ONTD Political

Duke's Kappa Sigma Frat suspended for racist Asian-themed party

8:56 pm - 02/06/2013

DURHAM — A Duke University fraternity has been suspended from its national affiliation after complaints about a themed party last week that featured Asian stereotypes.

About 200 Duke students gathered Wednesday to protest the Kappa Sigma party, which was held Friday. The party originally was called “Asia Prime” in social media posts that featured references to drinking sake and an exaggerated, stereotypical language, such as saying “Herro” instead of “Hello.”

In response to student complaints, the fraternity changed the party theme to “International Relations” two days before the event. Still, photos from the party showed mostly white students wearing sumo wrestler costumes and chopsticks in their hair.

That was enough to inspire Duke senior Ting-Ting Zhou, president of the Asian Students Association, to help organize Wednesday’s protest.

“My parents gave up everything they had in China to come here to give me a better life: their language, their culture, their educational recognition, their careers,” Zhou said. Other students “can pretend to be Asian for this one night, for this one party, but I have to be Asian my whole life. It trivializes me! It makes me feel like less than a human being.”The national Kappa Sigma Fraternity suspended the Duke fraternity’s charter Wednesday pending an investigation, which should be finished in about two weeks, said Mic Wilson, national executive director. The Duke chapter must cease all operations and activities until the investigation is complete, Wilson said. Then, he added, the national board of directors will decide whether action needs to be taken.

“We certainly do not condone” the party, Wilson said. “Kappa Sigma is a very diverse organization, and we celebrate that. We have members from every walk of life, every culture, and we have a lot of brothers in our fraternity who are Asian-American.”

‘A persistent battle’

Larry Moneta, Duke’s vice president of student affairs, said the university is investigating the party but that it does not appear that the fraternity violated any specific university policy.

But that doesn’t mean the fraternity’s actions were acceptable, Moneta said.

“(We) continue to advise them and turn this as much as we can into a learning opportunity,” Moneta said. “This is a persistent battle against ignorance that students arrive with, that students develop, and that is reinforced in various cultural conditions on and off the campus. This is nothing unique to Duke.

At Wednesday’s protest on the lawn in front of Duke Chapel, students stood around a sign several feet high that bore the message “Race is not a party.”

A common counterargument we get is, ‘OK, if it had been an ‘America’ party, which people do hold, then it would be OK,’ ” said Xiaohan Cai, a junior public policy major who participated in the protest. “But that’s not a marginalized group, so the context is very important.”

According to Duke’s website, 22 percent of the undergraduate population was Asian-American in 2008, the last year statistics were available.

This isn’t the first time Duke’s Kappa Sigmas have been in trouble. In the early 2000s, the chapter, affiliated with the national fraternity since 1873, lost its charter because of alcohol and social violations, Wilson said. The fraternity was only re-chartered, and thus allowed back onto Duke’s campus, in April 2011.

‘Pilgrims and Indians’

Kappa Sigma isn’t the first party to be accused of celebrating stereotypes at Duke. In November 2011, the university’s chapter of Pi Kappa Phi drew criticism for throwing a “Pilgrims and Indians” party, in which the invitations encouraged students to find their inner “hot natives” or “Pocahotness.”

Zhou said she’s seen a few parties with themes such as “Black Entertainment Television vs. Country Music Television” since she’s been a student.

“The Pocahotness party was so recent, … and nothing was done,” Zhou said. “They know this is wrong, but they still do it. They also know that nothing will happen. They know that in another month, this will all blow over.”

Source

LOLOLOL @ the counterargument if Asians had an America party. They forget some of these Asian students ARE American.
layweed 7th-Feb-2013 12:14 pm (UTC)
Still not sure what frats are good for.
angelofdeath275 7th-Feb-2013 12:59 pm (UTC)
I don't get it either.
teacoat 7th-Feb-2013 01:09 pm (UTC)
Keeping white men in power.
sandstorm 7th-Feb-2013 12:28 pm (UTC)
'America Party' - okay, what on earth would that be and when did Americans as a whole become marginalized?
liliaeth 7th-Feb-2013 01:06 pm (UTC)
Well if it happened here in Belgium, it would include a lot of people in cowboy hats... hey, we stereotype too...
oystermato 7th-Feb-2013 02:36 pm (UTC)
fuck frats and sororities.

i never understood why they're so hyped and i never will.
ragnor144 7th-Feb-2013 02:46 pm (UTC)
Zhou said she’s seen a few parties with themes such as “Black Entertainment Television vs. Country Music Television” since she’s been a student.

