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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

  • LaughingTattoo
    December 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM


    Quoting pamelax3:

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


  • PinkButterfly66
    December 6, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    College students aren't known for common sense.  Remember the photo of one of Prince Charles' boys dressed as a Nazi for a costume party?  

  • shannonnigans
    December 6, 2012 at 4:19 PM
    I can't even believe I have to explain this to you. Ok, first, it's not a slight at gardeners. It's a slight at Mexican Americans implying that they are all gardeners, and worse, potheads to boot. By the way, portraying black people as NBA players or great dancers is little better - it perpetuates stereotypes. But at least those stereotypes are a bit more complimentary than this. It's like having a black jockey in front of a house. Tasteless.


    Quoting lookingforlogic:



    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?


  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    December 6, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    I'm not shocked. I'm with JJ.

  • OHgirlinCA
    December 6, 2012 at 5:10 PM

     No, I'm not surprised students thought this was ok.  I'm sure they've been given alot to ponder by the various reactions they have gotten.

  • Reepicheep.CSL
    December 6, 2012 at 5:20 PM
    It looks like there are women in that picture who are from Latin based backgrounds, not sure if they are Mexican. People post pictures on st. Patrick's day dressed up alluding to excessive alcohol consumption, how is this any different?
  • Rhiannon92
    December 6, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    This is NOT racism, it is prejudice and stereotyping.

    Racism is believing one race is better than another. Stereotyping and prejudice is the notion that an entire ( or the majority of a ) race/creed/sex does something or acts a certain way.

    I personally don't find it to be all that offensive. Life is too short to be concerned about something this trivial.. It's not like it is a goddamn hate crime, people.

  • Mommy_of_Riley
    Jes
    December 6, 2012 at 5:27 PM
    I'll say what I sad on the other post about this...

    I DONT CARE
  • stacymomof2
    December 6, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I would be pretty pissed at my daughter holing up a sign saying she was a Mexican and that means a pothead gardener.m

    The mustaches and hats, meh, everyone likes a mariachi band, right?  If that was the theme, a mariachi party, that's pretty fun.  But adding a negative stereotype takes the fun out of it.

    Is it really OK to stereotype Mexicans as pothead laborers?  I think not.  These girls should know better

  • lookingforlogic
    December 6, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    You haven't "explained" anything.   You are simply wringing your hands and, in the process, making any kind of actual racial conversation nearly impossible.  A great many Mexicans in this country are doing yard work, or garening, if you will.  They do this because they have a language barrier and often are not equipped to do other kinds of work.  However, they don't consider it to be belittleing to do this type of work, as you do, as most mexicans I know are just happy to be able to work.  These silly girls in this photo are not demeaning Mexicans, they are demeaning themselves.  As for "portraying black people as NBA players"......I did not do that.  I simply stated that there are a lot of black people in the NBA.  Fact.  Not a portrayal or an insult.  Just a fact.  Don't be so emotional and learn to process what you read before you go of the chain.

    Quoting shannonnigans:

    I can't even believe I have to explain this to you. Ok, first, it's not a slight at gardeners. It's a slight at Mexican Americans implying that they are all gardeners, and worse, potheads to boot. By the way, portraying black people as NBA players or great dancers is little better - it perpetuates stereotypes. But at least those stereotypes are a bit more complimentary than this. It's like having a black jockey in front of a house. Tasteless.


    Quoting lookingforlogic:

     


    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