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'Racist' Sorority Photo Is Sad Reminder That Ignorance Is Everywhere - Are you shocked that students would think this was okay?
December 6, 2012 at 11:31 AM

'Racist' Sorority Photo Is Sad Reminder That Ignorance Is Everywhere

Posted by Julie Ryan Evans on December 6, 2012

sombreroThere's really little use debating if the photo currently under fire from a Penn State Mexican-themed sorority party is offensive. It is, without a doubt.

In a picture from the party, members of the Chi Omega sorority are seen dressed in ponchos, sombreros, and fake mustaches. That alone is questionable to some, but the signs they were holding were undeniably outrageous. One read: "Will mow lawn for weed + beer" and the other: "I don't cut grass, I smoke it." No wonder the picture has caused an uproar and cries of racism, both on campus and across the Internet.

Really, how could they have ever thought this was okay?

Vice President of the Mexican American Student Association, Cesar Sanchez Lopez, made some good points when he told Onward State:

"The Mexican American Student Association is disappointed in the attire chosen by this sorority. It in no way represents our culture," Lopez said in a statement. "Not only have they chosen to stereotype our culture with serapes and sombreros, but the insinuation about drug usage makes this image more offensive. Our country is plagued by a drug war that has led to the death of an estimated 50,000 people, which is nothing to be joked about."

The sorority has issued an apology, and the school's Panhellenic Council and the sorority's national headquarters are investigating. But it should have never happened. These young women should have known better, and I hope that I'm raising my kids to know why things like this aren't okay, even if it's in the name of fun.

While I'm shocked by this behavior, I have no doubts that racism is alive and not-so-well in this country. We've come a long way, but there is still much hate out there, much of which stems from the persistence of stereotypes and flat-out ignorance. It's especially painful to see, however, when it comes from those for whom ignorance shouldn't be an issue -- like students at an esteemed university. Ironically, the whole incident also just reinforces plenty of negative stereotypes people have about sororities and those who join them too.

Are you shocked that students would think this was okay?

Replies

  • gammie
    by gammie
    December 6, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    People are to sensitive.


  • NWP
    by NWP
    December 6, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Wow...you posted this right before me. Here is another photo:

    Penn State sorority sisters denigrate Mexicans in party photo
    Penn State's Chi Omega chapter apologized for this photo that was posted on Tumblr.
    December 5th, 2012
    12:37 PM ET

    Penn State sorority sisters denigrate Mexicans in party photo

    By Moni Basu, CNN



    I love college kids. But sometimes they can be so dumb.

    I am sooooooooo glad social media didn't exist when I was in school.

  • lookingforlogic
    December 6, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    No, I am not shocked.  I think kids these days are a lot less racist than their parents generation.  This allows them to say things about other cultures that are obvious without fearing being labeled a racist by people always looking for something to complain about.  Commenting on a racial stereotype is not racist, it is a racial comment.  It's like a man dressing up in a grass skirt and coconut breasts.  Is he a sexist for acknowledging women have breasts?  I think not.  If you go to Mexico, you will find market after market after market where the Mexican people sell sombreros, panchos and fake mustaches.  If these are products produced by the Mexican culture to sell to tourists, how can white people then turn around and call this racist? 

  • ms-superwoman
    December 6, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    It is sad but it does not surprise me.

  • DaLordsMezNger
    December 6, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    My first reaction was "so what?". Up until I read about the signs. I am sensitive because my cousin was murdered in Mexico due to the random killings and drug violence. He was gunned down at his food stand in front of his wife for no reason at all. I dont take the drug insinuations lightly.

    Quoting gammie:

    People are to sensitive.



  • JonJon
    by JonJon
    December 6, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    My immediate, knee-jerk reaction is to be offended and aghast but I'm not sure these girls thought that their joking about the stereotypes would be taken as their seriously believing in them. 

    College is where young people learn many lessons, the most important and lasting being those life lessons that aren't in the textbooks they purchase at the campus bookstore. 

    These girls have learned the lessons that making fun of people isn't funny and that their jokes can be misconstrued.  I'm sure they aren't really that insensitive because they have latinas, at least one Asian and at least one Black in their group.  Surely those girls wouldn't have joined in the fun if they'd believed it was a serious attempt to promote or perpetuate negative stereotypes. 

    I believe they were making fun of the stereotypes, not the people but it blew up in their faces. In other words, they were making fun of the stupid people who believe the stereotypes and we almost always get in trouble or make ourselves look bad making fun of people, even when the people we disdain are dullards.

    A lesson for us all; try to think of all the ways the things we post online can be misconstrued and then consider if we want to take the risks and click the submit button.

    I usually go ahead and click the button; let people think what they will.   I enjoy sticking it to the dullards who always believe they are the brilliants.

  • pamelax3
    December 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    People need to calm down, I do not think these girls meant any harm or to offend anyone

  • Donna6503
    December 6, 2012 at 2:59 PM
    I'm with Jon Jon on this one.


    Quoting JonJon:

    My immediate, knee-jerk reaction is to be offended and aghast but I'm not sure these girls thought that their joking about the stereotypes would be taken as their seriously believing in them. 

    College is where young people learn many lessons, the most important and lasting being those life lessons that aren't in the textbooks they purchase at the campus bookstore. 

    These girls have learned the lessons that making fun of people isn't funny and that their jokes can be misconstrued.  I'm sure they aren't really that insensitive because they have latinas, at least one Asian and at least one Black in their group.  Surely those girls wouldn't have joined in the fun if they'd believed it was a serious attempt to promote or perpetuate negative stereotypes. 

    I believe they were making fun of the stereotypes, not the people but it blew up in their faces. In other words, they were making fun of the stupid people who believe the stereotypes and we almost always get in trouble or make ourselves look bad making fun of people, even when the people we disdain are dullards.

    A lesson for us all; try to think of all the ways the things we post online can be misconstrued and then consider if we want to take the risks and click the submit button.

    I usually go ahead and click the button; let people think what they will.   I enjoy sticking it to the dullards who always believe they are the brilliants.


  • shannonnigans
    December 6, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    I'm not shocked about college students doing something dumb, but I am shocked at parents and CM members defending it. Hats and mustaches, maybe, but signs about being a gardener? I'd be so disappointed if it was my daughter I can't even tell you.

    EDIT: For those who somehow were unable to pick up on it, the issue isn't with being a gardener as a career, its the stereotyping that is going on.  Moreover, the sign says "will work for beer and pot."  Hardly flattering.

  • lookingforlogic
    December 6, 2012 at 3:29 PM


    Quoting shannonnigans:

    I'm not shocked about college students doing something dumb, but I am shocked at parents and CM members defending it. Hats and mustaches, maybe, but signs about being a gardener? I'd be so disappointed if it was my daughter I can't even tell you.


    How in the world can it be considered degrading to be a gardener.  Lots of gardeners are Mexican.  That is not a racist statement, it is just a fact.  Why in the world would it be degrading.  If I say lots of black guys are in the NBA, is that a racist statement?  Or is it just a fact?

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