Two UT Sororities Throw Racially Questionable “Fiesta” Party

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Copyright Cody Permenter

As of Fall 2011, 20% of UT's student body is Hispanic. But that isn't stopping a couple of sororities from throwing a party chock full of racist stereotypes about Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

Last night, two sororities, Zeta Tau Alpha and Delta Delta Delta, hosted their annual “Zeta-Tri Delt Fiesta Party” at Recess Bar on 6th street. They rented the bar out until 12:30p.m. for their hundreds of guests, many of whom wore ponchos and other stereotypical Mexican garb of a bygone era.

Now, I don't believe that wearing tradition Mexican attire is inherently racist. But I do know that you have to be classy about it. Laying down some ground rules for attire would have been a much better step for the sororities, instead of encouraging hundreds of drunk Texas Greeks to parade around 6th street in clothing which suggests that this is what Mexicans and Mexican-Americans wear. Anyone who's been to a modern-day fiesta knows that this isn't how people dress.

Unfortunately, having no rules led these two sororities to host a party which also accepted, and obviously encouraged, outright racism. See the picture in this post, taken from the event. What the hell does an undocumented immigrant and a border patrol officer have to do with a fiesta party, which is supposed to be a celebration of Mexican-American culture? The “illegals” are clearly what some students thought this party was a referendum on. If you're not an “illegal” – a crude, dehumanizing term suggesting that a person's entire existence is defined by the status of their papers – then you're an ancient Mexican stereotype divorced from today's society. This type of dress should absolutely have been banned by two sororities claiming to be stand-up members of the UT and Austin communities.

It's not that these two sororities are racist, nor that all their guests are. It's that there are bounds of reasons in everything – themed parties included. Your right to free speech doesn't mean others can't critique the way you use it. There are 600 undocumented UT students in the same community as these revelers and they should be able to expect respect from their Longhorn peers. In their efforts both to study on Texas's DREAM Act, while politicians debate ridiculously over a national DREAM Act, it's not right for them to have to put up with this public display of antipathy.

Check out some footage from outside of the party:

About Author

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman has been a BOR staff writer since 2011. A graduate of the University of Texas, Ben has worked on campaigns, in political consulting, and has written for other news outlets like Think Progress. Ben considers campaign finance reform the fundamental political challenge of our time because it affects every other issue in American politics. He is currently on leave for the election season.

3 Comments

  1. ummmm, New to the Left?
    Actually Ben they ARE racists. ALL of them. It's a racist Mexican Fiesta if it isn't respectful and accurate in it depiction of Mexican culture.

    THIS clearly isn't. It's a privileged White Racist's version of Mexico and Mexicans.

    HOW can you guys go OVERBOARD on the old guy with the chair tied to a tree YET fail to recognize REAL INSTITUTIONAL RACISM like this that affects thousands?

    Most of the Greek Culture at UT is RACIST and ELITIST and SEXIST from a Leftist or Liberal position. Not to mention how demeaning and just plain dumb it is.

    I wish they start teaching Marx in the Universities again. It would certainly make such analysis more sophisticated.

    • First of all,
      we didn't go overboard on the hanging Obama chair. We went board.

      Secondly, I clearly identify the party as racist in practice, and write that the organizations had responsibilities they failed to live up to to make sure this type of racist behavior wasn't allowed at their event.

      I don't agree with you that it's time to mark all Greek organizations and all their guests as racist. I outline in the article the clearly racist execution of the party and the individually racist actions of some at that party. That, to me, is the fair and impactful critique here.

      • BOR LAMESTREAM

        Ah Ben,

        The ONLY war is the CLASS war. In the USA the Rich have been conducting a Class War against the poor since Nixon was in office. Time you caught on.

        If you aren't up to fighting Institutional Racism then you should Get Out of the Fight.

        Personal racism, as in the case of the Old Dude you guys wanted to Crucify, is just that PERSONAL. I'm not defending it – I'm just pointing out that an individual without some power over your life, like say a Work Supervisor, is actually ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION HOWEVER ODIOUS.

        Most kneejerk PSEUDO-LIBERALS make the mistake of attacking people for their PERSONAL BELIEFS which, I hate to point out, are CONSTITUTIONALLY SAFEGUARDED.

        In ye Olden daze, we Radicals actually ATTACKED INSTITUTIONS because its institutions like the University of Texas and its state subsidized Greek Frat System that INCULCATE people in Racist beliefs and Attitudes. These institutions foster and to a certain extent SEEK TO LEGITIMIZE racist, sexist, and classist Stereotypes by CODIFYING PERSONAL BELIEF INTO LAW.

        Really, please read your Karl Marx and you might also want to check into this thing called Post-Modernism too.

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