We have to look at those more subtle things as well

Frat boys at the University of Oklahoma chant a racist ditty on a bus, get themselves on YouTube.

University of Oklahoma president David Boren stood with his students Monday in protest of a video that appears to show Sigma Alpha Epsilon members participating in racist chants. The video is “disgraceful,” Boren said at the protest, according to the Oklahoman. “Real Sooners are not bigots, real Sooners are not racist.”

The video, posted to the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the black student alliance Unheard, is just 10 seconds long. In it, a busload of white students — apparently members of the fraternity’s University of Oklahoma chapter — chant: “You can hang ‘em from a tree, but it will never start with me/There will never be a nigger SAE.”

Unheard posted the video Sunday, organizers told The Post. The person who captured the chant on video sent it to the group in a private message on Twitter and has asked to remain anonymous.

That fraternity is now closed by order of both SAE’s national organizers and by Boren himself.

They have until midnight tomorrow to get their stuff out of the frat house, and they’ll have to find their own housing. The university has severed all ties with that chapter of the fraternity.

But the video is just one incident on a campus that was already in the process of confronting larger issues of race and discrimination — something that both Boren and many students said they were determined to change.

Although the video exploded into a national story, some students hope it has the potential to become something different on campus: A teaching moment to discuss what Boren called “more subtle forms of discrimination.”

“We have to look at those more subtle things as well,” he said.

Cue the groans and sneers about microaggressions and hurt fee-fees.

Boren wasn’t the only prominent school official — or, arguably, even the most visible one — stepping out to make their condemnation of the video clear. Bob Stoops, head coach of the university’s football team, also attended a student protest alongside several football players and about 100 athletes. His presence was particularly noteworthy, because he is the face of the school’s powerhouse football program and arguably the state’s most famous employee.

Well, you know, that’s not a healthy arrangement either. Universities should be about education, and the football coach should not be the most important person there.

In a working document, Unheard outlined several issues it wants the university to address. Those include the apparent under-representation of black faculty members in departments beyond the African American studies program; black student recruitment and retention rates; a lack of black scholarship opportunities; and what organizers say is a lack of black student representation in many planning committees for major campus-wide events.

Boren referred to several of these issues on Monday, saying that after meeting with Unheard earlier this year, he plans to work on about “95 percent” of them. “Upon reflection, I found myself agreeing with them; let’s do it,” he said on Monday.

“Sometimes, people can be thoughtless,” the university president added. “They can be insensitive and not even know.” He hopes his campus can work to “make people more aware” of racial insensitivity. “It’s hard work building a family,” he added, “But we’re gonna build one. We’re gonna keep on working on it.”

It’s very easy to not even know, which is why people talk about privilege a lot.

Here’s that chant. Don’t play it at work if you can be heard.


  1. Trebuchet says

    When I was in college, nearly 50 years ago, the “Greek” system was openly and officially segregated. It’s progress, I guess.

  2. Katydid says

    Fraternities and sororities are constant sources of illegal and immoral activities. It’s stunning they’re allowed on any campus.

    The college I went to back in the 1980s had zero Greek life until my senior year, when they allowed the Greek system in. Overnight there were problems with vandalism, rapes, constant parties and noise all night long, and harassment of students.

  3. anat says

    See what MikeThe MadBiologist has to say.

    There being an actual song suggests this was not a one off thing. This was a repeated activity. It was the ‘culture’ of said fraternity chapter, who knows for how long. It’s just that now they were finally caught.

    The schools my child is planning on applying to have no frats and no football. (That’s still no guarantee of no problematic social and cultural issues, but it improves their odds.)

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