By Shantae Taylor
On March 9, 2015 a video surfaced on various media outlets showing members of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity chanting a song that featured racial slurs.
This 10 second video showed fraternity members chanting, “There will never be a n*gger in SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me.”
The creed of this fraternity states that “The true gentlemen does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurities, or any man of his obscurities, or any man of his inferiority or deformity.”
I was bothered and offended by this video because I am a person of color. This fraternity didn’t abide by their mission statement and believed they were superior to another race. According to The Huffington Post, university officials said this chant was taught four years ago at a national leadership cruise and then brought back and taught to pledges.
I find it shocking that this was only taught four years ago; this seems like a chant that would be taught during the Jim Crow era. I believe that racism is something that is taught and not something that people are born to be. People can become ignorant of another race when there is lack of exposure.
According to the United States Bureau of the Census, the demographics of Oklahoma are 75.4 percent White, 7.7 percent Black, 9 percent Native American, 2 percent Asian and 9.6 percent Latino.
“I know that as a member of SAE, we are supposed to hold ourselves to the highest value. I felt as though those former brothers let down a whole fraternity nationally by acting so ignorantly. Short term, this has devastated some Greek life around the nation. Long term this will help Greek life become stronger because it’s now another stereotype that will have to be diminished,” said Michael Weiss, a member of SAE at KU.
Universities across the country should make it their goal to be more diverse. When you are surrounded by diversity, you will learn how to connect with and understand different types of people.
As a result of the video, Levi Pettit and Parker Rice, who were seen in the video, have been expelled from the university and the SAE fraternity house was shut down immediately after.
It’s unfortunate that my generation continues to struggle with race. This should be a time where we are accepting and co-existing with one another.
Equality should be our focus – not race, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. This isn’t only a problem within fraternities, but with the United States as a whole.