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Monday, March 30, 2015

On Abolishing Fraternities
(and Sororities?)


"I’ve been getting angry responses to the view I expressed on Larry Wilmore’s “The Nightly Show” that college fraternities should be abolished. I still think I’m right. There are exceptions but for the most part fraternities are elitist, exclusive, and privileged. They have nothing to do with higher education. And they’re periodically mired in scandal involving:
  • hazing (such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison frat’s degrading hazing);
  • racism (the video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon members calling for the lynching of African-Americans);
  • sexual assault (the University of Maryland frat brothers’ pro-rape emails, and allegations of drug dealing and sexual assault in a North Carolina State frat);
  • degradation of women (Penn State fraternity’s secret Facebook page for sharing photos of nude passed out women);
  • destructive drunkenness (University of Michigan frat brothers destroying a ski resort in a drunken rage).

The list goes on, and this is just in the last few months.  Some say “boys will be boys” and if they’re not in a fraternity they’ll do all this somewhere else.


A much-cited 2007 study shows fraternity members are 300% more likely to commit rape than non-affiliated students (this was the third study confirming the same data.)  A Harvard School of Public Health study indicates just living in a sorority house makes a woman three times more likely to be raped.

Some say I’m disregarding freedom of association, and that college students have a right to hang out with whomever they wish. Well, yes, but most fraternities depend on university recognition for direct subsidies such as land or buildings and indirect benefits such as tolerance of underage drinking. Others say fraternities (and sororities) build character and do many charitable things. Yes, but so do many other college activities that don’t have the downsides of fraternities.

The college fraternity culture brings out the worst. Fraternities should be abolished. Now.

What do you think?"

Frats seem to attract those who have high status and wanna-be-s from what I've seen. And it attracts them disproportionally. That's what I've noticed anyway. When you add THAT to the likelihood that superior attitudes travel in clusters within the average human being, then rape from frat boys becomes less than shocking. Why? You have to feel superior to a person BEFORE you rape them - and I think that's true even men are drunk

In vino veritas, baby.

By the same token, Bill Cosby has been on the respectability-politics train for a few decades now. And that has been entirely about "I'm this kind of superior, exceptional black person" and "why are THOSE people over there acting like THAT and bringing us all down?" That's followed by, "It's not racism holding us back so much as THOSE PEOPLE."

You have to feel superior to someone in order to rape them. It's a prerequisite. Drug-em and rape-em is a short hop. And when you think a little about the colorism aspect of Bill Cosby's behavior, the accusations make even more sense.

They ain't ALL lyin.

You have to feel superior to someone in order to rape them. Isn't this what we've seen played out in every prison movie that's ever been put on film? The stronger man rapes the smaller man and PROVES his superiority. The harder the smaller man is crying at the end of it, the better the bigger guy feels.

I think the feelin-themselves high status folk and the wanna-be-s will find someplace else to cluster  and plot to wreak havoc on the rest of us. But that doesn't mean I think we should make it easy for them to unite by actually giving them a place launch from.  But I think I'd start someplace simpler - like yanking their tax exempt status. 

Fraternities and Sororities aren't going anywhere. That's where those who too-big-to-fail banking executives are nurtured and honed. And when they mess up? They get an expensive P R Firm, just like Levi Pettit did, so they can keep on steppin.'