It really shouldn't be that hard to determine whether you're celebrating a culture or making fun of it in an incredibly insensitive way. Yet, frat bros and sorority sisters love holding parties with names like "Compton Cookout" and "Conquistabros and Navajos". (It's shocking that the smarties at Harvard, where the latter shindig took place, didn't go all out and call them "Navahoes." Not subtle enough?)
Most recently, the University of Texas Chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity canceled its "Fiestau" party after students expressed outrage over the "obstacle" the frat planned to build in the middle of the party to represent the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
"I mean, we're going to have a Mexican side and a Texas side, with Mexican-themed drinks and then Texas-themed drinks," one member told the Daily Texan. "We're going to have a Mexican flag hanging up and kind of have a little party on the Mexican side. Then the band will be on the Texas side, and you can choose where you want to hang out, what kind of drink you want to get. That's really the only reason we have that side."
It's a metaphor, you see, because crossing the border is super fun and easy for everyone!
Just a few days before the "border party" was canceled, two sororities put on a "fiesta-themed" bar night, during which some revelers donned fake mustaches and shirts that said "border patrol." With that in mind, it's not surprising that Ryan Miller, lead team member for the Campus Climate Response Team, told the paper that his office has received 15 reports of racially biased theme parties at UT so far this semester. Holy shit.
You guys, it's really not that tricky! Here's how to tell if your fraternity or sorority is crossing the line: Are you making fun of a historically or currently oppressed group of people that doesn't include you and your pals? (Are you sure? Ask a friend! Wikipedia it!) Then DON'T DO IT. Hellbent on having a "fiesta"? Make some tacos and have some tequila and call it a night. You'll thank us later when you're trying to get a job and don't have horrific Google Search results/finally realize it's uncool to be an ignorant idiot.
Fraternity cancels event after being accused of bias [Daily Texan]
Image via bazilik Shutterstock.