We have always seriously wanted to believe that we lived in a post-racial society. Many things in the past year have shown us the error of our ways, but we had hoped that racism and racial divisions would not come to this campus. We could not have been more shocked after seeing the video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s racist chants. That video goes against absolutely everything we would love to believe about our generation and the world today.
There is a fine line between free speech and hate speech. This video does not in any way represent free speech; it falls entirely in the realm of hate speech. This is meant to offend and insult all Black people. The thinly veiled reference to lynching is completely inappropriate, disgusting and crude.
Any person who feels justified saying this because it is a tradition of their fraternity is failing to defend their fellow human beings. Any person singing this who felt uncomfortable and did not speak up previously embodies the bystander problem. The veil of tradition is unacceptable. Hiding behind the idea that one’s forefathers instituted this rule that we ought to follow is selling out on one’s humanity. The United States fought a revolution on this idea that long-standing injustices could not, should not, and would not continue. To stand in the face of this and justify the violation of inalienable rights because of tradition is unforgivable.
As students at the University of Oklahoma, we hope to each day walk on campus carefree and not scared to be Black, White or Hispanic. This has made many people feel like they are not wanted and do not belong here. The fact that such racism still exists on this campus is something we are simply not able to understand.
Lauren Aragon, Chair of the Undergraduate Student Congress
Emily Sample, Secretary of the Undergraduate Student Congress
Chelsea Brown, Chair of the Problems and Projects Committee