Racism and classism simultaneously. That is some world-class douchebaggery.
sephirajo 7th-Feb-2013 03:04 pm (UTC)
Raise your hand if you've had to explain to someone why this isn't the same as a toga party.
crossfire 7th-Feb-2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
*raises hand* fml
little_rachael 7th-Feb-2013 03:10 pm (UTC)
Mmm, frat boy tears.
merely_a_facade 7th-Feb-2013 04:31 pm (UTC)
“We certainly do not condone” the party, Wilson said. “Kappa Sigma is a very diverse organization, and we celebrate that. We have members from every walk of life, every culture, and we have a lot of brothers in our fraternity who are Asian-American.”

Didn't even have to read too far down to encounter the "But I have Asian friends..." card. OIC.
theguindo 8th-Feb-2013 06:26 am (UTC)
That's the national director, who had no involvement w/the party at all and said in the same quote that the organization does not condone what the chapter did, and who is responsible for suspending the chapter's charter in response to the party.

I didn't read that as "but I have Asian friends, so this party wasn't racist" (ie the POC friends card). I read it as "the Duke chapter's actions do not reflect our organization's values, and was specifically insensitive to our Asian members."

Contextualizing it as the national head's statement makes a difference, I think. If it had been the head of the offending chapter who'd said that, it would definitely read as the POC friends card to me.
wrestlingdog 7th-Feb-2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
Photobucket

GOOD.
kitschaster 7th-Feb-2013 08:37 pm (UTC)



They need to be banned. Permanently.
helenaisradd 7th-Feb-2013 09:04 pm (UTC)
The party themes here are atrocious and so offensive. I am actually surprised it took so long for the frats here to get called out. There have been themes like South of the Border, BET and just recently I have seen pictures of a mixer where the new sorority pledge class dressed as little kids while the older girls dressed as "creepy guys" chasing after these "children" - it's disgusting.

But I hope people don't stereotype every Duke student like these assholes- here's a great article written by one of my fellow classmates and it perfectly articulates my thoughts on this event: https://studentaffairs.duke.edu/blog-entry/some-people-have-just-never-had-take-joke
poetic_pixie_13 7th-Feb-2013 09:10 pm (UTC)
‘OK, if it had been an ‘America’ party, which people do hold, then it would be OK,’



In November 2011, the university’s chapter of Pi Kappa Phi drew criticism for throwing a “Pilgrims and Indians” party, in which the invitations encouraged students to find their inner “hot natives” or “Pocahotness.”

abiding 7th-Feb-2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
MTE
moonshaz 8th-Feb-2013 02:06 am (UTC)
A+++
roseofjuly 8th-Feb-2013 07:35 am (UTC)
LOL @ that last GIF
caterfree10 10th-Feb-2013 05:27 am (UTC)
I am saving the fuck out of that second gif oh my god. <3
lizcharlene 8th-Feb-2013 12:47 am (UTC)
They should do something about "Pimps and Hos" night as well. Some people can be pimps or hos for one night, but others are it for a lifetime.
autumnleaving 8th-Feb-2013 03:50 am (UTC)
But dat swag tho

/s

spill that tea, sis
lamardeuse 8th-Feb-2013 01:24 am (UTC)
Excellent. I hope their little entitled frat boy asses cry for days.
autumnleaving 8th-Feb-2013 03:49 am (UTC)
smh

“A common counterargument we get is, ‘OK, if it had been an ‘America’ party, which people do hold, then it would be OK,’ ” said Xiaohan Cai, a junior public policy major who participated in the protest. “But that’s not a marginalized group, so the context is very important.”

What the heck. And anyways, most of the "America" parties i've seen held on my undergrad campus are the dudebros and neckbeards who thought "MURRICA!" was funny as heck.

Some of us are Asian sure, but even if I found myself in the Philippines, I will have a hard time surviving there. I may speak the language, but I do not have any idea how to live there. Same with my US-born Chinese friends who speak Mandarin or Cantonese. And I'm not going to touch how the people in our respective motherlands see us, the Americanized. That's a whole can of worms not related to this.

That frat and its current members can row a boat with a hole towards the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean.

Edited at 2013-02-08 03:54 am (UTC)
toxic_glory 8th-Feb-2013 05:32 am (UTC)
GOOD, they deserved this. I'm upset that this happened in the first place, but I'm very glad to see that they faced the consequences.
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