Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's Not About Race: Where Have I Heard that One Before?

In response to a debate in the comments section of my post entitled "Sorority Evicts its Fat Chicks to Recruit," Lauren, a DePauw Student wrote the following:

Wow, never have I seen so many "liberal-minded" people revert so quickly to mindless stereotyping. As a current DePauw student - and yes, member of a sorority - I can easily say that no one who has yet posted a comment on this issue at this site has a clue what they're talking about.

"What DZ nationals did was horrible. I have a number of friends who were among those asked or one of the 6 (not 2) who left the house despite being invited to remain. These women have faced not only the horrible stress of being told they cannot be active members of the sorority to which they gave their hearts, but also now media attention that is turning inaccurate. This was not motivated by race - it was motivated by image (which is, of course, bad enough, but not sensational enough for major news outlets.) And Greek life at DePauw is such that sisterhood exists even among those who are overweight, nerdy, and ethnic. If you wanted to see a chapter that overturned any idea of the sorority girl as a designer-clothes weariny vacuous skinny blonde chick, there are several on this campus, even after DZ closing, that fit the bill. Please don't blame Greek life for the horrendous acts of one organization's nationals. If any of you had experienced sister (or brother)hood the way myself and thousands of other students have, you wouldn't be so quick to leap to the stereotypes or so gleeful at jumping on this story."

However, many news sources (here and here) report that not only overweight women were kicked out, but also women of color were evicted.

Lauren's false dichotomy that it's not about race but about image strikes me as disengenous. Perhaps she doesn't want to admit that "image" is inherently about race? Or, she doesn't want to admit that racism exists in Greek life as much as any of our other institutions. In any case, in order to clarify for Lauren, and others, that "image" and "race" are not mutally exclusive categories, I direct you to watch this short film, "A Girl Like Me."