What’s the Difference Between a Frat and a Gang?
In a recent essay on TheAtlantic.com, Ibram X. Kendi drew parallels between collegiate sexual assault and urban violence, arguing that America stereotypes, rationalizes, and polices fraternity and gang violence differently.
Let me preface this by saying that this is not a defense of fraternities. Having been a member of a Greek organization myself, I am fully aware of the problems facing fraternities’ ability to be productive organizations on their school campuses. I would even go so far as to say that I am not sure that fraternities necessarily have a place on the modern college campus, at least not in their current design.
I also agree with the underlying argument in Mr. Kendi’s piece, that there is bias and racism in the way that fraternity transgressions are looked at compared with gang member transgressions. There is no doubt that the polo-wearing fraternity member has an easier time garnering sympathy for a hit-and-run DUI, or a date rape, than a poor drug dealer in the inner city. By all means there are many instances where inner city “criminals” facing minor drug-possession charges are viewed as worse than wealthier undergrads accused of far worse crimes. So I am glad to see Kendi focusing on this unfair treatment in his piece.