Controversy on Campus

DJ Hudson Explores What the Oklahoma University SAE Fraternity Controversy Really Means


Students at Oklahoma protest in the wake of the SAE scandal.

D.J. Hudson, Assistant Editor-In-Chief

Oklahoma University SAE fraternity chapter was caught on camera participating in racist chants in which they used racial slurs, made a reference to lynching, and exclaimed they would not allow African-Americans into their fraternity. Since this video surfaced, two members have been expelled and the chapter has been suspended until further notice. This controversy has sparked a great debate. Is what these students said acceptable? Are racial slurs okay for certain people to say?  Is expelling these students a violation of their First Amendment right? Media outlets and people alike had been debating this for years, but it seems as if this has now set fire to this conversation.

African American rapper Juaquin James Malphurs (aka Waka Flocka Flame) was seen on video partying with this fraternity a little over a year ago. When this video surfaced he explained he was “disgusted and disappointed” and announced that he was cancelling an upcoming show at Oklahoma University. Many, including the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski were critical of his decision.

“The kids that are buying hip hop or gangster rap, it’s a white audience, and they hear this over and over again. So do they hear this at home? Well, chances are good, no. They heard a lot of this from guys like this who are now acting shocked,” said Brzezinski.

Scarborough echoed these sentiments.

“If you look at every single song, I guess you call these, that he’s written, it’s a bunch of garbage. It’s full of n-words, it’s full of f-words. It’s wrong. And he shouldn’t be disgusted with them, he should be disgusted with himself,” said Scarborough.

These comments suggest that rap culture is the reason that these students could say such hateful things. They aren’t the only ones that feel this way. During his talk radio show, Rush Limbaugh declared, “If this had been a song by Kim Kardashian’s husband (Kanye West) and they had sung this song at the Grammys…It’d be a hit.”

Rap music is a type of music that is historically African-American and is known for the use of racial slurs. However, this is not the source of these slurs, so why is it seen as the source of this controversy? Rappers and black people alike did not invent these words, so why is it crazy that the roots of this problem lay elsewhere? In America, we have a hard problem accepting the truth. In this case, the truth being that racism is still alive and going strong, and it isn’t as far in the past as some seem to think. Blaming this on a rapper instead of addressing this is pushing us back as a nation and not letting us continue to move forward.

For example, imagine a mother walks in a room and sees her two children standing of a broken television set. She asks who did it, and her children both point fingers at each other. This does not change the fact the TV is broken. It just prolongs the problem.

If you ask any Youtuber or celebrity that uses social media how they deal with negative comments they will say one of two things: They just ignore what is said or they make fun of what is said. This is what the African-American culture does when they use this slur; they make fun of years and years of opposition.

As for the argument that everyone should be allowed to use this word if a few people can, think of the following situation: As Northmont students we may, at times, talk bad about our school we complain about things that go on inside the school or how things are done. However, if someone that goes to Centerville or Wayne were to complain about Northmont, we would be upset. Students from those schools don’t really know what it’s like here at OUR school. They haven’t been here, therefore, we can all agree they do not have the right to be that be as critical as we can. They can say something like “we are all high school students, so we are the same,” but we wouldn’t actually be the same in our minds.

To put things in perspective, recently a picture has gone around the internet of President Barack Obama greeting Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, granddaughter Yolanda, who is only five years old. It has been shocking to many to realize that it had only been two generations since the Civil Rights Movement took place. The reality is we are not that far removed from that time. Things are still changing.