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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

  • shannonnigans
    December 6, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    "Will mow lawn for beer and weed?" 

    Why not ask someone of Mexican ancestry what they think of it?  Oh, they did:

    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."

    Stop being a brick. 

    Or, I've got a better idea.  Our gardener happens to be Mexican.  Works his ass off for money, not beer and weed.  Struggles to keep his family afloat, yet manages to do so.  Come over with that sign.  Watch what happens.

    Quoting lookingforlogic:

    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


  • Radarma
    by Radarma
    December 6, 2012 at 7:42 PM

     Oh this is JUICY no?

    Like a habanero....makes ya sweat a spell.

    Likes.

  • dustinsmom1
    December 6, 2012 at 8:04 PM

     Its not racist and is seen by many (who are not racist) to be funny. People need to get over themselves and realize there are so many bigger, real issues out there that we should be focusing on. This is a non-issue.

  • tweety101149
    December 6, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    It may not be racism to you. It speaks loudly of prejudice and hateful offensive negative ignorance to many, even those not of hispanic orgin.  This is NOT trivial. and life is too short too short to allow this type of behavior from young adults that should know better.  Too make fun of other others because a group thinks it is funny?  I don't happy to think putting on a black face or dressing up as Buckwheat is funny, nor do I think dressing up as a these girls did funny, or anyone dressing as a stereotype nationality/religion in a negative way humorous. No it is not a crime  but hateful it is.

    Quoting Rhiannon92:

    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.


  • Rhiannon92
    December 6, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Humour is seldom appropriate. You live your life the way you want, and I'll do the same.

    Life is too short for me to waste time telling others how to act or live their life, except for our OWN children of course. To me, arguing about such a picture is trivial. Why don't you spend your time eliminating actions and ideas that are ACTUALLY hateful, because I can assure you, there are far worse things going on in our world than this. SMH. 
     

    Quoting tweety101149:

    It may not be racism to you. It speaks loudly of prejudice and hateful offensive negative ignorance to many, even those not of hispanic orgin.  This is NOT trivial. and life is too short too short to allow this type of behavior from young adults that should know better.  Too make fun of other others because a group thinks it is funny?  I don't happy to think putting on a black face or dressing up as Buckwheat is funny, nor do I think dressing up as a these girls did funny, or anyone dressing as a stereotype nationality/religion in a negative way humorous. No it is not a crime  but hateful it is.

    Quoting Rhiannon92:

    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.



  • Rhiannon92
    December 6, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Agreed.

    Quoting dustinsmom1:

     Its not racist and is seen by many (who are not racist) to be funny. People need to get over themselves and realize there are so many bigger, real issues out there that we should be focusing on. This is a non-issue.


  • futureshock
    December 6, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Yes, I am shocked.

  • futureshock
    December 6, 2012 at 8:18 PM


    Quoting lookingforlogic:

    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? 

    Maybe you missed the signs they were holding.

  • futureshock
    December 6, 2012 at 8:20 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.

    Ditto.

  • mom2twinboyz
    December 6, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Oh please there are sterotypes in every race.  I don't get my panties in a bunch when people make references to drunk Irish people.

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