Note: A previous version of this post claimed that Chi Omega is a sorority at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, when it is in fact a sorority at the University of Alabama. UAB is a separate and autonomous entity, and has no ties to this story. We apologize for the inaccuracy.
IT’S BEEN fifty years since racist and proud Alabama governor George Wallace banned African-American students from attending the University of Alabama. But change comes slow to the land of confederate flags and Antebellum-themed parties, so it’s no surprise that the school’s Greek system recently shut down a proposal for “complete integration of all Greek societies with respect to social diversity among its membership.” Even so, a handful of trailblazing — yes, integration is still a trail to be blazed at UA — black students participated in last year’s rush. When none were accepted into Chi Omega, a racist snap chat was sent out by a sorority sister who had never learned Southern manners. Her sentiment, cleaned up a little, was that no black girls had been accepted into her sorority.
Which really sucks for them. Because wow, think of the treasure trove of experiences they’re missing out on!
1. IF IT WEREN’T FOR DATE RAPE FRAT BOYS WOULD NEVER GET LAID
Of course there are frat boys with healthy, well-adjusted, and consensual sex lives. But that doesn’t change the fact that a reported 70-90% of campus date rapes occur in conjunction with them and their sticky-floored houses. Don’t try to pull the popped-collar polo over our eyes, fellas. The same traditional gender roles that make dances and date nights such a popular part of Greek life also creates a certain sexual permissiveness towards guys calling the shots, and girls, well, shutting up and taking it. And speaking of that…
2. LET’S GET A BUNCH OF CRAZY KIDS TOGETHER AND THEN ADD ALCOHOL… WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Who among us doesn’t like the occasional rum and coke? Or two or five? Drinking is fun, but blacking out in nothing but your shoes on a vomit-stained couch? Not so much. Put a bunch of 18-22 year olds living away from home for the first time together, and they’re guaranteed to get up to some illicit hijinks. Add the kind of peer-pressure and posturing that D.A.R.E. warned us about and that Greek life is famous for, and things get downright dangerous. We’re talking ER, police station, the works. And that’s on a slow night.
3. DOUBLE STANDARDS, DOUBLE TROUBLE
Each Greek chapter is like it’s own weird little nation state governed by committees of ex-members, who I picture sitting around a long table, the women clutching pearls, talking sh*t about each other, the men sporting beer bellies and glory-days nostalgia. And none of them being able to recognize sexism if it bit them on the letter-stamped ass. The double standards of Greek life extend way past sexytimes. Fraternities are allowed to host parties, while sororities aren’t. Same goes for overnight guests, and beer pong tables on the lawn. Well, maybe that last one’s no great loss. But still!
4. LIVING WITH FIFTY OF YOUR BFF’S! THE MAJORITY OF WHOM YOU DON’T ACTUALLY LIKE
Let’s be real for a minute. Some people are just straight up obnoxious. You don’t wish them any misfortune, but you also don’t want to hang out with them. And you definitely don’t want to refer to them as your “brother for life.” In fraternities and sororities, you don’t have a choice. Your fellow Alpha Phis aren’t just co-members of a club you happened to join. They’re your family, whether you like it or not. Now go hug your grandlittle even though she makes you want to stick hot matches under your fingernails. #lovethisgirl!
5. “YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!” BUT… WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO?
Ever notice that the people who are most insistent on exclusivity are also sort of the people you wouldn’t really want to chill with anyway? Maybe they know that under the shiny exterior of their parties and photo shoots and matching monogrammed shorts they don’t have much to offer. Which is why they create barriers to keep the insightful out. Better to keep it in the clique than have their cover blown. The heart of Greek life is exclusion: hazing and gossiping and, yep even resorting to so not-OK — and so yesterday — strategies like racism to do just that.
Image Credit: Phil Toledano