Calling It Out

Photo courtesy of New York Daily News.

I had to write about the recent rash of racism theme parties on college campuses at Here’s an excerpt:

I’m not really into dressing up in costumes. Not my thing. Halloween does nothing for me. I’m just not one of those guys who will go out of his way to do it.

So then I really don’t get why these things are so popular on college campuses:

Racist theme parties.

Three years ago, a fraternity hosted the Compton Cookout to “celebrate” Black history month at the University of California, San Diego. That story made it to the New York Times. More recently, a Penn State sorority dressed up in sombreros and fake mustaches for a Mexican-themed Halloween party last year, holding up signs like, “I don’t cut grass. I smoke it.” And just a few weeks ago, a Duke fraternity threw an Asian-based rager, with “Herro Nice Duke Peopre” in the email invite. All made national news.

But I’m sure there are many, many more.

One website posted an entire list of recent Duke University parties with racist and sexist themes. I only kept what’s happened in the past three years (and took out the sexist ones as well) and this list is way too long to stomach:

  • Pilgrims and Indians, Pi Kappa Phi, requesting the attendance of “hot natives” and “pocahotness” November 2011
  • Hunters and Hunter, unnamed Duke sorority and fraternity, October 2010
  • South of the Border mixer, cohosted by SAE and Pi Phi, 1994
  • “Thinking we should make that fence down south a little taller? Pissed about a certain group of easterners f’ing up the curve in Econ 51?… Well it’s time to get over your fears and join the brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha for a truly unique tour of the world.” Pi Kappa Alpha, January 2010
  • Invitation sent to “BabyGurlz,” KA, March 2010
  • Rapper’s Delight Party, formerly known as Ghetto Fabulous Party, ATO

Why does this happen in mostly white fraternities and sororities? You don’t see the non-white Greek system doing these kinds of things. And more pointedly, why is this happening on elite educational institutions? The Ivies are not exempt. If you think about it, these students will become the future business barons, government officials, and cultural icons of America. Shouldn’t this cause us to worry? Why does this go on?

Check out the rest of the article at

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  1. Wow. Agreed. I’ve never participated in these kinds of gatherings anywhere even when I was in college in the late 70s & early 80s. But that doesn’t make me feel any better.

    What makes this personally embarrassing is that I haven’t even thought about the fact these types of gatherings happen all over and are only hosted by whites.

    A couple of years ago a one of our universities in Texas hosted a black-face party that hit youtube and went viral. We, “the educated and enlightened” Baby Boomers were horrified and condemned it.


    As a Boomer, I recognize the damage done by our ancestors and by “our” parents and ourselves. But I think we had the idea that our children (I’m speaking collectively as a white Baby Boomer) wouldn’t carry the racist baggage along. After all, the Civil Rights Act passed, our schools are integrated, our neighborhoods are integrated.

    …and yet these parties exist and are hosted by our children.

    What happened to the dream?

    Thank you for writing about this–as painful as it was to read it–it is necessary.


    1. I appreciate your kind and sensitive heart, Darryl.


  2. Those “elite” colleges were once Christian organizations. Yet in the 1950-70’s they had become so perversely corrupted by athiests and pagans that they openly participated in some of the most perverse and evil human experimentation ever conceived short of the Catholic Churches inquisitions. Now many of them have “casual sex clubs” for people who want to be “open thinkers.” So racists groups promoting demeaning agendas? Not a huge surprise.


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