Prohibiting discriminatory behavior

The Kappa Sigma fraternity at Duke University threw an “Asia Prime” party on February 1, resulting in their suspension by the school. Prior to the party, Duke’s Asian American Alliance brought up complaints, leading to the party being renamed (instead of being cancelled altogether) to “International Relations.”

Yahoo! News posted a picture of the e-mail invitation that was sent out, which included a picture of Kim-Jong Il from Team America: World Police and misspellings intended to imitate Asian accents such as “Herro” and “Chank you.”

First of all, a party where everyone dresses Asian? As a Taiwanese-American, I personally don’t understand the intrigue to dressing up in staunch white makeup and unflattering baggy smocks. I also bet people were having a difficult time with the chopsticks they must’ve had to eat with.

If anything, people are coming to a frat party to rage! So wouldn’t one want to be comfortable, perhaps wear something a little showy – an “Italian” themed party would’ve been more appropriate for the occasion (I’ve been waiting to bust out my Pauly D hair wig).

All jokes aside, the real issue here is how Duke allowed the fraternity to throw the racially heated party, even after receiving numerous complaints. Don’t tell me that they really bought the facade of renaming the party to “International Relations.” College students need to check themselves before they engage in potentially offensive and discriminatory behavior and school administrations need to strongly enforce and facilitate this check.

 Katie Chen is a freshman studying Business Administration.

5 replies
  1. Pike #1
    Pike #1 says:

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  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    You say that an asian themed party is highly offensive, then go on to say that an Italian themed party is appropriate? Sounds pretty hypocritical to me.

  3. Tom
    Tom says:

    It is fine to criticize the Kappa Sigma fraternity, expose their offensive behavior, and encourage students to stop and think before participating. I think they are disgusting. But demanding a prohibition on their party goes against the freedoms of speech and association protected by the First Amendment. You forget that you do not have a right to never feel offended. If overly-sensitive people got to dictate what was bias/discrimination, almost every political event and party would be shut down.

    Also, your usage of “discrimination” is faulty (racially heated is a better term). For discrimination to occur, certain guests at the party would have to be treated in a fundamentally different way from the other attendees based on their race, religion, gender, etc. There would need to be some unfair rule in effect (e.g. only Asians would be served drinks at the party). Merely playing dress-up does not discriminate against anyone.

    One commenter below is correct that Duke is a private institution, allowed to make its own rules. But not in California (or the real world outside of academia, I might add). So Katie, I recommend reviewing the California Leonard Law, which compels even private universities here to abide by the First Amendment. Most of the so-called harassment/bias clauses in student handbooks (which are far more sweeping than actual criminal harassment laws and establish guilt based on who decides to feel offended) are probably illegal to enforce.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    You never see Caucasian portion of the student body protesting a redneck themed party…Seriously we’re all at USC and smart enough to know that a theme means literally nothing for the party. Relax.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Freedom of speech. (Not by law, since Duke is private, but in principle.) If I want to throw a party, I should be able to theme it however I choose.

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