Monday, March 9, 2015
Very recently a video surfaced that purported to show University of Oklahoma student members of the SAE fraternity chanting that there will never be n****rs in SAE. The video is ugly, the sentiments worse. University President David Boren was so sickened by the video, that it was reported he could not eat or sleep. In his virtuous anger he nobly arose pallid and weak from his sick bed to take swift action – he severed all ties between the SAE and the University! While this was being done, the national SAE organization disbanded the OU charter house. Problem solved, because getting rid of an organization and driving racism underground has always worked in the past.
SAE took a black eye for this because its name was used in the video; OU took a black eye for this because it is was supposedly their chapter of SAE that was shown in the video. Both organizations took the path of least resistance and paperwork in the name of showing a proactive face. Meanwhile, no proof has been given that SAE had anything to do with this, and no proof has been given that it was OU students on the video. I am no fan of fraternities. I find them segregationist by their selective exclusivity. However, here I see them as an easy target, the broad side of a barn that cannot be missed while the vermin scatter.
Many are proclaiming that President Boren is a hero, yet all he did was banish an entity without proof – a prejudicial act if ever there was one. It is people that hate, not buildings, not names on buildings, not organizations affiliated with buildings – IT IS PEOPLE WHO HATE. And the people who vocally espoused evil racial slurs in this instance still roam free.
I am not asking for some rush to judgment. I am asking for the University to move deliberately ahead with its investigation of who was involved, and what if any connection they had to the local and national chapters of SAE. The University of Oklahoma and President Boren had the opportunity to become standard bearers of how hate speech and crimes should be handled. They should have spoken out in righteous indignation against the video, outlined the University’s policies and punishments regarding acts of racism, detailed the swift and methodical steps to be taken to bring about justice, and at worst suspended SAE until the facts could be learned. Instead of being a leader and showing strength and intelligence, President Boren simply gave into his own weakness by lashing out. Reaction is the first response of the fearful, the brave consider and act to do what is right, not what is expedient.