s missteps like this that grab the headlines.
The Kappa Sigma national organization understands the gravity of the situation. They’ve suspended the chapter, stopping all Fraternity activities, and are investigating. This party, which has been held annually, should have been a red flag during the rechartering process, but disciplinary action now is better than disciplinary action never. (end)