The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday March 24th

`Frat' Stereotypes Getting Old, Show Others' Elitist Ideas\

I'm sure I'm not the first to respond to the frat-bashing that goes on periodically in The Daily Tar Heel, but I feel that it is my responsibility to speak my mind in regard to Scott Rooker's Jan. 25 cartoon on the editorial page.

First and foremost, the remark about the cocaine is completely out of line and inappropriate. Labeling all fraternity members as cocaine users is a grossly exaggerated stereotype. Admittedly, cocaine does exist in the "frat scene," but it exists in most other "scenes" as well. It seems as if the journalism community simply uses, or misuses, cocaine use as a tool to deride fraternities, a mislabeling that is both silly and offensive.

If my father, mother or any other family members were to see your cartoon and see your absurd comment, what would they think about me, about my friends or about the activities in which I engage? Aside from that point, what goes on in fraternity houses or in the lives of fraternity members is none of anyone else's business. You don't see us out publically advertising discontent with homosexuality, body piercings or pink hair do you?

No, because firstly we are secure with our identities, and secondly because we don't automatically label all non-frat members as pink-haired, pierced-bodied homosexuals, as you would probably assume. On the contrary, it is often the non-fraternity members that label, categorize and separate themselves from us.

As for the other stereotypes you portrayed in your cartoon -- the money-flaunting, the typical "fratwear" clothing,and the smug, overconfident facial expressions --they, too, are silly and absurd.

There seems to me to be a central paradox in all the frat bashing that goes on. We are often labeled as elitists, as "too cool for school," so to speak. But how is this supposed attitude we have any different from the rude comments, bad looks or silly cartoons that non-fraternity members force on us? Often, the whole frat-bashing mindset is, "I'm above fraternities," or "I don't have to pay for my friends."

Ironically enough, these attitudes are just as elitist and smug as the attitudes we are labeled as having.

I posted the cartoon on the bulletin board at my fraternity house. Not because I'm angry and not because I'm trying to fire people up but because your cartoon is just plain silly. People walk by, read it, and chuckle to themselves. We are not angry or offended (except maybe with the cocaine comment, which was out of line), because we are just fine with who we are. Are you?

I guess we'll just keep doing our thing and you'll do yours, if that's the way you want it. Maybe you should try opening your mind a little though.

Powell Baggett



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