Today is Cinco de Mayo — a day for Americans to celebrate Mexicans on a day that Mexicans don’t actually celebrate Mexicans. Most people will buy ponchos, drink tequila, and have themselves a grand old time. But you — you will not. Why? Because you’re Greek. I know that every Party City from the golden bridges to the big apple will be selling maracas and pinatas to celebrate this day, but you should not, can not, must not, as a house partake.
The media hates Greeks, and I know this day symbolizes cultural appropriation nationwide, but they will come after you anyway. See below just a few of the theme parties — some truly racist, some not — that have gotten Greeks into trouble over the past few years.
- Kappa Kappa Gamma and ZBT at Northwestern University were forced to cancel their “Jail ‘n’ Bail” philanthropy event for literacy. The organizations would “jail,” members of fraternities and sororities, who would be released when they met “bail,” to be given to charity. Linking literacy and incarceration was said to be representative of an oppressive society. The event was canceled.
- FIJI at UC Irvine came under heat for its annual FIJI Islander philanthropy event. The Asian Pacific Student Association demanded the event be canceled, and that FIJI change its name on the grounds of cultural appropriation.
- Sigma Kappa at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte got in trouble for their Disney Princess-themed airband skit. One segment was Pocahontas themed and Native American Student Organization (NASO) filed a complaint. The sorority issued a public apology.
- Members of Phi Delta Theta at U Penn watched protestors stand outside their home and hold a mock slave auction four months after their inclusion of a Beyonce blowup doll in their Christmas card. Owning the black doll was said to be symbolic of slavery.
- The University of Georgia inspected Kappa Alpha’s Old South and Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Magnolia Ball, and its student body decided to disallow the inclusion of hoop skirts at these events on the basis of racism.
- Kappa Alpha Theta at Quinnipiac University was forced to postpone its philanthropy event, Queso for CASA, because the promotional poster featured a set of moraccas, which is not “a staple of Mexican music.”
- A Few Tri Deltas at the University of Arizona wore mariachi costumes in support of a sister. Protestors came to the door with a camera in an attempt to trick the sorority into saying something stupid.
- ASU’s TKE was suspended after throwing a racist MLK Day party, at which partygoers wore baggy clothing and held watermelons.
- Alpha Delta at Dartmouth came under fire for throwing a “Bloods vs. Crips” party. After this and other infractions, the house that inspired “Animal House,” is likely to be removed from Dartmouth’s campus.
- Pi Kappa Phi at USC threw a Phi-esta party. After the highly insensitive Facebook event description, the members who threw the party were expelled from the fraternity.
- Penn State Chi O made headlines with their MexiChiO party in 2013. Girls dressed in sombreros and mustaches, and held racially charged cardboard signs.
- UC Berkeley’s Theta Delta Chi were accused of racism for hanging a zombie outside their house as part of their haunted house decorations for Halloween, as the decor was said to resemble a lynching.
- Texas FIJI attended sensitivity training after a media firestorm following their border patrol party.
- Phi Delta Alpha and Alpha Phi at Dartmouth were forced to cancel their philanthropy set to benefit cardiac care patients, because the theme was “Phiesta.”
- Phi Delta Theta and Phi Sigma Sigma at McDaniel College made headlines with ther BET vs. CMT themed party, at which the women wore cowboy boots and denim, and the men wore gold chains and baggy clothing.
- Kappa Alpha Theta at Columbia University held the Beer Olympics, where teams dressed in the stereotypical garb of a multitude of countries including France, the Netherlands, and Jamaica. Theta was asked to issue an apology for appropriating the cultures of Mexicans and Japanese only.
- Kappa Alpha at Randolph Macon College came under fire for a Border Patrol party, after which, the school took disciplinary action.
- Kappa Sigma at Duke watched as people staged a protest against them following an “Asia Prime” party.
- UT’s Tri Delt, Zeta and ATO make headlines with their fiesta party and attend mandated diversity training.
These organizations faced punishments ranging from suspension to diversity training classes, to just plain bad press, but trust me, you don’t want to roll the dice on this. If you’re going out tomorrow for Drinko de Mayo, and I’m sure you are, just go to a bar, and let them get in trouble for it — if you already have a party planned, change the theme. Right now. Change it to no theme at all. Don’t dress “Mexican,” because you will face the consequences, and most importantly do NOT put it online..