A letter to white fraternity men,
I am writing this to the population of white fraternity men who contribute to the negative stereotypes that surround them. I write to this group because of their unique position of power on campus.
I would like to note that I realize historically white Greek organizations are equally guilty of exclusivity, heteronormativity and general lack of diversity in race, class, ability, sexual orientation, etc.
After I posted on Facebook about my visit to a particular chapter Nov. 10, I received a lot of feedback. My post was invalidated and criticized as unprofessional because it was posted on the Internet.
I received serious resentment from the fraternity, including two insincere, public relations-based apologies. I was gossiped about openly on campus by brothers who don’t know the difference between slander and libel, of which my post was neither. I was spoken about unprofessionally by an administrator who seems to be more interested in protecting the image of the fraternity men than addressing the problems at hand.
The positive feedback I received was mostly from women. With almost 400 likes, 12 shares, 43 comments and six personal messages, something hit me, and it wasn’t the normal ego boost a popular post typically provides.
I realized all of these people have either had a similar experience with fraternity men or share my feelings about them. I realized after receiving many thank-yous from women for saying what has always needed to be said, that many people don’t feel comfortable speaking up about the misbehavior of fraternity men.
Since much of the resentment I got was from fraternity men denying their contributions to the stereotypes surrounding them, I’d like to attach some constructive criticism. Realize your privilege and your role in society. Just because there is a person of color or openly gay people in your organization does not mean that you are exempt of your negative actions and benefits of privilege.
Just because your entire fraternity has taken an online course on sexual assault – though this is a step in the right direction – it does not make you experts on the topic or able to speak over anyone who has experienced it. I ask that you listen to your brothers who aim to change the stereotypes of your community, and most importantly, educate yourselves and listen to understand the proper steps to take.
Please stop doing things for public relations. Do things to change yourselves for the better because you truly care, I know that you can. Once you learn about the inequalities that exist outside of your world, you will never unlearn them. After you have done that, you can then check your privilege and change your actions.
Until then, I will continue to call you out and stand up for those who have felt violated, undermined and degraded by your blind and thoughtless actions.
Sciales is a senior sustainable development and women’s studies major from Wilmington.